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How to Read a Book: The Classic Guide to…

How to Read a Book: The Classic Guide to Intelligent Reading (original 1940; edition 1996)

by Mortimer J. Adler, Charles Van Doren

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4,049431,257 (3.99)64
Title:How to Read a Book: The Classic Guide to Intelligent Reading
Authors:Mortimer J. Adler
Other authors:Charles Van Doren
Info:Simon & Schuster (1996), Paperback, 426 pages
Collections:Your library

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How to Read a Book by Mortimer J. Adler (1940)

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» See also 64 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 43 (next | show all)
If you want to understand the bible or any book for that matter better then get this book and read it ( )
  Theodore.Gebretsadik | Feb 8, 2015 |
I was disappointed in this book, it seemed to have promise. It approached reading in a dictatorial style, there are things you must do or you don’t have a right to judge the book. It feels pedagogic and somewhat demeaning, like a teacher instructing young kids. There is no discussion of alternative opinions or ideas, very little argument even in support of its positions.

Most of the book is just common sense. It is slow, the writing is tedious. I won’t say its advice is bad, but if you’ve read much, you already know it.

Will you enjoy it? Many comments are quite favorable, people seem to like it or hate it. I think if you’ve read much, you probably won’t get anything from the book. If you don’t read, why would you be interested? ( )
  Nodosaurus | Jan 7, 2015 |
The information was good, but it was obvious that it was written in a time when people were more patient in the way information was presented. It was really dry and I couldn't stay focused on what I was reading. ( )
  Mirandalg14 | Aug 18, 2014 |
I first read this book in the late 1970s. I count it among the Top Ten Most Influential Books of my reading life. Perhaps the most valuable lesson I learned was when to *stop* reading a book because it does not have much worth to say, or to be able to know when just to scan a book for the kernel of what the author has to say, and pass over the fluff and froth. ( )
  KirkLowery | Mar 4, 2014 |
I knew my education didn't stop after college, but that I was responsible for it. However, I felt I needed to do some preparatory work before embarking on a serious reading program of both fiction and expository works. The subtitle sums it up: "intelligent reading". The meat of the book focuses on a specific type of reading, along with suggestions for approaching different types of books. The former is described in detail while the latter consists mostly of general guidelines and "gotchas". The information is well-organized and logically presented, although the examples, digressions and arguments can get long in the tooth which can make for a bit of a slog. Susan Wise Bauer's "The Well-Educated Mind" might be considered a slightly more structured program with a greater emphasis on writing, but that isn't an indictment of Adler and Van Doren, and neither is Bauer's skew towards more modern works in her recommended list as opposed to the one presented here in the appendix. As Adler and Van Doren state, the point is that "you should seek out the few books that can have this value for you." Any list of "great" works should be considered suggestive (although there are some that you see repeatedly). What is the best way to wrestle with a book? Adler and Van Doren have their prescription, and they have presented their case well. It rewards the persistent reader with valuable tools to "weigh and consider" those works that have been, and will continue to be, a part of the Great Conversation. ( )
  landgazr | Jan 3, 2014 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Adler, Mortimer J.primary authorall editionsconfirmed
Van Doren, Charlesmain authorall editionsconfirmed
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How to Read a Book was originally published in the early months of 1940. - Preface
This is a book for readers and for those who wish to become readers.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0671212095, Paperback)

How to Read a Book, originally published in 1940, has become a rare phenomenon, a living classic. It is the best and most successful guide to reading comprehension for the general reader. And now it has been completely rewritten and updated.

You are told about the various levels of reading and how to achieve them -- from elementary reading, through systematic skimming and inspectional reading, to speed reading, you learn how to pigeonhole a book, X-ray it, extract the author's message, criticize. You are taught the different reading techniques for reading practical books, imaginative literature, plays, poetry, history, science and mathematics, philosophy and social science.

Finally, the authors offer a recommended reading list and supply reading tests whereby you can measure your own progress in reading skills, comprehension and speed.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:40:17 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

Discusses the various levels of reading and how to achieve them, the different reading techniques for reading practical books, imaginative literature, plays, poetry, history, science, mathematics, philosophic and social science, and finally, a recommended reading list and reading tests whereby you can measure your own progress in reading skills, comprehension and speed.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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