November 21, 2011
Barbados Group Working Paper
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. 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. Fortune magazine’s 40th anniversary issue (5/15/95), in examining the major contributions to management thinking, recognized Erhard’s ideas as one of the major innovations of the last few decades.
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. More than two million people around the world have participated in the public, corporate and academic programs and courses he has created. Social scientist Daniel Yankelovich said of a study he conducted of participants of The Forum: “Several of the study’s findings surprised me quite a bit, especially the large number of participants for whom The Forum proved to be ‘one of the most valued experiences of my life’. This is not a sentiment that people, especially successful, well-educated people, express lightly.”
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”. In recognition of his humanitarian work around the world in 1988 Erhard was awarded the Mahatma Gandhi Humanitarian Award.
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Date posted: August 7, 2010 ; Last revised: August 19, 2015
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