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The Medium is the Massage Paperback – August 1, 2001

ISBN-13: 978-1584230700 ISBN-10: 1584230703 Edition: 9th

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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: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (62 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #7,903 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com 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.

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Customer Reviews

Seriously, the book only takes a little while to read but its definitely worth your time!
Duke
The texts cover a good deal of shared ground and Postman is excellent and providing examples and explanations of some of McLuhan's cryptic (yet engaging) concepts.
Kat?
It's very thought provoking in regards to today's digital world, and I can imagine in the 60s it was even more enlightening.
J. Okun

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

56 of 61 people found the following review helpful By Mark B. Cohen on June 19, 2006
Format: Paperback
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 By Mark Valentine on September 8, 2000
Format: Paperback
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 By CyberChimp on March 15, 2005
Format: Paperback
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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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 18, 1999
Format: Paperback
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 By A Customer on October 20, 1996
Format: Paperback
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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