MOBI ó DOC How to Read a Book

TEXT ↠ How to Read a Book Ï Mortimer J. Adler

E 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 speedThis a previously published edition of ISBN 97806712120 I heard about this book in a casual conversation and my interest was piued When I heard that the book instructs on analytical reading I knew I had to read itI have decided that I am not going to summarize the rules enunciated in this book Instead I would keep my review shortIn the first chapter the authors have mentioned that “ this book is about the art of reading for the sake of increased understanding” The authors have clearly stated that the book intends to help people understand expository works In simple terms the book is meant for people who read serious non fiction However the authors have included sections on how to read fiction plays and poetry as well The book discusses the following four levels of reading with major stress on the third type • Elementary• Inspectional• Analytical• SyntopicalThe last and most advanced level – syntopical reading was an added bonus In syntopical reading the reader goes through various books on the same subject and is able to construct an analysis of the subject which may not be in any of the books The book is good and no doubt helpful if you want to improve your reading skills There are many tips and rules which guide you to better reading There are separate sections on how to read practical books imaginative literature stories plays poetry history sciences mathematics philosophy and social science Instead of memorizing them as rule 1 rule 2 – I felt it was better to understand the gist of their adviceOne problem with the book is that the authors were too verbose Parts of the book were repetitive and some portions could have been pruned without affecting the uality of the book I do appreciate the efforts of the authors and understand that composing such a book is not an easy task They have done a praiseworthy job but I feel some editing would have made the book much compact The authors have included a reading list and said that these books would facilitate the growth of the mind The list includes books on the sciences literature politics and statecraft poetry theology etc Authors included range from ancient Greek masters to great minds of the modern world The authors have admitted that they include books from the Asian tradition because they themselves were not “particularly knowledgeable outside of the Western literary tradition” You might want to check out the reading comprehension exercises given at the end of the book It is fun

MOBI How to Read a Book

How to Read a BookHow 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 How do you read a book?Look at the cover probably glance at the blurb; run your eye down the table of contents perhaps; possibly rifle through the book then plunge right in into Chapter OneRight?Wrong According to Mortimer J Adler and Charles Van Doren the authors of How to Read a BookAccording to them this is only the first level of reading called “Elementary” reading and this is the only level the majority of readers in this world have reached They posit three levels “Inspectional” “Analytical” and “Syntopic” each one advanced than the previous The major portion of the book is devoted to analytic reading followed by brief exposition on the syntopic It is the aim of the authors to make each reader of this tome into an analytic reader at least if not a syntopic one it is my opinion that they only succeed partially but let’s go into that after analysing each of the levels as defined by the authorsElementary reading we have already seen In inspectional reading you first skim the book as a whole; give it a “once over” as it is The authors ever practical suggest six steps to do this – most of them self evident and what any serious reader usually does with an expository book this book is mostly about reading expository material and of limited value in reading literature and poetry but about that later The steps are1 Read the title and the preface2 Study the table of contents3 Check the index4 Read the blurb5 Look at the main chapters6 Skim the book reading it here and thereNext read the book through fast without getting stuck at the difficult places If the book deserves our serious attention we can come back to those difficult places in our next reading The advantage of this “rapid fire” approach is that we do not waste time on a book which deserves only a superficial reading In the authors’ own words “Every book should be read no slowly than it deserves and no uickly than you can read it with satisfaction and comprehension”Analytical ReadingThe next level analytical reading reuires the reader to be demanding the you demand the you can extract out of a book To do this one has to ask four uestions1 What is the book about as a whole?2 What is being said in detail and how?3 Is the book true in whole or part?4 What of it?How ask these four uestions is explained in detail in the remaining part of the bookAnalytical reading has three stages The first one is mainly concerned with classifying the book and understanding its aim and structure To do this the authors suggest four rules1 You must know what kind of book you are reading and you should know as early in the process as possible preferably before you begin to read2 State the unity of the whole book in a single sentence or at most a few sentences a short paragraph3 Set forth the major parts of the book and show how these are organised into a whole by being ordered to one another and to the unity of the whole4 Find out what the author’s problems wereThe first rule classifies “pigeonholes” the book by affixing it to a category genre etc the second is used to create a précis the third expands the précis into an outline thus revealing the underlying structure “X Raying” the book as the authors name it and the fourth defines the purpose of the book The author presumably wrote it for a reason he had some uestions at the beginning which he has presumably tried to answer through the book The reader has to find out what these uestions areIf the first stage of analytical reading is related to the what the second is related to the how ; how has the author attempted to solve the problem with which he started out For this stage also Adler and Van Doren proposes four rules1 Come to terms with the author by interpreting his key words2 Grasp the author’s leading propositions by dealing with his most important sentences 3 Know the author’s arguments by finding them in or constructing them out of seuences of sentences4 Determine which of his problems the author has solved and which he has not and as to the latter decide which the author knew he had failed to solveThe argument here that any author putting forth an argument will use certain key words and terms for example “natural selection” and “evolution” by Darwin in The Origin of Species It is the reader’s duty to come to terms with the author so that he does not misinterpret the author’s intentions by misreading the terms Then on it is an exercise in logic by understanding the propositions and arguments This is not as difficult as it looks in fact we do it all the time even though the exact logical terms may be unfamiliar to us A proposition is nothing but the meaning contained within a declarative sentence and arguments what the author uses to prove the truth of the propositionThe fourth step is a little difficult for the lay reader and it will only come through practice One needs to find out which of the problems presented the author had been able to solve and if he had been unable to solve some whether he knew he had failed or not At this point of time it is not important whether the reader agrees with the author That comes later Here we are talking about the author’s own internal logic and how far he has been able to present his arguments consistently in light of it and how far he has been in successfully concluding his argumentsIn the third stage of analytical reading the reader for the first time starts to apply his critical senses and begins to agree or disagree with the author Here according to the authors of the current book the reader has to follow certain etiuette captured in the following three rules1 Do not begin criticism until one has completed the outline first stage and interpretation second stage Then one can agree disagree or suspend judgement2 Do not disagree disputatiously or contentiously Or in plain words unless one can present factual evidence acceptable at least to oneself disagreement with an author based on emotional prejudice should be avoided easier said than done3 Demonstrate that one knows the difference between knowledge and mere personal opinion by presenting good reasons for any critical judgement one makesThe authors also provide special criteria for criticism 1 show where the author is uninformed 2 show where he is misinformed 3 show where his illogical and 4 show where his analysis is incompleteSyntopic ReadingThis is the fourth and most advanced level of reading according to Adler and Van Doren – though I’d perhaps disagree Here the reader is engaged in researching books about one basic idea For example if you want to read up on say evolution you must first understand what the significant books are on the subject then you must proceed to read them and summarise the arguments both pro and con preferably remaining objective throughout Phew Not a very easy taskDon’t worry the authors give step by step instructions for this level also First create a bibliography of the subject and inspect all of the books to ascertain which are the relevant ones then do the following1 Do inspectional reading of the selected book to choose the passages which are most relevant to the subject at hand; 2 Establish a neutral terminology which is applicable to all the authors so that all of them can be brought to the same terms;3 Establish a set of neutral propositions by framing a set of uestions which all the authors can be seen as answering;4 Range the answers on both sides of the issue The issue may not always explicitly exist and may have to be constructed by interpretation of the authors’ views for example in the case of evolutionary theory “Intelligent Design” is a form of creationism even though the trappings of evolutionary theory are used;5 Analyse the discussion by ordering the issues to throw maximum light on the subjectThe authors stress the need for dialectical objectivity throughout; that is the reader is only expected to arrange and present the arguments so as to present an ordered discussion without taking sides So the aim of syntopical reading is to “clear away the deadwood and prepare the way for an original thinker to make a breakthrough”Whoever has read through this review so far would be asking himherself “But that’s applicable to expository books where the main aim is the dissemination of information? What about fiction? What about poetry? What about drama?” Well the authors extend their methodology to all kinds of books but according to me it falls flat All said and done the methodology works only for expository works And that is its main problemThis book is not about literary theory or criticism nor is it about literature appreciation It is a self help book on the lines of those on time management attending interviews etc It outlines a methodology the diligent following of which will guarantee results according to its authors It well may for the major part of the book devoted to analytical reading gave me some insights on how to tackle books on difficult subjects like philosophy and political theory the two stars are for that But the book is extremely boring and the authors’ insistence on applying their favourite methodology to all sorts of books was stretching things a bit over it takes all the fun out of reading And syntopic reading may make sense to an undergraduate preparing a dissertation but is of little use to anybody elseIf anyone wants to read this book I would recommend an inspectional reading concentrating mainly on the methodology of analytical reading only The other parts are not worth the time spent on itI purchased a copy but the book seems to be available free on the net no idea about copyright issues so go ahead and try it if you want Statutory warning boredom ahead

Mortimer J. Adler Ï How to Read a Book DOC

MOBI ó DOC How to Read a Book ↠ [EPUB] ✻ How to Read a Book ✾ Mortimer J. Adler – 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 be How to read a Book originally 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 techniues for reading practical books imaginative literatur The person who says he knows what he thinks but cannot express it usually does not know what he thinks I had a lot of fun holding this book upside down on the subway with a puzzled look on my face For much of his remarkably long life Mortimer Adler was the leading proponent of the ‘Great Books’ paradigm of education Under his leadership the Encyclopedia Britannica published the 54 volume Great Books of the Western World 1952 as well as the Gateway to the Great Books 1963—which considering their bulk price and difficulty were surprisingly successful projects In addition to his editing and publishing work Adler wrote many popular books on philosophy and education Nowadays however he is primarily remembered for this how to book on reading Although I have been and continue to be somewhat critical of the ‘Great Book’s paradigm I have submitted myself wholeheartedly to it Ever since I encountered the list of the Great Books of the Western World I have been gradually making my way through them It was this list that prompted me to take my self education seriously; and through it I’ve had some of my most rewarding reading experiences Adler has thus already albeit indirectly exerted a huge influence on my reading life so it seemed appropriate that I pick up his book on reading and encounter his thoughts for myself Adler promises to aid the reader of any type of reading material; but as he later admits the strategies he suggests are most directly applicable to non fiction To this end he divides reading into four levels—elementary inspectional analytical and syntopical The vast majority of Adler's exposition is focused on the third level analytical reading These are the strategies that allow you to get the most out of any given book Adler’s favorite philosopher was Aristotle and it shows Just as Aristotle’s treatises on can often seem like organized common sense so Adler’s advice often sounds platitudinous How do you get the most out of a book? Outline the text be active ask uestions pay attention to the author’s terminology scrutinize their arguments be aware of the difference between opinion and fact All of this is reasonable and good advice; but it can be deflating to see that Adler’s strategies are already commonly known and widely used At the very least I cannot say there is anything strikingly original in here There is much to irritate in this book For one although it was substantially revised in 1972 Adler retains the masculine pronoun for general statements He even says “men” when he means “people” which can’t help but bother the contemporary ear More importantly Adler’s writing style is dry and wordy He gives lengthy verbose descriptions of simple concepts and tends to repeat himself One would think that this is due to his attempt to appeal to novice readers; but his formal tone dense paragraphs and schoolmasterly attitude will I suspect put off any but the bravest neophyte The most important shortcoming I think is the absence of the why? of reading at the expense of the how? This is curious considering that in his section on reading practical books Adler has this to sayYou can see why the practical author must always be something or an orator or propagandist Since your ultimate judgment of his work is going to turn on your acceptance of the goal for which he is proposing means it is up to him to win you to his ends To do this he has to argue in a way that appeals to your heart as well as your mind He may have to play on your emotions and gain direction of your willYet Adler includes almost no appeals to the heart There are so many injunctions reuirements and rules in this book that you can’t help concluding that reading is a bothersome chore This book would have been far effective I think if he had dwelt on the joys and rewards of reading This could have been done with a simple anecdote He could have drawn on his own experience as a reader or included a story from his classes A few short examples not only would have helped to encouraged any beginners but would probably have served to enliven the dry prose The particular is always memorable than the general Adler’s literary personality is also irksome His general attitude is condescending It’s easy to imagine him standing over you ruler in hand staring down his nose as you struggle with Aristotle There are some good books and a few great ones he thinks and the rest is basically trash If you really want to improve your reading you’re going to have to read really great books—which are of course the books in The Great Books of the Western World Coupled with this condescension is a kind of willfully old fashioned pretence This is signaled by his persistent use of the masculine pronoun his creaky and dry prose and also in his dismissal of much modern intellectual work as too specialized too technical or just wrong headed All these reservations aside I must admit that Adler basically succeeds in his goal which is to develop a methodology for getting as much as you can from non fiction books In my experience his advice is sound and solid What is I also must admit that every time I've read a book on Adler’s list I found it surpassingly excellent—even great But I have trouble imagining myself recommending this book to an inexperienced reader and still trouble imagining an inexperienced reader getting through it It is therefore most valuable as a reminder to experienced readers to take reading seriously to be methodical and to treat books with the respect they deserve