Thursday, March 25, 2010

The Real McGraw

The New York Times reports that Harold W. McGraw, long-time head of McGraw-Hill Publishing, had died at home in Connecticut on Wednesday. He was 92-year-old. From the NYT obituary:
Self-effacing, formal in bearing and courteous in an old-fashioned way, Mr. McGraw seemed an unlikely candidate to climb to the top of the corporate ladder. He was the eldest son of the only second-generation member of the family who had never run the company. The man he worked for in the book division, Edward E. Booher, thought little of his abilities. “It just never occurred to me that Harold would one day be my boss,” Mr. Booher told Fortune magazine.
McGraw’s son, Harold W. McGraw III, is now the chief executive of McGraw-Hill. The Times obituary tells the dramatic story of a life richly lived behind the scenes in publishing, and it’s here. Meanwhile, the McGraw-Hill Web site offers a lengthy obit of their late leader. It includes this passage that seems to speak directly to some of the current confusion over electronic books:
Mr. McGraw always believed that the quality and content of the message, rather than the mode of delivery, were most important. “Although the medium might change,” he said, “content always must be determined by the same standards -- it has to be accurate, objective, authoritative, comprehensive, current, and reliable.”



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