From Erhard to Harvard: A Landmark Timeline

When Harvard Business School got involved with <a href="http://preprod.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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REAL QUICK, REAL URGENT

Minority rule, corruption, disinformation, attacks on those who dare tell the truth: There is a direct line from what's happening in Russia and Ukraine to what's happening here at home. And that's what MoJo's Monika Bauerlein writes about in "Their Fight Is Our Fight" to unpack the information war we find ourselves in and share a few examples to show why the power of independent, reader-supported journalism is such a threat to authoritarians.

Corrupt leaders the world over can (and will) try to shut down the truth, but when the truth has millions of people on its side, you can't keep it down for good. And there's no more powerful or urgent argument for your support of Mother Jones' journalism right now than that. We need to raise about $450,000 to hit our online fundraising budget in these next few months, so please read more from Monika and pitch in if you can.

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