How to Read a Book: The Ultimate Guide by Mortimer Adler - Deepstash

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How to Read a Book: The Ultimate Guide by Mortimer Adler

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There is a difference between reading for understanding and reading for information.

A lot of people confuse knowing the name of something  with understanding. While great for exercising your memory, the regurgitation ...

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Mortimer Adler literally wrote the book on reading . Adler identifies four lev...

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This is the level of reading taught in our elementary schools. If you’re reading this website, you already know how to do this.

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We’ve been taught that skimming and superficial reading are bad for understanding. That is not necessarily the case. Using these tools effectively can increase understanding.

  • Systematic skimming — This is meant to be a quick check of the book by (1) reading the prefac...

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At this point, you start to engage your mind and dig into the work required to understand what’s being said. I highly recommend you use marginalia to converse with the author .

Francis Bacon once remarked, “some books are to be tasted, other...

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  • Classify the book according to kind and subject matter.
  • State what the whole book is about with the utmost brevity.
  • Enumerate its major parts in their order and relation, and outline these parts as you have outlined the whole.
  • Define the problem or problems the author...

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This is also known as comparative reading, and it represents the most demanding and difficult reading of all. Syntopical Reading involves reading many books on the same subject and comparing and contrasting ideas, vocabulary, and arguments.

This task is undertaken by identifying relevant pa...

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There are five steps to syntopical reading:

  • Finding the Relevant Passages
  • Bringing the Author to Terms
  • Getting the Questions Clear
  • Defining the Issues — Understanding multiple perspectives wi...

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Reading is all about asking the right questions in the right order and seeking answers.

  • What is this book about?
  • What is being said in detail, and how?
  • Is this book true in whole or in part?
  • What of it?

If all of this sounds like hard work, you’re ri...

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