The Whole Earth Catalog Online: Stewart Brand’s “Bible” of the 60s Generation

Time to res­ur­rect anoth­er sud­den­ly rel­e­vant item we first men­tioned back in 2009…

Between 1968 and 1972, Stew­art Brand pub­lished The Whole Earth Cat­a­log. For Kevin Kel­ly, the Cat­a­log was essen­tial­ly “a paper-based data­base offer­ing thou­sands of hacks, tips, tools, sug­ges­tions, and pos­si­bil­i­ties for opti­miz­ing your life.” For Steve Jobs, it was a “Bible” of his gen­er­a­tion, a life ‑trans­form­ing pub­li­ca­tion. Speak­ing to Stan­ford grad­u­ates in 2005, in what Ken Aulet­ta has called the “Get­tys­burg Address of grad­u­a­tion-speechism,” Jobs explained why he drew inspi­ra­tion from this intel­lec­tu­al cre­ation of the 60s coun­ter­cul­ture:

When I was young, there was an amaz­ing pub­li­ca­tion called The Whole Earth Cat­a­log, which was one of the bibles of my gen­er­a­tion. It was cre­at­ed by a fel­low named Stew­art Brand not far from here in Men­lo Park, and he brought it to life with his poet­ic touch. This was in the late 1960’s, before per­son­al com­put­ers and desk­top pub­lish­ing, so it was all made with type­writ­ers, scis­sors, and polaroid cam­eras. It was sort of like Google in paper­back form, 35 years before Google came along: it was ide­al­is­tic, and over­flow­ing with neat tools and great notions.

Stew­art and his team put out sev­er­al issues of The Whole Earth Cat­a­log, and then when it had run its course, they put out a final issue. It was the mid-1970s, and I was your age. On the back cov­er of their final issue was a pho­to­graph of an ear­ly morn­ing coun­try road, the kind you might find your­self hitch­hik­ing on if you were so adven­tur­ous. Beneath it were the words: “Stay Hun­gry. Stay Fool­ish.” It was their farewell mes­sage as they signed off. Stay Hun­gry. Stay Fool­ish. And I have always wished that for myself. And now, as you grad­u­ate to begin anew, I wish that for you.

The good news is that The Whole Earth Cat­a­log and some relat­ed pub­li­ca­tions are avail­able online. You can read them for free, or down­load them for a fee. We sug­gest div­ing in right here, in Fall 1968, where it all begins. Enjoy.…

Note: If you’re hav­ing prob­lems find your way around the site, check out the Twit­ter stream for the The Whole Earth Cat­a­logue. It includes links to var­i­ous online edi­tions. We’ve also added the text to our col­lec­tion of Free eBooks.

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Comments (18)
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  • marilee pittman says:

    How fond­ly I remem­ber The Whole Earth Cat­aloue. I was a ref­er­ence source for just about every­thing under the sun, from fix­ing, pick­ling, grow­ing, mend­ing …
    I can see that the time is ripe for a come­back!

  • Andrew Hagan says:

    I revered the WEC orig­i­nal­ly as well as its sub­se­quent addi­tions. The spin-off quar­ter­ly mag­a­zines, named Whole Earth Review and also Coevo­lu­tion Quar­ter­ly, con­tin­ued in print for a cou­ple of decades, I believe the print issue has been gne now for , I am guess­ing, 5 years.Although it went through dif­fer­ent edi­tors, it always con­tained rel­e­vant infor­ma­tion for alter­na­tive lifestyles and fea­tured vision­ary authors and poets, inter­views and links to fringe alter­na­tive lifestyles. I would just like to add that Stew­ard Brand’s lat­est book,Whole Earth Dis­ci­pline is a wor­thy read for any­one inter­est­ed in how we should pro­ceed to deal with human­i­ty’s fur­ther endeav­ors on this plan­et, and he re-exam­ines some of the assump­tions that he and the green move­ment have sup­port­ed all these years. I think he has been at the fore­front and cut­ting edge for so many years, that whether or not you agree with some of his stances, you owe it to his expe­ri­ence and vision to read what he has to say. It was indeed a bible of sorts to my gen­er­a­tion, and if you fol­lowed up the writ­ers who were often fea­tured, it has kept your mind fed on deep ecol­o­gy and envi­ron­men­tal issues, among many oth­ers.…..

  • Joshua Bevan says:

    I had nev­er seen the Whole Earth Cat­a­log until a few years ago. A friend sent me Steve Jobs’ speech. I fell in love with that mes­sage. I even wear a “Stay hun­gry. Stay fool­ish.” T‑shirt Thank you for keep­ing pow­er­ful thoughts like these cir­cu­lat­ing!

  • funkyfedor says:

    Hel­lo every­one,
    Just want­ed to share my sto­ry with you..

    I’m a musi­cian from Rus­sia. Three months ago we record­ed a song inspired by Steve Job’s com­mence­ment address at Stan­ford Uni­ver­si­ty. This song means a lot to us, it was our first song record­ed and it lit­er­al­ly made the band. And now it has much big­ger mean­ing…

    2 weeks ago we e‑mailed Steve ask­ing to give his per­mis­sion to use his words as our lyrics. But we had no answer…

    Writ­ing the song we want­ed peo­ple to be inspired by Steve’s mes­sage — fol­low your hearts, don’t be afraid to do things your way, keep search­ing and don’t set­tle until you find what you real­ly love…

    Here is the song:

    Thank you if you find it inter­est­ing,

  • Robert Hennecke says:

    I thought I post­ed a mes­sage ???

  • Larry Smith says:

    Okay, I’ve been amazed by the cul­tur­al force of The Whole Earth Cat­a­log late­ly. A rev­o­lu­tion­ary pub­li­ca­tion (1968–1072) by Stew­art Brand and oth­ers and which some have com­pared to the pre­de­ces­sor of the inter­net. And who do I find agree­ing with me but Steve Jobs…This con­cept of pro­vid­ing tools for change (the pub­li­ca­tion was sub­ti­tled “acces to tools”) is part of the inspi­ra­tion for my nov­el The Free Farm (Bot­tom Dog Press)…in which young peo­ple cre­ate a work­ing com­mune in South­ern Ohio. Brand and his wife Lois began in the most rudi­men­ta­ry way, by dri­ving around the coun­try going to cam­pus­es and wel­com­ing com­mu­ni­ties with a truck load of such tools and books. We owe them a lot.
    When I wrote the nov­el, I felt Stew­art and Lois should appear in it, and imme­di­ate­ly got an endorse­ment from Stew­art… “Go ahead, and use it.” He’s still mak­ing tools for us.

  • Scott Slingo says:

    Whole earth cat­a­log led me to Cal­i­for­nia in
    1970 to Pacif­ic School, and got to help build some of the 1st Geo­des­ics for habi­tats and lis­ten to R.B. Fuller. That
    changed my life for­ev­er. Thank you for all
    the cool tools and sto­ries. Scott Slin­go
    Kona, and Keaau Hawaii 12/27/2012 Even­tu­al­ly built first per­ma­nent Dome in
    Kath­man­du, in the mon­soon of 1987. Steel
    frame, bolt­ed then weld­ed. Maha­lo Plen­ty

  • Jeffrey L. Lindsey says:

    As a teenag­er, the Whole Earth Cat­a­log seems to show what your own poten­tial could be and pre­pare you for life’s chal­lenges.

  • Tim says:

    we need a book like the cat­a­logue but deals with design rev­o­lu­tion and future solu­tion; may be I should work on that.

  • Wommel says:

    My cat­a­log 1st took me to the Col­orado mt’s. Liv­ing in a cab­in for 5 yr. of bliss. And still liv­en the good life.

  • paai says:

    But… but… Apple is every­thing the Whole Earth Cat­a­log is not and vice ver­sa…

  • Naomi Leago says:

    The Whole Earth cat­a­logue was a fine pub­li­ca­tion which did much to pro­mote the idea of sus­tain­able liv­ing, shame it isn’t in every newsagents today. Just the thing to read on a rainy after­noon. Par­tic­u­lar­ly loved the stuff on build­ing with bam­boo, and build­ing sus­tain­ably. Thanky­ou very much Nao­mi

  • Robert says:

    I read in a whole earth cat­a­log about an out­door toi­let that you take camp­ing. It was called a “DESTROYLET” It had a toi­let seat with an area to pro­tect your legs from ‘splashage’ with a fan direct­ly under­neath the seat. It was open in the back. I would love to find anoth­er whole earth cato­logue. Nos­ne­groj Tre­bor spelled sdrawk­cab

  • Lucas Pacheco says:

    I would like a cat­a­log sent to me.

  • Robert Jorgenson says:

    I saw in an ear­ly whole earth cat­a­log the destroylet was for sale. It was an out­door toi­let with a toi­let seat and a fan under it! I want now to get a pic­ture of it!

  • Roger Stoutenburgh says:

    What cat­a­log today comes clos­est the the orig­i­nal “Whole Earth Cat­a­log”. I want some­thing like it for my sons gar­den­ing inter­ests . Thank you.

    Sin­cere­ly, Roger

  • Ashoka Chakeavarthi says:

    Plese can you send pdf i will take and read

  • Meredith says:

    The link to access the cat­a­log appears to be bro­ken. I am get­ting this error mes­sage:

    Parse error: syn­tax error, unex­pect­ed ‘new’ (T_NEW) in /nfs/c02/h04/mnt/28620/domains/ on line 12

    Is it pos­si­ble to fix this prob­lem? Thank you, Mered­ith

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