Marshall McLuhan’s Strange Reading Habit: “I Read Only the Right-Hand Page of Serious Books”

No doubt about it, Mar­shall McLuhan was a cryp­tic thinker and a bit of an odd duck. Ear­li­er this week, Col­in Mar­shall brought you an Intro­duc­tion to Mar­shall McLuhan, pre­sent­ed by Tom Wolfe (best known for The Elec­tric Kool-Aid Acid Test and ‎The Bon­fire of the Van­i­ties). In putting togeth­er that post, we stum­bled upon anoth­er gem of a video, a tes­ta­ment to McLuhan’s quirk­i­ness — and we mean that in the best pos­si­ble way. Above McLuhan, kick­ing back on a couch, reveals his “pecu­liar read­ing habit,” admit­ting: “If it’s a friv­o­lous, relax­ing book, I read every word. But seri­ous books I read on the right-hand side only because I’ve dis­cov­ered enor­mous redun­dan­cy in any well-writ­ten book, and I find that by read­ing only the right-hand page this keeps me very wide awake, fill­ing in the oth­er page out of my own noo­dle.” There’s a bit of hubris in that approach, but also a cer­tain amount of cre­ativ­i­ty too. Per­haps you’ll want to give it a try.

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Relat­ed Con­tent:

The Vision­ary Thought of Mar­shall McLuhan, Intro­duced and Demys­ti­fied by Tom Wolfe

Has Tech­nol­o­gy Changed Us?: BBC Ani­ma­tions Answer the Ques­tion with the Help of Mar­shall McLuhan

McLuhan Said “The Medi­um Is The Mes­sage”; Two Pieces Of Media Decode the Famous Phrase

Mar­shall McLuhan: The World is a Glob­al Vil­lage

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Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.