Between 1968 and 1972, Stewart Brand published The Whole Earth Catalog an American counterculture catalog. It 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.
Click on the image above to go to the online version of the The Whole Earth Catalog that is now available online. The collection of that work provided on this site is not complete — and probably never will be — but it is a gift to readers who loved the CATALOG and those who are discovering it for the first time.
The title Whole Earth Catalog came from a previous project of Stewart Brand. In 1966, he initiated a public campaign to have NASA release the then-rumored satellite photo of the sphere of Earth as seen from space, the first image of the “Whole Earth.” He thought the image might be a powerful symbol, evoking a sense of shared destiny and adaptive strategies from people. The Stanford-educated Brand, a biologist with strong artistic and social interests, believed that there was a groundswell of commitment to thoroughly renovating American industrial society along ecologically and socially just lines, whatever they might prove to be.
Steve Jobs, chief executive officer and co-founder of Apple Computer and of Pixar Animation Studios, urged graduates at Stanford to pursue their dreams and see the opportunities in life’s setbacks — including death itself — at the university’s 114th Commencement on June 12, 2005.
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.”
You can watch the video below