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Transformation: The Life and Legacy of Werner Erhard (2006)

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In his first public interview in more than a decade, pop culture icon of the 1970s and 80s, Werner Erhard breaks his long silence about his ideas, his life and his controversial program "... See full summary »



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Credited cast:
Warren Bennis ...
Himself - est Graduate (archive footage)
Himself - est Graduate (archive footage)
Joe DiMaggio ...
est Trainer (archive footage)
Anita Erhard ...
Werner Erhard ...
Claudette Faison ...
R. Buckminster Fuller ...
Himself (archive footage)
Gary Grace ...
Herself - Emmy Awards (archive footage)
Michael Jensen ...
Mark Kamin ...
Don Lattin ...
Martin Leaf ...
George Leonard ...
Himself - Co-Leader of Esalen


In his first public interview in more than a decade, pop culture icon of the 1970s and 80s, Werner Erhard breaks his long silence about his ideas, his life and his controversial program "est"that became "the thing" to do among celebrities and middle America and fueled today's multi-billion dollar personal growth industry. With exclusive and rare footage, you'll step inside controversial est seminars, hear provocative interviews with participants, family members, and experts. Viewers will be very surprised to learn how Erhard's transformational ideas are still in the mainstream today-in our language, advertising campaigns and in personal growth seminars yet few people know its origin. Written by Robyn Symon

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


"Pop culture icon and the founder of est pulls back the curtain on his life, his ideas and what forced him to leave the country." See more »



Official Sites:



Release Date:

27 April 2006 (USA)  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$300,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$25,460 (USA) (27 July 2007)


$25,460 (USA) (27 July 2007)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs



Sound Mix:


(NTSC Color)|

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Randy McNamara: People had no idea what the course was going to do for them, none. And most people were very very very uptight.
See more »


Features 60 Minutes (1968) See more »

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User Reviews

Executive produced by Werner Erhard attorney ?
24 September 2007 | by (Earth) – See all my reviews

Clearly, someone is attempting CENSORSHIP with regard to the comments that are not laudatory about this "documentary". I keep seeing these comments being summarily deleted. The comment below was deleted twice, even though within the comment external references are provided to back up the statements made. The information given on the deletion reason was: "This comment was deleted by IMDb based on an abuse report filed by another user." Clearly, someone is filing "abuse reports", just to get the comments deleted that they do not like, not because of any type of "abuse", and this is an inappropriate use of categorizing something factual and backed up by other references as "abuse."

Recently a blogger has referred to this "documentary", as an "infomercial". This makes a lot of sense with respect to its executive producer, Walter Maksym.

After the March 3, 1991 airing of the 60 Minutes piece on Werner Erhard, Werner Erhard then filed a defamation lawsuit against 20 defendants, including the San Jose Mercury News, individual reporters, other forms of news media, CBS, Hustler magazine, the National Enquirer, commercial publications and even private groups that had criticized Werner Erhard or his teachings.

According to a San Jose Mercury News story from April 7, 1992 entitled: "Est Founder sues critics; suit names Mercury News writer", the lawsuit was filed in March 1992 in Chicago's Cook County Circuit Court, and Werner Erhard was represented at the time by Illinois attorney Walter Maksym.

Today, the company "Walter Maksym Publishing" lists books including "Diets Don't Work!", "Diets Still Don't Work!", "One Hour Orgasm", and "Who Taught You That?". However, these books are ALL listed on as published by some Texas based company called "Breakthru Publishing". And what is another publication involving Werner Erhard published by Breakthru Publishing ? Why, it's none other than the book by Jane Self, called 60 Minutes and the Assassination of Werner Erhard.

In the issue of John Marshall Law School Briefcase, Fall 2006, Vol. 6, Issue 2, Walter Maksym is described as such: "Walter Maksym is executive producer of the upcoming film "STASH," set in Chicago. Maksym is president of Walter Maksym Publishing, president of Diets Don't Work, Inc. and president and executive producer of Eagle Island Films." I wonder how this "documentary" can be considered anything BUT an "infomercial", as the blogger had written, when its Executive Producer, or rather, the president and executive producer of "Eagle Island Films", one of the two production companies behind "Transformation: The Life and Legacy of Werner Erhard", was in the past the attorney for Werner Erhard in lawsuits against the press/media, as well as being the current president of a company that has all these books that in the past were published by Breakthru Publishing, the same publishing company that had published 60 Minutes and the Assassination of Werner Erhard ??? It is most likely that this "documentary" will probably not go down in history as a "documentary" or a "film", but rather ... something else. Especially when the background behind the production of the "documentary" is taken into account.

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