Reading a Book…


  • Get a sense of the book in 5-10 minutes.
  • Read the jacket copy & contents, skim preface & introduction, read conclusion (last 3 pages) and skim the index. Note publisher and date of publication.
  • Quickly page through the entire book at the rate of 2-3 seconds per page.
  • Determine if you want to read the book more thoroughly, give it away, or file it for future reference.

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Wonder is the beginning of wisdom…

Wonder is the beginning of wisdom in learning from books as well as from nature. If you never ask yourself any questions about the meaning of a passage, you cannot expect the book to give you any insight you do not already possess.

Mortimer Adler, from How to Read a Book, p. 123

A commonsense roadmap for reading…

[Mortimer] Adler offers a commonsense roadmap to the various “levels” of reading in light of what the book deserves. For example, some books need only an inspectional reading. Some might call this skimming, but that gives the impression of it being less of an investment than it really is. It’s actually skimming systematically. Often there is a good deal that can be learned about a book on the surface, and many books do not require that you go much further. Continue reading

Reading to become a better reader…

If you are reading in order to become a better reader, you cannot read just any book or article. You will not improve as a reader if all you read are books that are well within your capacity. You must tackle books that are beyond you, or, as we have said, books that are over your head. Only books of that sort will make you stretch your mind. And unless you stretch, you will not learn… Continue reading

Practice moving your finger…

If you practice moving your finger under the text faster than your eyes are comfortable with, soon your eyes and mind will catch up.

Mortimer Adler, quoted in The Activity and Art of Reading by Kenneth Richard Samples at 101:48