This acclaimed new book provides an unprecedented study of the ideas and methodology developed
by Werner Erhard.

Already acknowledged by dozens of academics for its power, brilliance, and unique contribution, the book includes a transcript of an actual Forum led by Erhard in San Francisco in 1989. The book uses this text to create a comparative analysis that demonstrates how Erhard’s work and the philosophical ideas of Martin Heideggerconsidered one of the greatest philosophers of the 20th Century–each illuminate the other.


“Millions have experienced the ideas of Werner Erhard, one of the most incisive and insightful thinkers of our generation. This book gives two additional and rare opportunities: to read the text of a Forum lead by Erhard, and in parallel, to walk with a guide to the synergies between Erhard and the thinking of Martin Heidegger.”

David Eagleman, PhD, neuroscientist at Stanford University, NY Times bestselling author

“This book is powerful, imaginative, frustrating, amusing, threatening, and enlightening—all at the same time. It also has the power to transform your life.”

Jonathan D. Moreno, University of Pennsylvania Professor of Ethics, author of Impromptu Man

“The profound impact that Werner Erhard has had, and continues to have, on culture and society is a manifestation of an incredible insight that Erhard has been making available to the public for decades: the experience of being. This book presents that experience for the first time–both through a transcript of an actual course led by Erhard, along with a study of his methodology for delivering that experience. On display are spectacular moments where Erhard exercises what he has sometimes described as ruthless compassion, and like all forms of compassion, at work is a fundamental motivating desire to alleviate the suffering of others.”

James R. Doty, MD
Founder, Director, The Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education, Professor of Neurosurgery, Stanford University School of Medicine, Senior Editor of The Oxford Handbook of Compassion Science

“Speaking Being is not a book. It is a multimodal tour de force of ontological rhetoric that hails its reader into an event and in so doing performs as an event, rather than what is commonly rendered as a book between two covers. Its status as an event is performed on every page wherein the “showing” of Being is enacted via its remarkable design. Kaleidoscopically, Bruce Hyde and Drew Kopp have drawn their readers into a dazzling display, where the participants in dialogue with Werner Erhard in a specific Forum in 1989 are put into dialogue with Martin Heidegger. The result is arguably one of the most astounding academic interventions into both Erhard’s methodology and Heideggerian thought. Citing David Farrell Krell, Hyde and Kopp remind us that “‘to be on a woodpath’ means to be in a cul-de-sac, a path that leads nowhere and has no exit.” Speaking Being puts its readers in a dizzying cul-de-sac within which they may never leave, but rather transform into one of the glittering particles of this rhetorical kaleidoscope.”

Cynthia Haynes, Professor of English, Clemson University, author of The Homesick Phone Book: Addressing Rhetoric in the Age of Perpetual Conflict

“I regard Speaking Being as an enormously important contribution to understanding Heidegger and Erhard. The latter has received far too little serious academic attention, and this book begins to make up for that lack. Moreover, the book’s analysis of Heidegger’s thought is among the best that I have ever read. I commend this book to all readers without reservation.”

Michael E. Zimmerman, Professor Emeritus, University of Colorado, Boulder

“Theory and Practice: Ways of seeing what one claims to be the truth of some intended object of consciousness and ways of applying this truth to one’s everyday existence in order to cultivate wisdom, goodness, self-realization, and justice. The dialogical teachings of Werner Erhard speak to the importance of this relationship and its ontological significance. Professors Hyde and Kopp, scholars of rhetoric and communication who had observed and participated in programs designed by Erhard, provide comprehensive and detailed conversations—what they term “ontological rhetoric”—that took place in Erhard’s 1989 Forum, and they demonstrate how Erhard and Heidegger can be read together for the benefit of both. This book is a major achievement in the scholarship of Erhard and Heidegger studies. A much-needed moment of enlightenment.”

Michael J. Hyde, University Distinguished Professor of Communication Ethics, Wake Forest University, author of Perfection: Coming to Terms with Being Human

“In Speaking Being the reader discovers two original thinkers—Werner Erhard and Martin Heidegger—two intellects who independently reached linguistic, ontological, and phenomenological philosophies that illuminate each other. Authors Hyde and Kopp accomplish the formidable task of masterfully presenting Erhard and Heidegger side by side in a readable, lively, and illuminating text. There is nothing quite like it!”

Jeronima (Jeri) Echeverria, Professor of History and Provost Emerita, California State University at Fresno, former Executive Vice-Chancellor for Academic Affairs of the California State University System

“Educational research confirms that without a significant intervention, students who become teachers are likely to replicate the pedagogical approaches their teachers used with them. Practicing Erhard’s approach to ontological inquiry—presented in print for the first time in this book—provides such an intervention. It equips students, teachers, academics of any field to critically examine their dispositions and access more effective ways of being and acting. Speaking Being is a must read for scholars of social foundations of education, teacher education, and frankly, for members of any field of study.”

Carolyne J. White, Professor of Social Foundations, Department of Urban Education, Rutgers University Newark

“A different you and a different me must show up each day if we are going to tackle the world’s most vexing problems. This book talks us through a process of transformation by showing us what it means to be an authentic human being in an inauthentic world, and what it means to take a stand for a world where everyone matters and where everyone can make a difference.”

Wiley “Chip” Souba, MD, ScD, MBA
Professor of Surgery, Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth
former Dean of Medicine and VP for Health Affairs, Dartmouth College

“This engaging study of Erhard’s counter-discursive approach to transformational education—and how this approach aligns significantly with Heidegger’s thinking—might serve as a starting point for a deeper Indigenous philosophy. Rooted in a more non-hierarchical epistemology, such an Indigenous philosophy promises to move us away from a colonized and deeply problematized way of thinking, toward embracing the power and mysteriousness of presence, and making possible a place-based, non-anthropocentric interconnectedness. This is the next essential step we must take if we are to survive as a species.”

Four Arrows, aka Don Trent Jacobs, PhD, EdD, editor of Unlearning the Language of Conquest, author of Point of Departure and Teaching Truly

“Speaking Being presents an ontological play between Erhard, Heidegger, the participants of a Forum delivered in 1989, and the reader, who is summoned to the scene to dwell in compelling questions and distinctions, the living of which make available the invention of a life that is experienced as authentic. The relentless commitment of authors Hyde and Kopp to communicate the unsayable, Being, opens up new directions for a rhetoric of emancipation that goes beyond traditional critical theories. Speaking Being speaks a new relation to language, one that honors the unexplored ontological power of language to create a new freedom to be, to live with existential courage.”

Margarida Garcia, Vice-Dean, Research and Communications, Faculty of Law (Civil Law) and Professor, Faculty of Law (Civil Law) and Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Ottawa

“While some readers of Speaking Being may be familiar with The Landmark Forum, most don’t know its connections to the philosophical tradition. Hyde and Kopp have woven together concise explanations of Heidegger’s notoriously difficult thinking with an actual transcript of Erhard’s Forum—by turns moving, funny, and shocking. This juxtaposition draws the reader into the experience and powerfully illuminates the teachings of these two thinkers.”

David Storey, Associate Professor, Boston College, author of Naturalizing Heidegger

“In Speaking Being, the reader is keenly drawn into a powerful and transformative ontological investigation around two fundamental questions: what is the Being of human beings and what is the possibility of Being for human beings. In Heidegger’s Being and Time the first question was rigorously explored. In Speaking Being, through the transcript of Werner Erhard’s Forum, Hyde and Kopp give us the opportunity to step into and toward the second question to authentically look at what is possible for the Being of human beings in its access to vitality, self-expression, love and contribution. The inquiry is at times moving, at times funny, at times even ruthless, but in one way or the other, it is always intended to get to the heart of the matter about these critical questions. A highly recommended read for anyone interested in discovering what it looks like to be a stand for the possibilities of the Being of human beings, and perhaps even a stand for what could be understood as its “authentic nature” and true ontological needs.”

Richard Dubé, Professor at the Department of Criminology, Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Ottawa

“Many academics in cultural studies accept postmodernity and content pedagogy as unquestionable facts of the world, but with a paltry understanding of how these ideas undermine our intention to produce morally conscious, action-oriented citizens. In their lucid exposition of Werner Erhard’s methodology, Hyde and Kopp offer a cogent roadmap out of such a paralyzing paradigm of knowledge and subjectivity. Brilliantly, the authors use Martin Heidegger’s writing to illuminate Erhard’s work and The Forum’s compelling impact on participants. Readers will discover for themselves, based on the contexts they bring, a powerful pedagogy of transformation grounded in an ontological inquiry into human being that leads students to discover their own paths of social agency and initiative. Highly recommended!”

Dr. Trystan T. Cotten, Associate Professor, Gender Studies, University of California, Stanislaus, founder and managing editor of Transgress Press

“Speaking Being presents, perhaps for the first time, a complete transcript of an actual Forum led by Werner Erhard, allowing the reader to directly observe and experience the unique power of dialogue as a tool for human transformation. Furthermore, authors Hyde and Kopp provide an intellectually satisfying correlation between the philosophical ideas of Martin Heidegger and the out-here-in-the-world work of Werner Erhard, revealing their surprising complementarity. I congratulate the authors on achieving this tour de force.”

Michael Leslie, Associate Professor, Journalism and Communications, University of Florida