George Leonard

George Leonard

George Leonard, the co-founder (with Michael Murphy) of Integral Transformative Practice (ITP), is the author of numerous books on human possibilities and social change, including Education and Ecstasy, The Transformation, The Ultimate Athlete, The Silent Pulse, The End of Sex, Mastery, and The Way of Aikido. The 1995 book, The Life We Are Given, co-authored with Esalen founder Murphy, reports on a two-year experimental class in ITP created by the authors for realizing the potential of body, mind, heart, and soul. ITP Groups are now practicing not only throughout the U.S., but also in other countries as well.

From 1953 to 1970, Leonard served as a senior editor for Look magazine. He produced numerous essays and special issues on education, science, politics, the arts, the Civil Rights Movement, and foreign affairs. A collection of his Look essays was published in 1970 as “The Man & Woman Thing and Other Provocations”. His articles on education have won eleven national awards. Articles by George Leonard have also appeared in such magazines as Esquire, Harper’s, Atlantic, New York, Saturday Review, and The Nation. During the 1980’s, he wrote 42 pieces for Esquire, more than any other writer.

Leonard holds a 5th degree black belt in the martial art of aikido, and is the co-founder of an aikido school in Mill Valley, California. He is also the founder of Leonard Energy Training (LET), a practice inspired by aikido, which offers alternative ways of dealing with everyday life situations. Leonard has introduced LET to more than 50,000 people in the U.S. and abroad.

George Leonard received a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Noth Carolina (1948) and Doctor of Humanities degrees from Lewis and Clark College (1972), John F. Kennedy University (1985), and Saybrook Institute (2003). He is a past president of the Association for Humanistic Psychology; during his tenure, the Association’s membership reached its all-time high. He is President Emeritus of esalen Institute. Leonard's adventures along with the human frontiers of the 1960's are described in his 1988 memoir, Walking on the Edge of the World. He is married and has three daughters and six grandchildren.

George Leonard - Informal Notes/Background

George Leonard has been called, "the granddaddy of the consciousness movement," by Newsweek, "the poet-philospher of American health is its broadest sense" by American Health, and "the legendary editor and writer" by Psychology Today. While serving as senior editor for Look magazine (1953 - 1970), he won an unprecedented eleven national awards for education writing. His coverage of the Civil Rights Movements (praised in the February 10, 2003 New Yorker) contributed to Look’s being awarded the first National Magazine Award in 1968. His harrowing 7,000-mile journey around the Soviet border with photographer Paul Fuscojust after the Berlin Wall went up provided the first reportage showing that the Iron Curtain was an actual barrier of barbed wire, mine fields, and watch towers rather than a mere figure of speech.

In a sense, Leonard discovered the Sixties. While other media were still decrying the silent or cautious generous, he produced a special Look issue called “Your of the Sixties: The Explosive Generation” (Jan. 3, 1961) which foretold the idealism and turmoil to come. His special issue on California (Sept. 25, 1962) was the first to put forth the thesis (later adopted by all media, to become conventional wisdom) that what happened in tha state would happen laterthroughout the nation. In the 1960’s, Look had a readership of 34 million won more national awards for excellence than did any other magazine.

Leonard coined the term “human potential movement” and first used the term “The Transformation” in a book of that title to describe a shift in the way industrial culture deals with matter and energy, organizes social forms, and shapes consciousness. His bestselling 1975 book, The Ultimate Athlete, helped shape the fitness boom. His 1983 book, The End of Sex (the cover article for the December 1982 Esquire and several other magazines) was the first published requiem for the sexual revolution.


His scenarios for the interactive multimediaeducation in Education and Ecstasy and Esquire are still considered state of the art by educational technologists. Dr. Alfred Bork of the Educational Technology Center at the University of California at Irvine has stated that "Many of the features that Leonard describes seem to me likely to characterize almost any school of the future that uses computers effectively as tools for learning."

Leonard's more recent books, Mastery (1991), The Life we are Given (1995, with Michael Murphy), and The Way of Aikido (1999) have helped create a nationwide movemnt towads long-term practice, as opposed to the quick-fix mentality. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, "Leonard has been right so many times about prevailing zeitgeists that you have to wonder if he has a third eye."

During World War II, Leonard served as a ttack pilot in the southwest Pacific theater, and as an analytical intelligence officer during the Korean conflict.

He also enjoys a lifelong devotion to music and occasionally plays piano with jazz groups. He wrote the music for two full-scake musical comedies, which were produced by the Air Force, and another, Clothes, based on "The Emperor's New Clothes," which was produced at Marin County's Mountain Play Theater. 

ITPI Newsletter Articles - Winter 2022

Personal, community and global evolution This first issue of our 2022 quarterly newsletter touches on the theme of personal, community and global evolution. Our integral transformation inevitably inspires a ripple effect to include our relationships and beyond.

ITPI Practice Resources for Lasting Change - December 2021

Experiencing the Extraordinary Happy holidays! We wind down the year with our final issue of the ITP practice resources newsletter by focusing on the extraordinary in everyday life. These past weeks are so often a blur of to-do lists and year-end tasks. We hope that the content below offers a gentle reminder to slow down and inhabit a sense of awe in the life we are given.

ITPI Newsletter Articles - Autumn 2021

The power of inquiry and research In this issue, read about the spirit of possibility that launched ITP's first experimental class and the research our co-founders employed to verify ITP efficacy, along with subjective findings.

ITPI Practice Resources for Lasting Change - November 2021

This month's newsletter features a number of resources to support a practice embodied in gratitude, for ourselves, each other and the gifts and "hits" we experience each day. We hope the tools below inspire you to approach this transformative journey with a sense of this heartfelt joy.

ITPI Newsletter Articles - Summer 2021

In our Summer issue, we honor ways community nurtures our ongoing growth and breathes new life into us. Enjoy viewing the videos and reading the articles about the riches found in our community. This may be an ideal moment to pause and reflect on what community means to you and to experience gratitude for the blessings of it in your life.

ITPI Practice Resources for Lasting Change - June 2021

Exploring the Power of the ITP Kata – This month's newsletter features a number of resources to explore the power within our ITP Kata practice. We hope the tools below offer ways to deepen your connection to the Kata in its entirety, the physical movements and the imaging and meditation segments. For so many of us that have not been able to enjoy being guided through the Kata this past year, you'll also enjoy a video from ITP president and Mastery Teacher, Pam Kramer, leading us through the Kata in its entirety.

ITPI Practice Resources for Lasting Change - April 2021

Transformative Power of Affirmations – This month's newsletter features a number of resources to support you throughout your own affirmation process and ways to keep your affirmations alive in your daily life. We hope the tools below can empower you in your practice and purpose. As always, thank you for your wholehearted participation in this community. Your own journey has a profound ripple effect on our ever-evolving global family.

ITPI Practice Resources for Lasting Change - March 2021

Extending Our Practice Outward in Service – This month's newsletter features a number of resources to inspire you to find your own unique way to extend your practice outward into the world. Whether it is stepping on a path of Mastery in deepening your relationships or nurturing a collaborative community endeavor, we hope the tools below can empower you in your practice and purpose. As always, thank you for your wholehearted participation in this community. Your own journey has a profound ripple effect on our ever-evolving global family.

ITPI Newsletter Articles - Winter 2021

This Quarterly issue focuses on the power of vision and the worldview that informs our practice. The stories below honor our roots and illustrate how the four legs of ITP - Vision, Practice, Community and Research - continue to inform and evolve our pioneering endeavor.