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Gimme Shelter Newsletter – Shelter’s 50th Anniversary – Jan. 2020

This is a newsletter I send out maybe once a month. If you’d like to be on the list to receive it, you can sign up for email delivery of the Gimme Shelter newsletter here.


This is so un–de rigueur in these days of concise communication, but here I am with a long, rambling newsletter to start off the new year.

Shelter is 50 Years Old!

In 1970, we printed 5,000 copies of Domebook One and began our publishing career. We’re trying to figure out if we should have some sort of event celebrating the occasion this year. We’re still rolling!

The Half-Acre Homestead: 46 Years of Building and Gardening

I picked up 12 copies of the just-bound book in San Francisco recently. The thrill is NOT gone! After a year of putting it together, page by page, not being sure how the whole would look, came the moment of truth — it, ahem, looks really good. The size, the colors, the soft cover. It seems friendly. From us to you, here’s how human hands have created shelter and food.

The shipment of 5,000 books is now on the high seas, heading from Hong Kong to LA, where they will then travel by truck to the Ingram warehouse in Tennessee. Books should be in bookstores in late February.

Shameless Commerce Department: We’re offering it on our website for pre-order, with free shipping. It won’t go out until mid-February or so, but pre-sales will help us with printing bills. www.shelterpub.com/building/halfacrehomestead

Here’s a link to how I did the book (this was in the previous GIMME SHELTER newsletter). www.lloydkahn.com/2019/11/the-half-acre-homestead-book-is-finished

The 40th Anniversary Edition of Stretching

I discovered a homemade book called Stretching in 1979. It was aimed at athletes, with stretching routines for some 20 sports.

I wrote the author, Bob Anderson, and suggested he add stretches for builders, waitresses, truck drivers, kids, and older people. We started talking. He said he and his wife Jean (who did the drawings) had sold 35,000 copies from a garage in Southern California. Wow! End result: We rented Bob and Jean a house on the beach here in Spring, 1980, and in 3 months, we did a complete revision of the book.

We did a first run of 50,000 copies, and the book took off, with Random House as distributor, selling madly. It’s been selling ever since, now over 3¾ million copies worldwide, and in 23 languages. As far as I can tell, it’s the best-selling fitness book of all time.

Tech Neck  An important (and timely) addition to this new edition will be stretches to combat the bad posture caused by (1) cell phone usage and (2) working on computers.

Take a look at how bent-over people are when talking on their phones. It’s called “tech neck.”

The point is, we all spend too much time at screens of various sizes, and it’s not healthy. Not good for the body.

Want to take 30 seconds and stretch right now? shltr.net/stretch

Analog Tool in This Day and Age

We’re going to print up some self-adhesive stickers to go on the back of phones. You don’t have to turn on an app: just flip your phone over and take 10 seconds to s-t-r-e-t-c-h.

This is just a rough first copy of the sticker. It will also have drawings of bad and good posture.

The new book (and stickers) will be out by May, 2019. Read More …

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Lloyd’s Podcast with TheTinyHouse.net

Play the podcast:

Intro & synopsis from the podcast page (www.thetinyhouse.net/lloyd-kahn), which also contains more images and videos:

Today my guest is Lloyd Kahn; and if you don’t recognize the name, you’ve probably seen one of his books. Lloyd published the seminal book, Shelter in 1973, documenting alternative housing ideas not limited to, but including, tiny houses, well before the current modern movement.

Lloyd has a lifelong fascination with shelter, and this conversation, we trace the steps of how an insurance broker in San Francisco built his own home and slowly transitioned to publishing internationally about Geodesic Domes, Tiny Houses, Mobile Houses, Driftwood Shelters and more. DIY building. While many thousands of the homes that Lloyd has documented over the years are small or tiny, he’s got a healthy amount of skepticism about the tiny home movement.

In this wide-ranging conversation, we talk about Lloyd’s books, his original influences of the counter culture of the 1960s, and how the concept of shelter has changed over the years.

In This Episode

  • How did Lloyd’s fascination with shelter begin?
  • Why Lloyd’s 1973 book Shelter is the most important of his work
  • Why Lloyd decided to pull his Dome Books off the shelves even though they were selling
  • Why Lloyd says that Builders of the Pacific Coast is Lloyd’s favorite book
  • Lloyd tells the story of meeting and building with Derek ‘Deek’ Diedricksen
  • Why Dome homes have fallen out of favor (and Lloyd is more than okay with that!)
  • How Lloyd got into publishing in the first place
  • What is causing the current fascination with tiny houses?
  • Lloyd’s advice for first-time DIY home builders
  • Lloyd’s two favorite houses of all times
  • Lloyd’s take on aging well (He’s 83!)
  • Lloyd’s new book coming soon: The Half-Acre Homestead (It sounds amazing!)

Links and Resources

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