How to be a Demanding Reader - Deepstash
How to be a Demanding Reader

How to be a Demanding Reader

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How to properly read a book

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Improve your reading by asking the right questions

Improve your reading by asking the right questions

Reading a book other than for entertainment is to ask the book questions.

There are four key questions you should ask about any book:

  1. What is the book about as a whole? Find the leading theme and how the author develops this theme by subdividing it into subordinate themes.
  2. What are the main ideas and arguments that constitute the author's message?
  3. Is the book true in part or whole? When you understand a book, you should make up your own mind. Knowing the author's mind is not enough.
  4. Why is this book significant? Why does the author think you should know these things?

99

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Mortimer J. Adler

Reading is like skiing. When done well, when done by an expert, both reading and skiing are graceful, harmonious activities. When done by a beginner, both are awkward, frustrating, and slow

MORTIMER J. ADLER

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How to make a book your own

How to make a book your own

Asking a book questions as you read is not enough. You should also attempt to answer the questions with a pencil in hand. When you buy a book, you establish a property right in it. When you write in it, you develop full ownership of it.

Why you should write in your book:

  • It keeps you awake to its content.
  • When reading is active, you are thinking, and thinking expresses itself in words, spoken or written.
  • Writing your reactions down helps you to remember.
  • Reading is a conversation between you and the author. Marking a book is expressing your differences or agreements.

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How to mark a book

How to mark a book

When you are willing to engage with the book by writing in it, you pay the author the highest respect.

  • Underline the important points.
  • Draw vertical lines at the margin when a passage is too long to underline.
  • Emphasise the most important statements with an asterisk.
  • Put numbers in the margin to show a sequence of points made in the natural development of an argument.
  • Put page numbers of other pages in the margin to show where else the author makes the same points.
  • Circle keywords or phrases.
  • Write your questions and answers in the margin or at the top or bottom of the pages.

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matclar

Diplomatic Services operational officer

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