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Werner Erhard
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    (September 5, 1935- )
    Born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
    Birth name was John Paul Rosenberg
    Former used car and encyclopedia salesman
    Founded est (erhard seminars training, 1971) and the 'Forum' (1981)
    Ran self-empowerment workshops
    Part of the 'human potential movement'
    He abandoned his first wife and their four children and changed his name in large part to keep them from finding him.
    His second wife divorced him over his repeated adultery, commenting 'Werner's ego and public image are the most important things in the world to him.'
    He is a former Scientolgist who borrowed L. Ron Hubbard's techniques in creating est.
    In running the est empire, he would dispatch 15-page memos and throw fits over burnt out light bulbs.
    He asked a friend, 'How do I know I'm not the reincarnation of Jesus Christ?'
    If you paid $300 for a weekend est seminar, you got such deep insights as 'What is, is. What isn't, isn't.'
    'Psychology Today' said of est, 'What the training is more than anything else [is an] application of classic techniques in indoctrination and mental conditioning worthy of Pavlov himself.'
    With singer (and est follower) John Denver, he founded the charity The Hunger Project (1977).
    He reportedly gets harassed a lot by Scientologists who consider him a 'traitor.'
    Unlike L. Ron Hubbard and Scientology, he did not turn est into a religion.
    In an Emmy acceptance speech, Valerie Harper thanked him for changing her life.
    David Letterman portrayed a guru based on him in the 'Mork Goes Erk' episode of Mork and Mindy.

Credit: C. Fishel

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