Rheingold's Brainstorms

Howard Rheingold's Story


I fell into the computer realm from the typewriter dimension, then plugged my
computer into my telephone and got sucked into the net. In earlier years,
my interest in the powers of the human mind led to Higher Creativity
(1984), written with Willis Harman, Talking Tech (1982) and The
Cognitive Connections
(1986) with Howard Levine Excursions to the Far
Side of the Mind: A Book of Memes
(1988), Exploring the World of
Lucid Dreaming
(1990), with Stephen LaBerge, and They Have A Word
For It: A Lighthearted Lexicon of Untranslatable Words and phrases.

I ventured further into the territory where minds meet technology, via the
subject of computers as mind-amplifiers, and wrote Tools for Thought (1984) [New edition from MIT Press, April 2000]. Next,
(1991) chronicled my odyssey in the world of artificial
experience, from simulated battlefields in Hawaii to robotics laboratories in
Tokyo, garage inventors in Great Britain, and simulation engineers in the south
of France.

In 1985, I became involved in the WELL, a
computer conferencing system. I started writing about life in my virtual
community and ended up with a book about the cultural and political implications
of a new communications medium, The Virtual
(1993 [New edition to be published by MIT Press in 2000]).

I had the privilege of being the editor of The Whole Earth
and editor in chief of The
Millennium Whole Earth Catalog
(1994). Here's my introduction to the Catalog, my riff on Taming Technology and a selection of my own articles and reviews from both

In 1994, I was one of the principal architects and the first Executive Editor of
HotWired. I quit after launch, because I wanted
something more like a jam session than a magazine. In 1996, I founded and, with
the help of a crew of 15, launched Electric Minds. I've become a professional virtual community builder, as well.

You can see my painted shoes, if you'd like.


Howard Rheingold / hlr [at] well [dot] com


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Rheingold's vision

Thanks for introducing Rheingold's vision to us. His book, Smart Mobs, provides a useful view of how computing technologies can accelerate collaborations. Read more.

Overlapping Rheingold' vision

My first experience with the WWW was joining the Well in the early '90s, and that was a fascinating world to see, in those still early days of the Internet. I read Rheingold's Virtual Community when that was published in 1993 and I saw the future on-line (and I remember many myopic technocrats discounting his vision back then).  A little over a decade later, the entire world is prepared to participate in virtual community, and the world has been transformed. It is awesome Rheingold has posted this entire book and so much other insight at his website of Brainstorms - what a visionary and articulate genius... check it out