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The Medium is the Massage [Paperback]

by Marshall McLuhan, Quentin Fiore, Shepard Fairey
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (55 customer reviews)

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Book Description

August 1, 2001 1584230703 978-1584230700 9th
30 years after its publication Marshall McLuhan's The Medium is the Massage remains his most entertaining, provocative, and piquant book. With every technological and social "advance" McLuhan's proclamation that "the media work us over completely" becomes more evident and plain. In his words, 'so pervasive are they in their personal, political, economic, aesthetic, psychological, moral, ethical and social consequences that they leave no part of us untouched, unaffected, or unaltered'.

McLuhan's remarkable observation that "societies have always been shaped more by the nature of the media by which men communicate than by the content of the communication" is undoubtedly more relevant today than ever before. With the rise of the internet and the explosion of the digital revolution there has never been a better time to revisit Marshall McLuhan.

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Editorial Reviews Review

The Medium is the Massage is Marshall McLuhan's most condensed, and perhaps most effective, presentation of his ideas. Using a layout style that was later copied by Wired, McLuhan and coauthor/designer Quentin Fiore combine word and image to illustrate and enact the ideas that were first put forward in the dense and poorly organized Understanding Media. McLuhan's ideas about the nature of media, the increasing speed of communication, and the technological basis for our understanding of who we are come to life in this slender volume. Although originally printed in 1967, the art and style in The Medium is the Massage seem as fresh today as in the summer of love, and the ideas are even more resonant now that computer interfaces are becoming gateways to the global village. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

From Library Journal

From the "I can't believe this went out of print" file come two of McLuhan's signature titles. Though a lot of this may seem like freaky rantings from the Sixties (LJ 6/1/67 and LJ 11/1/68, respectively), many of McLuhan's observations on technology, violence, etc., still ring true.
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Gingko Press; 9th edition (August 1, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1584230703
  • ISBN-13: 978-1584230700
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 4.2 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (55 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #17,111 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
55 of 60 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wisdom from the Prophet of the Internet June 19, 2006
Marshall McLuhan (1911-1980) never conceived of the Internet. But the great communications theorist understood where communications was going, and the revolutionary effects of its direction.

This book takes his sometimes impenetrable prose and places it in a context of compelling photographs, advertisements, and cartoons in order to dramatically illustrate the meaning of his words, and the radical effect that changes in communications technology have on the lives of all the world's citizens. "It is impossible to understand social and cultural changes without a knowledge of the workings of the media," he writes.

The Medium is the Massage begins and ends with quotes from Albert North Whitehead. The first is that "The major advances in civilization are processes that all but wreck the societies in which they occur." The last is that "It is the business of the future to be dangerous."

There always are jeremiads against the new by those who are accustomed to the old. McLuhan quotes Socrates: "The discovery of the alphabet will create forgetfulness in the learners' souls, because they will not use their memories; they will trust to the external written characters and not remember of themselves...You give your disciples not truth but only the semblance of truth; they will be heroes of many things, and will have learned nothing; they will appear to be omniscient and will generally know nothing."

The effects of the media on individuals are profound. "All media work us over completely. They are so pervasive in their personal, political, economic, aesthetic, pyschological, moral, ethical, and social consequences that they leave no part of us untouched, unaffected, unaltered. The medium is the massage.
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28 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I Get Goosebumps... September 8, 2000
I get goosebumps just thinking about reviewing this book wherein McLuhan coins the term "the global village." On the internet, 33 years after this book was published, McLuhan had the insight and perspicacity to see just how electronics will be changing us. He's more of an electronical anthropologist here.
The flash of the book has worn off some by now and the graphics, the photos and creative layout of the pages seems to be more of a period piece. Still, because this brief book portrays so many key concepts that currently fill us now. We do not notice the power of the media until we are someplace that does not have it. Like a fish out of the water, we take for granted the influence of the technology around us; we assume that they have been with us forever and we never slow down to challenge these concepts. So, thank God for McLuhan's book.
I've recommended this book to my students and it's fun to see how they read it (because it's so short) and open up to some of the concepts about the media's power. It's as if they had known it all along, but needed McLuhan's book to come along and draw it out of them.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Best Place to Start March 15, 2005
First published in 1967, the pithy aphorisms and ideas of 'The Medium is the Massage' have been drawn from McLuhan's many other books and articles. Superbly designed by Quentin Fiore, the typography, layout and accompanying images wittily illustrate the content, making this McLuhan's most accessible text: it is by far the best place to start if you are interested in investigating McLuhan's weird, wonderful approach to the impact and importance of the media and technology. A year after its publication an audio version was released which combines selections from the text, read by McLuhan, Fiore and Jerome Agel, with an eclectic mix of musical samples and accompaniment. (This album is today available on CD.)
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A profitable book! August 18, 1999
By A Customer
I have won innumerable wagers, thanks to McLuhan. Every social function has at least one know-it-all, and as soon as I encounter him/her I manage to work in McLuhan and The Medium Is The Massage. "Message", I am corrected. "No, 'Massage'" I retort. A wager ensues, and I get my copy from the trunk of my car and pocket the winnings. And I get the pleasure of humiliating a stuffed shirt in front of lots of people.
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18 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars -The- seminal work about life as we know it October 20, 1996
By A Customer
Marshall McLuhan is one of the most important thinkers of
our century. Understanding his ideas and his perspective
is -essential- for understanding what has happened to
mankind in the last twenty thousand years, especially
in this century, as our technology modifies us at an
accelerated pace. That's what this book, _The Medium is
the Massage_, is all about. I always recommend this book
to anyone involved with technology, communications, or the
future. Although he originally wrote his ideas in standard
prose (he was an English professor), hardly anyone read his
books -- let's face it, most of us won't wade through
non-sensational nonfiction. So he produced this book to
exploit the printed page in its hottest form, making his
ideas as tasty and easy to swallow as a hot fudge sundae.
This book is thus a living example of his thesis! Though
the number of ideas per page is much smaller than in his
standard works (much much smaller), it packs a powerful
punch by delivering the key ideas connected to descriptive
graphics (one picture is worth...).

This book is to anyone involved in technology and the future
what the Bible is to Christians or the Koran is to Moslems.
Don't just get this book and read it -- consume it. The
future of our civilization may depend on it.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars brilliant, still
maybe more brilliant now than then, since we were all so young when we read it.
Beautiful edition! Read more
Published 12 days ago by Soren Kerk
5.0 out of 5 stars Good, but NOT a typical book
Just a heads up that this book is more like a collage than a typical book, the pages are mainly images with a small bit of text. Read more
Published 1 month ago by JimmyD
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting Read
Was recommended by a numerous amount of professor in the design major am in. Also was a mandatory read as well, the book is a very interesting read on the impact media has created... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Andrew Quintero
5.0 out of 5 stars Important Perspective from the Beginning of the Digital Age
Marshall McLuhan saw things in the 1960s that most other media critics did not see for another generation. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Ed Brenegar
5.0 out of 5 stars Accessible Work with a Great Message!
This is by far and away one of the most interesting books that I have ever read. The book itself is quite short and can be "read" in an hour. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Duke
3.0 out of 5 stars Eh
The moment i opened the cover the spine separated from the pages. Wasn't the best thing that could happen. The rest of the book was good although the spine does bother me
Published 4 months ago by Amanda
1.0 out of 5 stars Binding was broken
The Binding was broken when i opened the book. I was to desperate for the book to send it back but i was NOT happy that it was sent out in the condition it was in.
Published 6 months ago by Chris
5.0 out of 5 stars Popular Communicator
Marshall McLuhan was a very popular communications expert who understood the power of the media long before those in control appreciated its impact on society.
Published 6 months ago by D. Beach
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Read
This book really opened my eyes to the medium through which information is portrayed. The images in this book are compelling and left me with a lot to think about.
Published 7 months ago by Katie Peksa
3.0 out of 5 stars good book, outdated info, poor quality item
The book has a good epystemological approach for its time - the sixties. McLuhan foresaw a lot of what was about to come and what he contributed is still valid today. Read more
Published 8 months ago by Radu Costin Negoita
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