Werner Erhard is an original thinker whose ideas have transformed the effectiveness and quality of life for millions of people and thousands of organizations around the world. For nearly 40 years he has been the creator of innovative ideas and models of individual, organizational, and social transformation. His work has been the source of new perspectives for thinkers and practitioners in fields as diverse as business, education, philosophy, medicine, psychotherapy, developing countries, conflict resolution, and community building.
Werner Erhard has created new ways of seeing things in areas where progress has stalled or where breakthroughs would make a significant difference. A majority of the Fortune 100 companies and many foundations and governmental entities have used his ideas and models. More than two million people around the world have participated in the public, corporate and academic programs and courses he has created.
Werner Erhard is largely self-educated, albeit with tutoring from some important thinkers of his time – Richard Feynman, Michel Foucault, Humberto Maturana, Sir Karl Popper, and Hilary Putnam, to name a few. Professor of Philosophy, Michael E. Zimmerman said of Erhard “He had no particular formal training in anything, but he understood things as well as anyone I’d ever seen; and I’ve been around a lot of smart people in academia. This is an extraordinary intellect I saw at work”.
Werner Erhard has been recognized:
While he may be best known to the general public for applications derived from his models including The est Training and The Forum of the 1970s and 1980s, currently Erhard commits his time and intellectual effort almost exclusively to the academic world. Some of his recent research, writings, lectures, and courses can be found on his author page in the Social Sciences Research Network – http://ssrn.com/author=433651. He is writing papers, most recently on the topics of integrity, leadership, and performance, and he lectures and teaches from time to time at various academic institutions.
Recent Invited Lectures
6/2012 - Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth University, Being a Leader and the Effective Exercize of Leadership, An Ontological/Phenomenological Model
8/2010 - Academy of Management Annual Meeting, Professional Development Workshop, Michael Jensen, Werner Erhard and Kari Granger, “Being a Leader and the Effective Exercise of Leadership: An Ontological Model”. Slides available at: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1651278.
7/2010 - United States Air Force Academy, Werner Erhard, Michael Jensen, Kari Granger and Joseph DiMaggio: “Creating Leaders: Mastering the Principles and Effective Delivery of the Ontological Access to Leadership” (5 day course for faculty). Slides available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1638429
6/2010 - Mays School of Business, Texas A&M University, Werner Erhard, Michael Jensen, Kari Granger and Steve Zaffron: "Being a Leader and the Effective Exercise of Leadership - An Ontological Model" (6 day course) Slides available at: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1622671
2/2010 - Harvard Business School, Harvard University, Michael C. Jensen and Werner Erhard: “Being a Leader and the Effective Exercise of Leadership: An Ontological Model” Slides available at: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1392406
10/2009 - Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Center for Public Leadership: “Why We Do What We Do; A New Model Providing Actionable Access To The Source Of Performance” Slides available at: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1483082 View the entire lecture at Harvard’s YouTube Channel: http://www.youtube.com/profile?user=HarvardCPL#p/search/0/DwQr_BJrHJ8
For Werner Erhard’s in-process publications please visit his author page at
SSRN: http://ssrn.com/author=433651. To give just a few examples:
“Integrity: A Positive Model that Incorporates the Normative Phenomena of Morality, Ethics, and Legality – Abridged”, Erhard, Werner, Jensen, Michael C., Zaffron, Steve (March 2010). Harvard Business School NOM Working Paper No. 10-061; Barbados Group Working Paper No. 10-01; Simon School Working Paper No. 10-07. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1542759.
“Creating Leaders: An Ontological Model”, Erhard, Werner, Jensen, Michael C., Granger, Kari L. (October 2010). Harvard Business School NOM Working Paper No. 11-037; Barbados Group Working Paper No. 10-10; Simon School Working Paper No. FR-10-30. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1681682. Published in THE HANDBOOK FOR TEACHING LEADERSHIP, Knowing, Doing and Being, Scott Snook, Nitin Nohria, Rakesh Khurana, eds., Sage Publications, 2011. Chapter 16
“Introductory Reading for Being a Leader and the Effective Exercise of Leadership: An Ontological Model”, Erhard, Werner, Jensen, Michael C., Zaffron, Steve and Granger, Kari L., (July 2010). Harvard Business School Negotiations, Organizations and Markets Unit Research Paper Series No. 09-022; Barbados Group Working Paper No. 08-01; Simon School Working Paper No. 08-02; Gruter Institute Squaw Valley Conference 2009: Law, Behavior & the Brain. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1585976.
“Being a Leader and the Effective Exercise of Leadership: An Ontological Model (PDF File of PowerPoint Slides)”, Erhard, Werner, Jensen, Michael C. and Granger, Kari L., (March 2010). Harvard Business School NOM Unit Working Paper No. 09-124; Barbados Group Working Paper No. 09-01; Gruter Institute Squaw Valley Conference 2009: Law, Behavior & the Brain; Simon School Working Paper No. FR 09-27. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1392406.
For a more complete Curriculum Vitae for Werner Erhard please see: http://www.wernererhard.net/cv.html
Erhard co-founded independent, nonprofit charitable enterprises, including the Breakthrough Foundation, the Hunger Project, the Holiday Project, the Werner Erhard Foundation, and the Education Network. He lectures for a wide variety of prestigious institutions and professional associations around the world, including DePaul University, Harvard Law School, Harvard Business and the Center for Public Leadership. Read more about Werner Erhard's career at www.wernererhard.info.
Time Magazine, March 7, 2011 issue describes Werner Erhard:
"The American obsession with Transformation isn’t new. It’s about as old as the nation. In the 19th century, Ralph Waldo Emerson preached about tapping into the “infinitude of man.” Norman Vincent Peale was an early bestselling self-help author with The Power of Positive Thinking in 1952. But it was Werner Erhard who created the first modern transformation when he founded est seminars in 1971. It’s a tribute to the power of his central concept that more than 20 years after he sold his ideas to a group of employees who went on to create Landmark Education that Landmark is still the natural first stop in any transformation tour."
The first est Training was held at the Jack Tar Hotel in San Francisco in October 1971. Original est staffers include Gonneke Spits, Jack Rafferty and Laurel Scheaf. Gonneke Spits remains a close colleague of Werner Erhard to this day.
The New York Times, November 29, 2015, writes the following about Werner Erhard,
"Harvard economist Michael Jensen. Dr. Jensen, who is famous in financial circles for championing the concepts of shareholder value and executive stock options, had taken a Landmark course in Boston at the suggestion of his daughter, who mended a rocky relationship with Dr. Jensen after taking the course herself.
"'I became convinced we should work to get this kind of transformational material into the academies,' he said, adding that he considers Mr. Erhard 'one of the great intellectuals of the century.'”
"In fact, Mr. Erhard casts a fairly long shadow in the culture at large. His influence, wrote Lucy Kellaway in the Financial Times, 'extends far beyond the couple of million people who have done his courses: there is hardly a self-help book or a management training programme that does not borrow some of his principles.'"
Werner Erhard’s legacy lives on in the contribution his work has made to millions of people, both directly and indirectly. He continues to refine his original ideas while inventing new cutting-edge ideas. Today, Landmark Education’s programs are based on research and technology originally developed by Werner Erhard. Landmark Education is the best place to experience his original ideas. Over one million people have participated in Landmark Education’s programs, delivered in over 20 countries worldwide. For further information visit the Landmark Education website at www.landmarkeducation.com.