Marshall McLuhan reading technique

From Douglas Copeland’s book on Marshall McLuhan:

Marshall … didn’t have the patience to work through a book that didn’t interest him from the start. He even developed a technique to suit his impatience: whenever he picked up a new book, he would turn to page 69, and if that page didn’t interest him, he wouldn’t read the book.

Marshall McLuhan: You Know Nothing of My Work!

Related post: Reading as inclination leads

6 thoughts on “Marshall McLuhan reading technique

  1. Actually, I do this in brick and mortar book stores. I thought that’s what everyone did!

    I have become increasingly reliant on this kind of appraisal as I have grown older. I have been surprised how much information one can intuit from a thin slice like a page or a screenshot, or a brief glimpse or meeting. I have also become more comfortable relying on my “gut instinct”.

  2. I’m in the middle of reading this book. It’s interesting. Many believe McLuhan was a fan of modernity because he described it so well. He was not, hence the title.

    I don’t like the author’s cheeky tone. It’s as if he wants the spotlight to be on himself rather than on McLuhan.

  3. “I’m in the middle of reading this book” in the sense of “I’m reading page 69”?

  4. I do the same but with:
    – the last sentences of any non-thriller book (so Asimov included),
    – the first sentences of thriller books.

  5. Sebastian: Actually, I was on page 80 at the time. :)

    I’ve finished the book now. I was shocked when I got to page 183. There Coupland says “Here’s where I, as biographer, leave the footnotes and enter the main body text …” As if he hadn’t been in the main body text all along!

    The book was too much Coupland and not enough McLuhan. I’ve never read such a self-centered biography. A biography should be about its subject, not its author.

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