From Erhard to Harvard: A Landmark Timeline

When Harvard Business School got involved with <a href="http://practice.motherjones.com/media/2009/07/landmark-42-hours-500-65-breakdowns">Landmark</a>, who bought Erhard’s abode, and David Letterman’s forgotten role.

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1971 Werner Erhard has breakthrough while driving across Golden Gate Bridge; founds est (Erhard Seminars Training).

1973 Erhard drives a black Mercedes with the vanity plate “SO WUT.”

1975 Est claims to have trained 65,000 people; Erhard dreams of training 40 million.

1975 John Denver releases “Looking for Space,” about his est enlightenment. Later, he asks other est grads to stop sneaking backstage.

1976 Ex-Yippie Jerry Rubin recounts Erhard’s spiel: “He listened to people’s miseries…laughed in their faces and screamed, ‘YOU ASSHOLE, YOU CAUSED IT!'”

1977 Woody Allen encounters a defensive est acolyte in Annie Hall.

1979 Mork & Mindy features David Letterman playing a guru named Ellsworth, founder of erk (Ellsworth Revitalization Konditioning).

1985 Est changes its name to the Forum.

1988 Fight Club author Chuck Palahniuk attends the Forum; later credits it with his “big epiphany moment.”

1989 Nicolas Cage buys Erhard’s palatial San Francisco pad, which once boasted a soundproof room, an elaborate security system, and a bedroom painted black.

1991 Erhard goes into exile. Landmark buys est’s “technology” and reportedly promises to pay Erhard a licensing fee for 18 years.

1993 While in Moscow, Erhard appears on Larry King Live; claims Scientologists are out to get him.

2002 Six Feet Under‘s Ruth Fisher tries the Plan, “one of those ’70s self-discovery clubs that yell at you and don’t let you go to the bathroom for 12 hours.”

2006 Erhard breaks media silence in Transformation: The Life and Legacy of Werner Erhard, a film coproduced by his lawyer.

2007 Erhard unveils new management philosophy coauthored with a Harvard Business School professor and the CEO of Landmark’s consulting arm. Message: “Integrity is the pathway to trust.”

2009 Landmark claims to have trained more than 1 million people.

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DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily crazy—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America will move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

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