When I was studying at the University of Toronto in the seventies, I remember hearing that one of the professors, Marshall McLuhan, believed you should read every other page of a book. Clearly, he was a busy guy, but he also realized that you could get the gist of the thing that way.
Looking back, it seems such a perfect example of the way this legendary media theorist and wildly creative thinker saw the world and shared his ideas with others (yes, you could read his books that way, too). There was so much of him and his ideas to take in. I didn't know then, for instance, that he saw artists as a "DEW line", or distant early-warning system. That we can be the harbingers of change.
Even if we don't know the whole story, we've all heard one of his famous lines. So much so that they've become part of the vernacular. The hit AMC series Mad Men takes inspiration from the master, too. Listen carefully for perhaps the best-known example in this scene.
This is the 100th anniversary of McLuhan's birth, and there's been a year-long global celebration of the man -- and his messages. All of this merry-making culminates in a conference and concert in Toronto November 7 - 10th. More than 100 thinkers from around the world are gathering to share their thoughts with one another -- and us. And the closing concert brings McLuhan's DEW notion to life. It's the North American launch of the Cape Farewell Foundation, which works with artists to highlight climate change (Cape Farewell recently took Feist and some scientists to the Arctic). The musical guests for this performance? Patrick Watson & The Wooden Arms and Amy Millan.
Yes, tickets are still available for the conference and concert. And if all of this leaves you feeling a little breathless, just drop into every second event. But go!
Julia Moulden is a speaker, columnist, and author of "RIPE: Rich, Rewarding Work After 50", a 12-week course on discovering passion, purpose and possibility at midlife. Check out the video (a.k.a. book trailer!):
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