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A lot of people confuse knowing the name of something with understanding. While great for exercising your memory, the regurgitation of facts without solid understanding and context gains you little in the real world.
A useful heuristic: Anything easily digested is reading for information.
Consider the newspaper, are you truly learning anything new? Do you consider the writer your superior when it comes to knowledge of the subject? The odds are probably not. That means you’re reading for information. It means you’re likely to parrot an opinion that isn’t yours as if you had done the work.
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Reading is all about asking the right questions in the right order and seeking answers.
There are four main questions you need to ask of every book:
This is the level of reading taught in our elementary schools. If you’re reading this website, you already know how to do this.
Mortimer Adler literally wrote the book on reading. Adler identifies four levels of reading:
1. Elementary Reading
2. Inspectional Reading
3. Analytical Reading
4. Syntopical Reading
Francis Bacon once remarked, “some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested.”
You can think of analytical reading as doing that chewing and digesting. This is doing the work. Analytical reading is a thorough reading. If inspectional reading is t...
“Marking a book is literally an experience of your
differences or agreements with the author. It is the highest respect you can pay him.”
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. Inspectional reading allows us to look at the author’s blueprint and evaluate the merits of a deeper reading experience.
The goal of reading determines how you read. Reading the latest Danielle Steel novel is not the same as reading Plato. If you’re reading for entertainment or information, you’re going to read a lot differently (and likely different material) than reading to increase understanding. While many peop...
By the time you finish reading, you’ll have a framework for reading at different levels that you can apply right away.
How We Learn To Read
I bet you already know how to read a book. You were taught in elementary school.
But do you know how to read well?
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...
• Book summaries, mostly •
This book explains not just why we should read books, but how we should read them. It's masterfully done.
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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 ...
There is a difference between reading for understanding and reading for information. Anything easily digested is reading for information. The regurgitation of facts without solid understanding and context gains you little in the real world. Learning something insightful requires ...
Confirmation bias, means we’re more likely to notice stories or facts that fit what we already believe (or want to believe). So, when you search for information, you should not disregard the information that goes against whatever opinion you might have in advance.
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