How To Read A Book by Mortimer Adler
- Title page and preface
- Table of Contents
- Check the index
- Read the publishers blurb
- Skim the main chapters
- Skim the entire book
- P. 38 You need to be able to read at different speeds. Not just faster than you currently do.
- P. 41 The assumption that we have the Declaration of Independence in house. 😂 It’s online. Why buy one?
Four questions to ask of a book:
- What is the book about as a whole?
- What is being said in detail, and how?
- Is the book true, in whole or part?
- What of it? Why?
- P. 50 Create a personal index at the back and write a summary outline at the beginning.
I. THE FIRST STAGE OF ANALYTICAL READING: RULES FOR FINDING WHAT A BOOK IS ABOUT
- 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 has tried to solve.
II. THE SECOND STAGE OF ANALYTICAL READING: RULES FOR INTERPRETING A BOOK’S CONTENTS
- Come to terms with the author by interpreting his key words.
- Grasp the author’s leading propositions by dealing with his most important sentences.
- Know the author’s arguments, by finding them in, or con— structing them out o,f sequences of sentences.
- Determine which of his problems the author has solved, and which he has not; and of the latter, decide which the author knew he had failed to solve.
III. THE THIRD STAGE OF ANALYTICAL READING: RULES FOR CRITICIZING A BOOK AS A COMMUNICATION OF KNOWLEDGE
A. General Maxims of Intellectual Etiquette
- Do not begin criticism until you have completed your outline and your interpretation of the book. (Do not say you agree, dis- agree, or suspend judgment, until you can say “I understand”)
- Do not disagree disputatiously or contentiously.
- Demonstrate that you recognize the dillerence between knowledge and mere personal opinion by presenting good reasons for any critical judgment you make.
B. Special Criteria for Points of Criticism
- Show wherein the author is uninformed.
- Show wherein the author is misinformed.
- Show wherein the author is illogical.
- Show wherein the author‘s analysis or account is incomplete.
Action: Reevaluate the Bookworm format and how we process a book in post.
- Imaginative literature: basically it’s saying to NOT get too wound up in the details.
- Reading poems: read it through first and then again out loud.