McLuhan references the following people as having a good understanding of media.
- Carothers, J. C. is a psychiatrist who wrote about the traumatic effects of detribalization in The African Mind in Health and Disease.
- De Tocqueville wrote about how print affected France, England, and the United States differently.
- Marx understood the effects of technology on society, but he analyzed it in terms of machines just as the telegraph was changing the dynamic from mechanical to electric.
- Mumford, Lewis wrote in The City in History that not only are clothing and housing extensions of our skins, but walled cities are as well.
Artists tend to have a much easier time understanding media, because they are particularly aware of changes in sense perception. Therefore, it is not surprising to find many many insights into media in fiction writers.
- Blake wrote in Jerusalem about amputation of faculties into extensions.
- Forster, E.M. wrote A Passage to India focused on the incompatibility of "oral and intuitive oriental culture" and "rational, visual European patterns of experience." 
- Joyce, James wrote Finnegan's Wake in reference to mankind's re-entry into a tribal state, but with a greater awareness of the process.
- Lewis, Wyndham wrote a group of novels, The Human Age, which address how electric media intermingle nonliterate, semiliterate, and postliterate culture.
- Shakespeare referenced the effects of media in many of his plays.
- Synge, J. M. wrote Playboy of the Western World, a play about how media bear some of the responsibility for violent crime because of the role they play in psychological formation.
- Napoleon understood the effects of gunpowder, the telegraph, and newspapers on war.
- Pope Pius XII commented on the importance of the role of "techniques of communication" on "the future of modern society and the stability of its inner life."
- Coolidge was cool in the media sense, whereas FDR was hot.
- The Greek myth of Narcissus communicates the idea of numbness to extensions of man.
- Psalm 115 refers to the effects of media on the people who use them.