A tribute to and a lament for Marshall McLuhan continues. If he had lived Marshall would have been 100 on July 21, 2011. Join me in the countdown to his centennial, and an exploration of more of his observations on the way media work in the electric age in which we live.


You’ve got to suffer if you want to be a senior executive.

Marshall McLuhan (1964, age 52).  He only gets the noise!

“Electricity  … has made the harmonizing of production schedules as rigorous as that demanded of the members of a large symphony orchestra.  And the satisfactions are just as few for the big executives as for the symphonists, since a player in a big orchestra can hear nothing of the music that reaches the audience.  He gets only the noise.”

Me (June, 2011, age 58).  Do you have an ear for Management?

Only McLuhan with his preternatural sensitivity to noise could take the idea of a business executive being like a player in a symphony orchestra and turn it into a nightmare.   Despite what you thought the problem with being a senior executives isn’t that  you’re lonely at the top it’s that you can’t get a moment to yourself.  If you think about it that’s what Dr. Henry Mintzberg has been saying years about the Manager’s job, it’s chaos.

Cordially, Marshall and Me



Marshall McLuhan, Understanding Media, 1964, p. 355.

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Michael Hinton Thursday, June 9th, 2011
Permalink 1950s and 60s, Business, Education, Management No Comments