Whole Earth Catalog, 1968

Founded in 1968 by the Northern California-based writer Stewart Brand, the Whole Earth Catalog was an index of tools, mail-order products, and articles useful for creating an alternative and self-sustaining lifestyle. As stated in the first issue, the catalog aimed to enable a reader to “share his own education, find his own inspiration, shape his own environment, and share his adventure,” and was inspired by Buckminster Fuller, whose books on ecology, radical architecture, and sustainable energy were some of the first items listed for sale. At a pre-Internet moment, the Whole Earth Catalog connected a (sometimes esoteric) network of like-minded people, and its content was often user generated. Steve Jobs later proclaimed it “Google in paperback form.”

In 1972, the catalog won a National Book Award—the first catalog ever to do so. A sample of the inaugural issue can be viewed in the above pdf, and more issues are online at www.wholeearth.com.