What worked for Marshall McLuhan

In Media and Communication by Paddy Scannell, Marshall McLuhan’s unique approach to reading is described:

McLuhan was an avid but hasty reader. In the 1950s, he read, on average, five books a day and his method of dealing with them was to start at page 69 and scan it and the table of contents. If they contained useful information or ideas, then it was probably worth reading. He would then go through, reading only the right-hand pages because all books were too long and repetitious. He copied down relevant quotations onto index cards and filed them away. (p. 131)

I’ve never heard of such an eccentric reading style; it’s certainly an interesting way to deal with an overabundance of information. I love McLuhan’s technique of keeping index cards of interesting stuff he read — the original Hipster PDA, or Evernote or Notational Velocity before computers.

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