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The medium is the massage : an inventory of effects
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The medium is the massage : an inventory of effects

3.95 of 5 stars 3.95  ·  rating details  ·  6,784 ratings  ·  197 reviews
Written by the author who is known for coining the term 'Global Village', this title illustrates his theories that force us to question how modes of communication have shaped society.
Paperback, Penguin Classics, 160 pages
Published September 25th 2008 by Penguin (first published 1967)
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Trevor
This was a much more interesting read than I suspected it would be before I started. The argument runs a bit like this:

Every technology only makes sense in as far as it extends a human sense or ability. The car makes us better ‘walkers’. The telephone, for example, could be seen as a much-improved human ear, allowing us to hear across continents or a plough a much-improved human hand, allowing us to dig up an entire field. Stick with this idea for a moment and soon we see that we have used techn
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notgettingenough
Are there other people who wonder about this?

Goodreads ONLY exists because of the goodwill of the people who do all the unpaid slave labour that keeps it where it is. That is Manny, and Paul Bryant, me to a relatively insignificant extent, whoever is reading this.

It is covered in offensive ads. They are there because the site is able to make a lot of money by using OUR goodwill and turning into cash.

I wonder if there is anybody else out there, offended by an ad that lets you get in touch with de
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Ariel
The ideas are genius and brilliant and groundbreaking even today, but the graphic design element felt a little messy and random to me, and at time the writing would get superfluous. Much recommended, though, to learn about this important process of thought! Also, it's super super quick!
Lisa
This wasn't the version I read. I read the book: The Medium is the Massage by Marshall McLuhan and Quentin Fiore. It has many images, text is flipped, broken, larger, smaller; the book itself a metaphor for the evolution of the medium.

Regardless. It's brilliance, and if you pretend as you read that you are in the 60s and extrapolate from the basic theses of this book, its prescience is unnerving. I will re-visit images and text many times. This was a very enjoyable afternoon of reading and thin
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Jasmine
So this is one of those books where I always say the wrong title (like the deluze book I always claim is about platypuses [or platypi as it maybe]). I have always called it the medium is the message, apparently that is a different book, unlike the platypi issue which is just a title I made up. I also sometimes call marshall marsha, but that is because I had a professor in college who use to do that for which I have no explanation except possibly a very thick accent.

this book is about how new te
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April
In this interesting little book, McLuhan explains that "electric technologies" (it was published in 1967) will change collective perception and will encourage increased participation in the world and thus, we will become a global village inherently connected and involved. Reading this 45 years later, I can plainly see his cynicism but I also find some of his ideas unsettlingly relevant today. Also, this is an extremely visual piece of work with a mixture of graphics, photographs, illustrations, ...more
Gillian
Think that if I had read this as a 19 year old boy while stoned I would have thought it was amazing. Sadly I am neither of those things.

Lines such as "The ear favours no particular point of view. We are enveloped by sound" and "The environment as a processor of information is propaganda" sum up the book nicely. It's wank.
Tom Schulte
I finally got around to reading the classic last night, and what was I waiting for? It is witty, insightful, and very entertaining. Much credit must be given to graphic designer Quentin Fiore. His designs of the 1960s are mixed text and images, different sizes of type and other unconventional devices like mirror writing to create dynamic pages that reflect the tumultuous spirit of the time. In the words of critic Steven Heller, Fiore was "as anarchic as possible while still working within the co ...more
Erik Graff
Mar 18, 2009 Erik Graff rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: students of the sixties
Recommended to Erik by: Edward James Erickson
Shelves: art
Not all my mentors in high school were teachers. Thanks to membership in Maine South's Social Science Society I was befriended by a number of older students, all of whom were leftist intellectuals of one sort or another, all of whom knew much more than I. The three most prominent were Arthur Goezke, Walter Wallace and Ed Erickson.

Of the Tri-S elders, Ed Erickson became my closest companion during the junior year--and even afterwards when he went off the the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urba
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Sean Pagaduan
Jul 09, 2011 Sean Pagaduan rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: (pseudo-)intellectuals, people who use the internet, philosophy majors
This is one of those weird books that's kind of loose philosophical theory without much in the way of hard logic or evidence. It's kind of along the same lines as Jean Baudrillard and Alvin Toffler in that it tries to predict how our world is being shaped by technological developments. Specifically, McLuhan covers the so-called "electric" age and how media (especially the television; remember that this was written in 1967) affects our consciousness and perception, how we organize the world.

My co
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tom
Only good if you don't take it as serious politics/cultural studies, and even then it's pretty ridiculous. A lot of it looks absurd in the context of the 40 odd years of technological and political. development since this was written. The idea that modern technology is particularly liberating, especially, doesn't look like much now. It's weird because he seems to make comments every so often which show the essential similarity between modern technology and older technology but he doesn't let it ...more
Leah
In one of the most interestingly presented books I have seen, socio-cultural theorist, Marshall McLuhan, and graphics designer and artist, Quentin Fiore, present The Medium is the Massage, a book that, while written in the 1960s, has more direct application to our contemporary times than it did during its inception.

Taking its cue from the saying, "the medium is the message" and altering it to fit their own message, McLuhan and Fiore present the argument of how the electronic media is slowly lul
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Rita
Through fragmented graphics, unconventional layouts, and the power of the written word, Marshall McLuhan demonstrates that the medium truly is the message. My reaction to McLuhen’s insights was a dubious acceptance. I get his point and can agree to a degree that we are changing our society and ourselves through technology.

McLuhan believes that a medium, or a technology, is an extension of the human being. Because of the medium we are able to affect greater and more rapid change. The wheel allow
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Emma (Miss Print)
The Medium is the Massage: An Inventory of Effects is a crazy little book (159 pages, mostly with images) that has been spouting some crazy ideas since its original publication in 1967. The book was written by Marshall McLuhan and desgined by Quentin Fiore. It is also the only book I have ever found with its own producer, one Jerome Angel.

This book is also what I imagine a book would look like were it on drugs.

In other words, I found this book to be complete chaos. In images, photos, text, and a
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drbarb
Apr 22, 2007 drbarb rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
In 1970, I was just an undergrad and about 17 or 18 years old. My teacher was this old, chain-smoking guy who looked like someone's grandpa. He was Harry Skornia, one of [Ed] "Murrow's boys" and a media giant. After WWII, it was his job to set up radio again in Germany.

He, of all people, had us reading McLuhan. At the time, McLuhan had to pay a typesetter extra just to print this book for him because it had pages where the type bled onto images and some pages were printed with upside-down text.

I
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Eric Phetteplace
Great book, full of interesting observations, aphorisms, and quotes. Short and to the point, McLuhan gives an overview of his theory of media, including the difference between television and print, aural and visual, linear and non-linear. I thoroughly enjoyed the book even if McLuhan overstates his case and generalizes in several places; it's unreasonable to expect rigor from a short volume meant to be more emphatic than analytical. The only down side was that many of the pictures in my version ...more
Steven Peterson
In his day, Marshall McLuhan became a very significant figure in the study of media. While I found his work intriguing, I also did not think it work that would reshape how we studied media. This book begins with the following statement by McLuhan (Page 8): "Societies have always been shaped more by the nature of the media by which men communicate than by the content of the communication." At another point, he observes that (Page 26) "All media work us over completely."

A good brief treatment of M
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Mikko Tamminen
Niin päräyttävä <3
Julio Mejía III
A Marshall McLuhan se le conoce sobre todo por una frase, cuya sentido a veces no se explora a profundidad: El medio es el mensaje. Este libro, cuyo título es una variación (un juego de palabras, más bien) sobre esta sentencia, explica efectivamente la influencia en que el medio comunicativo de nuestro tiempo (o de cualquier tiempo) influye mucho más en la dinámica social que los contenidos de cualquier mensaje. Este libro, escrito en 1967, es una reacción inteligente y divertida al fenómeno com ...more
Ali Reda
Societies have always been shaped more by the nature of the media by which men communicate than by the content of the communication. It is impossible to understand social and cultural changes without a knowledge of the workings of media. The alphabet, for instance, is a technology that is absorbed by the very young child in a completely unconscious manner, by osmosis so to speak. Words and the meaning of words predispose the child to think and act automatically in certain ways.

Until writing was
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David
A fascinating book, though I think I should have read McLuhan's seminal "Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man" first since this book not only builds off those ideas (from what I understand -- I still haven't read it) but also is very abstract and artistic. However McLuhan clearly has some brilliant ideas and "The Medium is the Massage" is a pretty cool book. Be prepared to think.
Christina
There is a lot I want to unpack and reflect on (both in agreement and to refute), but given that my read through of this book was with an eye for literary enjoyment and not critical analysis, I'll hold my piece until I get a more academically-minded re-read in at some point in the, possibly distant, future.

That said, this is a book that's been in my to-read shelf for literally years ever since I read Douglas Coupland's biography of McLuhan (Marshall McLuhan: You Know Nothing of My Work!) and I'm
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Dan
I hated it, hated it, hated it. I don't like this man or his views. I feel that his logic is the same as Ford's as quoted and used by Huxley in "Brave New World", "History is bunk." Or I just misinterpreted it. Either way, I found it increasingly nihilistic. He praised commercials. Everything now-a-days isn't auditory, we should get rid of it all, since it is visual. Bullshit. All of it. It's like McLuhan completely disregarded the fact that maybe we should get rid of technology, if it meant get ...more
Travis
Required reading for anyone interested in information design, rhetoric, and social networking. As unintuitive as it might seem, the move toward ubiquitous electronic social networking is a move backward to an oral culture: time has ceased, space has vanished. Everyone is connected, and events are experienced without delay. We are back in acoustic space.
Josh
McLuhan is...well, unusual. What do I mean by that? Well, this is the only book I own in which I needed to use a mirror to read one page (and the following page needed to be read upside-down). Not you average paperback.

But well worth your time - this is much easier, but contains many of the same insights, as "The Gutenberg Galaxy."
Ieva
The message of this book was first thaught to me by an amazing philosophy proffesor that came to my school. Only when I googled which book she was refering the whole time, I realized I have herad of this before. This is a book about how the media changes people, and it is quite a nice piece of graphic design that helps you to grasp the meaning, and proves to you that not all nonfiction papers must be very structured. In fact, this book protests against the structure. Fu*k the system right?
Mediu
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Sabin Serban
Short, to the point and, above all, prophetic.
For a book with 160 pages and only a half with actual text in them, the ideas it conveys are complex, and ominously in tune with the modern world, the gaps allowing the reader to add his or her own examples to the mix.
The authors have managed to distil the message even further, to the last paragraph, making the rest of the book an illustration of that one point, that the environment is one of the factors which nurture and influence the (once though
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Ruth
I remember reading this eons ago when it first came out. Damned if I knew what he was going on about. Wonder if it would make any more sense today than it did then.
Whitney
another Must Read. uncannily predictive (of the internet) in its descriptions of the way modern media works! very important insights.
Lee McGeorge
McLuhan was 50 years ahead of the curve. From Facebook to loss of privacy, he described how mass media would shape our present reality from 1965.
The book itself is a collage of pictures and textual fragments designed to force the reader/viewer to adapt to a new style on every page. For those who already understand the central ideas behind "the medium is the message" your mind will be dazzled to see those ideas demonstrated in a book format.
For those who don't know the central idea this book will
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  • Marshall McLuhan: You Know Nothing of My Work!
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  • Convergence Culture: Where Old and New Media Collide
  • Simulacra and Simulation
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  • Design Writing Research
  • The Disappearance of Childhood
  • Steps to an Ecology of Mind: Collected Essays in Anthropology, Psychiatry, Evolution, and Epistemology
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Herbert Marshall McLuhan CC (July 21, 1911 - December 31, 1980) was a Canadian educator, philosopher, and scholar — a professor of English literature, a literary critic, and a communications theorist. McLuhan's work is viewed as one of the cornerstones of the study of media theory. McLuhan is known for coining the expressions "the medium is the message" and the "global village".

More about Marshall McLuhan...
Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man The Gutenberg Galaxy: The Making of Typographic Man War and Peace in the Global Village The Mechanical Bride: Folklore of Industrial Man The Global Village: Transformations in World Life and Media in the 21st Century

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“There is absolutely no inevitability as long as there is a willingness to contemplate what is happening.” 19 likes
“All
media
are
extensions
of
some
human
faculty-
psychic
or
physical.”
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