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The Whole Earth Catalog was the Sears and Roebuck catalog of the counterculture. The sub-head of the publication was "Access to Tools". I'm 50, and was a little young to be the target audience, but it showed me a world of people out there doing things to make the world a better place.
The Portola Institute really needs to make this and all other editions of the Whole Earth Catalog and the Co-Evolution Quarterly available in full to Google Books. Right now, they are only available in "Snippet View" It is not as if they are going to re-print these, and most of the library copies I have seen are in poor shape, yellowed with age at best and with pages ripped out. I edit Wikipedia, and would love to be able to search through Google Books and add references to Wikipedia articles on various subjects. Being able to do so, having the full text freely available, and giving maximum access to this particular tool, would do more to solidify the legacy of this cultural touchstone than anything else I can think of.
Steve Jobs compared Google to the Whole Earth Catalog in his June 2005 Stanford University commencement speech. "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 sort of like Google in paperback form, 35 years before Google came along. It was idealistic and overflowing with neat tools and great notions." During the commencement speech, Jobs also quoted the farewell message placed on the back cover of the 1974 edition of the catalog: "Stay hungry, stay foolish."
Please, Stewart Brand and the Portola Institute, free the Whole Earth Catalog.

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