Werner Erhard (book)

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Werner Erhard: The Transformation of a Man, The Founding of est is a biography of Werner Erhard by William Warren Bartley, III. The book was published in 1978 by Clarkson Potter. Erhard wrote an introduction to the book.


  • I want to create a context in which government, education, families are nurturing. I want to enable, to empower the institutions of man.
  • A transformed individual is one who can tell the truth; and a transformed environment is one where the truth can be told.
  • ...the peak experience that I had was not related to a person or to my work, not to the ocean or to the sunset or to art, not to any of that. It was a profound sense of Self. I truly experienced the Self--not my Self: the word 'my' belongs to the world of concept about Self, not experience of Self. I was carried out of my ordinary state, not merely to another state, but to the context for all states, the context of all contexts.
  • In refining my understanding of the difference between success and satisfaction, and pondering the relationship between the two, it became clearer that Self--which is nonpersonal, nonpositional, nonnarrative--is the source of satisfaction.
  • The moment when you really experience that you have created yourself being whatever way you are, at that same moment you will never have to be that way again.
  • I am a sort of revolutionary. I have a strange ambition, though. I don’t want any statues. I don’t want any ordinary monuments. What I want is for the world to work. That’s the monument I want.
  • Ordinary revolution is concerned with social change. It involves resistance. One revolts against something. Whereas a true revolution transcends what one was previously either resisting or submitting to. In this sense I am a revolutionary.


  • ...attractively written, never shrill or unduly proselytizing, careful to avoid the hysteria and tribalism that usually characterize the early years of movements like est.
    • Lieberson, Jonathan (April 5, 1979). "Est Is Est". The New York Review of Books. 26 (5). ISSN 0028-7504.
  • This reviewer is enthusiastic about this book. ... There is a personal quality about the narrative, which, though, sometimes becomes overly detailed.
  • As a student and disciple of est, Bartley has made the mistake of being too close to his subject to be objective or critical.
    • CJK (November 1, 1978). "Werner Erhard: The Transformation of a Man, The Founding of est". Booklist.
  • Bartley casts a Freud's-eye-view on his subject's youthful failings, but after the famous 'transformation' his tone becomes almost reverential.
    • Dennis, E. C. (October 15, 1978). "Werner Erhard: the transformation of a man: the founding of est". Library Journal 103. ISSN 0000-0027.
  • Bartley, [Erhard's] friend and admitted booster, tells the often-sordid story in detail.

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