Stewart Brand, one of the most influential experts we’ve interviewed, is also one of the hardest to define. Former military man, Merry Prankster with Ken Kesey’s circle, pioneering environmentalist, and creator of the Whole Earth Catalog—which Steve Jobs has described as “like Google in paperback form, 35 years before Google”—his life and work have anticipated many of the major global changes of the past half-century. In his Big Think interview, Brand discussed his many career highlights, including his famous (and widely misunderstood) statement that “information wants to be free.”
Brand also offered some criticisms of his fellow environmentalists, warning of the need to embrace technologies such as nuclear power rather than summarily dismiss them on ideological grounds. He even chided Al Gore—a figure few associate with environmental optimism—for painting too rosy a picture of our current climate crisis.