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5. Analyzing the Discussion — It’s presumptuous to expect we’ll find a single unchallenged truth to any of our questions. Our answer is the conflict of opposing answers. The value is the discussion you have with these authors. You can now have an informed opinion.
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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 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...
This is the level of reading taught in our elementary schools. If you’re reading this website, you already know how to do this.
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.
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
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?
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.”
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...
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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When you have more questions than answers, ask yourself:
Doing a literature survey is a bit different than reading a single paper.
Maybe you’ve heard that kids are teasing your child or your student at school. You can ask a few questions to see whether it’s good-natured or harmful:
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