Steve Jobs, in his Stanford commencement speech in 2005, called The Whole Earth Catalog "one of the bibles of my generation."
"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".
A handbook for a global society
The Whole Earth Catalog was a kind of "unofficial handbook of the counterculture." It was, pre-Internet, a way for anyone anywhere to tap into a global economy.
Subtitling it "access to tools," founder and editor Stewart Brand set out to create a catalog that would help anyone do things for themselves or learn about big ideas.
The catalog covered all worldly and practical topics, categorized as Land Use and Shelter, Industry, Craft, Community, Nomadics, Communications and Learning.
Spokesperson for dome building
Lloyd Kahn was the Shelter editor of the catalog. He had also become well-known for his work building domes. His own dome home even appeared in Life Magazine.
But when -- in the mid-70s -- Kahn decided this building style just wasn't practical, he took the books out of print and took down his dome and built a traditional stud-frame house in its place.
An owner built home and homestead
Today, Lloyd and his wife Lesley Creed run their own homestead in Bolinas, California where they tend an extensive organic garden and bantam chickens, grind their own wheat, make their own sourdough, spin their own wool, and continue to build their own structures (most recently, a chicken coop with a living roof).
In this video Kahn shows us a rare first issue of the Whole Earth Catalog, takes us for a tour of his homestead (along with his wife Lesley) and gives us a sneak peek of his upcoming book Tiny Homes: Simple Shelter.
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