Popular name for Erhard Seminars Training, a system of experiential
philosophy developed by Werner Erhard. Through
the 1960s Erhard explored a variety of self-help courses and
spiritual disciplines, including Dale Carnegie, the Church of
Scientology, Subud, Zen Buddhism, and Mind Dynamics. In
1971, he had an enlightenment experience, during the time he
was a mind Dynamics instructor.
Erhard concluded he must take responsibility for his life. In
the seminars, through lectures and various activities, he tried
to assist people to understand that they were not the labels put
on them by others, but the product of their own decisions. This
act of insight was termed ‘‘getting it.’’
The est basic program consisted of some 60 hours of training
over two weekends for which attendees were charged
$250.00. Some 500,000 people took the course from Erhard or
his assistants between 1971 and 1984. In 1984 est was discontinued
and replaced with The Forum. In 1991 Erhard sold his
corporation to a group of employees and retired from public
life. He was at the time under attack from several points, including
the IRS and a former employee who was suing him.
Bartley, William Warren. Werner Erhard The Transformation
of a Man, the Founding of est. New York C. N. Potter, 1978.
Hargrove, Robert A. est Making Life Work. New York Delacorte
Press, 1976.