Michael Calore: He’s the naughtiest bird.
Lauren Goode: He’s the … Don’t do it Emmanuel. Don’t do it!
Alex Heath: Don’t do it!
Lauren Goode: I love it.
Alex Heath: I did just post my BeReal though.
Lauren Goode: Oh, you did? Oh, awesome. OK, cool. Mike, what’s your recommendation, BeReal about it.
Michael Calore: So, much like Shirin, I also don’t like to read books about technology in my free time. However, I read an excellent book about technology in my free time while I was gone. I took a vacation and read this on my vacation. It is called Whole Earth: The Many Lives of Stewart Brand, and it’s by the longtime New York Times technology journalist, John Markoff. So Stewart Brand is like a hippie dude, he was around in the San Francisco Bay Area in the ’60s. He was a Merry Prankster, but then he started hanging out with Stanford people and got very into technology.
He is the founder of the Whole Earth Catalog, which was sort of like a blog in print that talked about all of the tools that you needed in order to live off the land. And if you were into homesteading or communal living, it had a lot of resources for that sort of activity. He later started The Well, which was one of the first big informal communities on the internet. Now he works with The Long Now Foundation. So he lives this, this sort of like Forrest Gump-style existence, where he has bounced around from community to community, all of them very important and very influential over the years.
But he has not been as celebrated as a technology pioneer because he is sort of adjacent to the big celebrated technology pioneers. So his life is really fascinating, and his experience is really fascinating. And this is like the first big sort of book that’s been written about him. There’s also a documentary that is unrelated. It’s also about Stewart Brand. It premiered last year, I think it’s going to make its way into theaters and onto streaming later this year. So if you’re interested in this guy, he’s in his 80s now, and he’s still vibrant and active on social media. We’ve interviewed him a few times recently in WIRED. He was around when WIRED was founded. So he sort of has a connection to our publication. Although I will say, I do not know him, full disclosure. So yes, great book, check it out, The Whole Earth: Many Lives of Stewart Brand by John Markoff.
Lauren Goode: There was a particularly unflattering review of that book published recently as well, right?
Michael Calore: There was, yes.
Lauren Goode: Yes.
Michael Calore: A lot of criticism about the book is that Stewart Brand is not as interesting, because he’s the guy next to the important person. I would argue that’s false. Also, the book is just really good. So if you like biographies of people who are interesting, then you’ll like this one.
Lauren Goode: So you give it your wholehearted recommendation.
Michael Calore: I do. Here is a—
Lauren Goode: That was a stretch.
Michael Calore: Yeah. It really was. Here’s a photograph of my whole heart.
Lauren Goode: Thank you for that.
Michael Calore: All right. Well that is our show. Shirin and Alex, thank you for joining us.
Alex Heath: Thanks for having us.
Shirin Ghaffary: Thanks for having us, yeah.
Michael Calore: You can find all six seasons of Land of the Giants on Vox.com, or maybe the same application you’re using to listen to this podcast, you can find it there. The sixth season premiered last week, and new episodes will continue to roll out through the rest of the summer. Thank you all for listening. If you have feedback, you can find all of us on Twitter. Just check the show notes. Our producer is Boone Ashworth. Goodbye, and we will be back next week.
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