Stewart Brand
Point Foundation, San Rafael, CA, 1998; originally published 1968, English
Design, General
ISBN: 9781892907059

Published regularly between 1968 and 1972 (and in 1998 in a 30th-anniversary edition, the only catalogue to win a National Book Award) and filled with tools and tips, according to founder Stewart Brand, “At a time when the New Left was calling for grass-roots political (i.e., referred) power, Whole Earth eschewed politics and pushed grassroots direct power—tools and skills. At a time when New Age hippies were deploring the intellectual world of arid abstractions, Whole Earth pushed science, intellectual endeavor, and new technology as well as old. As a result, when the most empowering tool of the century came along—personal computers (resisted by the New Left and despised by the New Age)—Whole Earth was in the thick of the development from the beginning.”

In its obituary of Steve Jobs (October 5, 2011), the New York Times wrote, “If [Jobs] had a motto, it may have come from The Whole Earth Catalog, which he said had deeply influenced him as a young man. The book, he said in his commencement address at Stanford in 2005, ends with the admonition, ’Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.’ ’I have always wished that for myself,’ he said.” 

On 4 book lists
Michael Manfredi

An expansive, eccentric, and systemic catalogue of ideas and tools that quickly became a cultural phenomenon. It reshaped how we see the world and its ecological challenges. References to sustainable design, experimental media, and technological innovations privileged, for the first time, the interconnectedness of things.

Peter Pennoyer

As the youngest of four children growing up in the 1960s and ’70s, I was exposed early to the best and worst of the counterculture, so it was not surprising that our house had a couple of copies of this splendidly bizarre catalogue (which I filched from my sister in 1969) of everything needed to live-survive-compost-build-meditate-activate in the psychedelic era. I was smitten by the geodesic domes and stimulated to think of the kind of home that could be cobbled together from products (and ideas) in this catalogue.

comments powered by Disqus