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
Modern thought and people generally in our time have totally ignored the other meaning of happiness as the moral quality of a whole life well lived.
— Mortimer Adler, from Ten Philosophical Mistakes, p. xviii
In my view, the fundamentals of logic should be as transcultural as the mathematics with which the principles of logic are associated. The principles of logic are neither Western nor Eastern, but universal.
— Mortimer Adler, from Truth in Religion, p. 36
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
Thus we can roughly define what we mean by the art of reading as follows: the process whereby a mind, with nothing to operate on but the symbols of the readable matter, and with no help from outside, elevates itself by the power of its own operations. The mind passes from understanding less to understanding more. The skilled operations that cause this to happen are the various acts that constitute the art of reading.
— Mortimer Adler, from How to Read a Book, p. 8
A good book can teach you about the world and about yourself. You learn more than how to read better; you also learn more about life. You become wiser. Not just more knowledgeable— books that provide nothing but information can produce that result. But wiser, in the sense that you are more deeply aware of the great and enduring truths of human life.
— Mortimer Adler, from How to Read a Book, p. 340
More consequences for thought and action follow from the affirmation or denial of God than from answering any other question.
— Mortimer Adler, quoted in Just Thinking, the triannual communique of Ravi Zacharias International Ministries, Summer 2004
If the existence of the cosmos as a whole needs to be explained, and if it cannot be explained by natural causes, then we must look to the existence and action of a supernatural cause for its explanation.
— Mortimer J. Adler
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