Marshall McLuhan observed the medium is the message. Postman's argument is along similar lines as suggested in the subtitle of this book, "the surrender of culture to technology." He begins with a legend and goes into a question about how we learn in our culture. The introductory section is followed in the next chapter by a look at the tools that paved the way for industrialization and later the information age. In the third chapter, Postman makes a poignant observation, in discussing the assumptions made by Frederick W. Taylor in his classic book on scientific management i.e., "human judgment cannot be trusted, because it is plagued by laxity, ambiguity, and unneccesary complexity; that subjectivity is an obstacle to clear thinking..." (p. 51).
His lucid examination of ideas, inventions, and public adaption continues. In the fourth chapter the quote that stood out most for me was one from H. L. Mencken who said "there is no idea so stupid that you can't find a professor who will believe it" (p. 57). I've been in academe long enough to verify that that observation remains the same now as when it was first written.
Anyone who has ever been the victim of the fill-in-the-blank mentality of bureaucratic thinking can appreciate Postman's comment that "the invention of the standaradized form--a staple of bureaucracy--allows for the 'destruction' of every nuance and detail of a situation" (p. 84). To make his point even stronger, he goes on to define a bureaucrat as "little else than a glorified counter" (p. 86).
Postman never fails to leave his readers with a perspective they didn't have before picking up one of his books. Read this one and learn a little more about how technology is shaping your perceptions often without your awareness.