The Whole Earth Catalog Online: The “Bible” of Steve Jobs’ Generation

The Whole Earth Catalog Online: The “Bible” of Steve Jobs’ Generation

Posted: 06 Oct 2011 12:30 PM PDT via Open Culture

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.

The Whole Earth Catalog Online: The “Bible” of Steve Jobs’ Generation is a post from: Open Culture. Visit us at, or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.


The Best of the Culture Web. Open Culture Beat No. 10

Posted: 06 Oct 2011 09:35 AM PDT


What cultural goodies did we tweet (and re-tweet) on our Twitter stream in recent days? Here are the highlights. Follow us on Twitter at @openculture to get the rest, or Like us on Facebook. We’ll keep you plugged into quality culture every day.

  • Nobel Prize for Literature Goes to Tomas TranströmerRead article. Read his poems: After a Death and Outskirts. Tranströmer reads his poem Schubertiana above.
  • Niels Bohr Dissolves Two Nobel Prize Medals. Fascinating story about what happened when the Nazis overtook Copenhagen in 1940. The article.
  • When Kerouac and Kesey Met in 1964. The story told by their literary agent.
  • The Seven Greatest Stories from Esquire. Stories by Norman Mailer, Gay Talese, Tom Wolfe and beyond.
  • Flannery O’Connor Reads “A Good Man is Hard to Find.” Vanderbilt University, 1959. Audio.
  • Miles Davis and John Lennon Playing Basketball in 1971. Watch around 5:00 minute mark. Video.
  • Radio Mozart: All Mozart, All the Time. Online. Scroll down page, and click “Ecouter la radio.” Audio.
  • Nikon’s Small World Photomicrography Competition. 32 images of anything and everything visible under a microscope. Images.
  • The 1943 Disney Employee Handbook Digitized. How employees learned the ropes.
  • Jon Stewart Explains How The Daily Show is Made. Video courtesy of Rolling Stone. Watch.
  • “Marlon I Respect You Enormously.” Francis Ford Coppola’s 1973 letter to Marlon Brando.
  • Björk’s New Album ‘Biophilia.’ Stream it free online for a limited time.
  • The Films of Roman Polanski: A four-part retrospective.
  • Steven Pinker Interviewed by Sam Harris. Talk about his new book, The Better Angels of Our Nature: The Decline of Violence in History and Its CausesRead interview here.
  • Ten Seconds from Every Top 100 Song 1956-1959. Courtesy of WFMU. Audio.
  • Bonnie and Clyde Death Scene. Footage from 1934. Video.
  • Peter Gabriel Performs 1980s Classics with an Orchestra. Listen to three tracks.
  • Audio Slideshow of the Willem de Kooning Retrospective at MOMA. Courtesy of The New Yorker. 3 minutes.
  • Christopher Hitchens on George Orwell’s 1984Audio recorded in 2009Listen. (Free audio version of the novel here.)
  • Jack White Records Lost Hank Williams Song. Found in his notebooks after his death. Listen.
  • Finding Fellini’s La Dolce Vita in Today’s Rome. You just need to know where to look for it.
  • Brian Wilson Interviewed in Studio Q. Talks about The Beach Boys, the creative process, drugs, and his struggle with mental illness. Video.

Sources: @philosophybites@opedr@elizabethkarr@coudal@stevesilberman@brainpicker@dangermindsblog,  @webacion@matthiasrascher,

The Best of the Culture Web. Open Culture Beat No. 10 is a post from: Open Culture. Visit us at, or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

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