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Erhard Seminars Training, an organization founded by Werner H. Erhard, offered a two-weekend (60-hour) course known officially as 'The est Standard Training.' The purpose of est was to allow participants to achieve, in a very brief time, a sense of personal transformation and enhanced power. The est course was offered from late 1971 to late 1984.

The est Standard Training

The first est course happened at the Jack Tar Hotel in San Francisco, Californiamarker in October 1971. Within a year, trainings were being held in New York City, and other major cities in the US followed soon after. By 1979 est had expanded to Europe and other parts of the world. The popularity of est peaked in 1981, then enrollment for the various courses began to decline. The last est Training was held in December 1984 in San Francisco; in its place came a newly developed course called 'The Forum,' which began in January 1985. The est Training presented several concepts, most notably the concept of transformation and taking responsibility for one's life. The actual teaching, called "the technology of transformation," emphasizes the value of integrity.'est, Inc.' evolved into 'est, an Educational Corporation', and eventually into 'Werner Erhard & Associates'. WE&A purchased the assets of est in 1981.

Early influences

In William Bartley's biography, Werner Erhard: The Transformation of a Man, the Founding of est (1978), Erhard describes his explorations of Zen Buddhism. Bartley quotes Erhard as acknowledging Zen as the essential contribution that "created the space [for est]."Bartley details Erhard's connections with Zen beginning with his extensive studies with Alan Watts in the mid 1960s.Bartley quotes Erhard as acknowledging:
Of all the disciplines that I studied, practiced, learned, Zen was the essential one. It was not so much an influence on me, rather it created space. It allowed those things that were there to be there. It gave some form to my experience. And it built up in me the critical mass from which was kindled the experience that produced est.


  • 1971 - Erhard Seminars Training Inc, first est Training held in San Francisco, California
  • 1973 - The Foundation for the Realization of Man - incorporated as a non-profit foundation in California (subsequently the name of the foundation was changed to the est Foundation in 1976, and in 1981 to the Werner Erhard Foundation)
  • 1975 - est, an educational corporation.
  • 1981 - Sold assets to Werner Erhard and Associates and est ceased operations

Notable participants

Related organizations

See also the list of associated organizations.

See also

Related publications


Articles in periodicals

  • Mark Brewerk. "We're Gonna Tear You Down and Put You Back Together", Psychology Today, August 1975
  • L. L. Glass, M. A. Kirsch and F. N. Parris. "Psychiatric disturbances associated with Erhard Seminars Training", American Journal of Psychiatry. 1977; 134(3): 245-7.
  • Peter Marin. "The New Narcissism", Harper's, October 1975, 251:45-56.
  • Perry Pascarella. "Create Breakthroughs in Performance by Changing the Conversation,” by Perry Pascarella. Industry Week, Vol. 233, No. 6 (June 15), 1987.
  • Eliezer Sobel. “This Is It: est, Twenty Years Later” (QUEST Magazine, Summer 1998)[15640]
  • "Research on Erhard Seminar Training in a Correctional Institution" (Hosford, Ray, E., Moss, C. Scott, Cavior, Helene, & Kerish, Burton. Catalog of Selected Documents in Psychology, 1982, Manuscript #2419, American Psychological Association)


  1. The Herald Sun, March1, 2008 |,21985,23298425-664,00.html
  2. Bartley, William Warren, Werner Erhard: the Transformation of a Man: the Founding of est. New York: Clarkson N. Potter, Inc. 1978. ISBN 0-517-53502-5, p. 121, 146-7.
  3. Bartley, William Warren, Werner Erhard: the transformation of a man: the founding of est. New York: Clarkson N. Potter, Inc. 1978. ISBN 0-517-53502-5, p. 118.
  4. Bartley, William Warren, Werner Erhard: the transformation of a man: the founding of est. New York: Clarkson N. Potter, Inc. 1978. ISBN 0-517-53502-5, p. 121.
  5. Werner Erhard
  6. "1978 saw a dramatic change in Mikes public persona. He surprised the music press by changing his image and starting to talk with the media. The change was due to Mike's participation in the radical and controversial "Exegesis" or EST programme. As a result of the EST, Mike organised his first tour in 1979, together with an entourage of almost 100! In spite of all the concerts selling out, the tour ended with heavy debt." -- -- Retrieved 2007-02-19
  7. "In the course of the e s t training, you build a "center" for yourself. Following the specifications of the trainer, you not only imagine it but go through the motions of fashioning it, standing up, stepping in one direction then another,modeling the various parts with your hands according to the image formed behind your closed eyes." -- 20 Lines A Day, p. 37

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