Book Reviews From 2016

5 Quotes From “How To Read A Book”

how-to-read-a-bookIf you want to get more out of your book reading time, I’d highly recommend How To Read A Book to you. Check out my review here, and then check out some of the quotes I especially appreciated.

“We do not have to know everything about something in order to understand it; too many facts are often as much of an obstacle to understanding as to few. There is a sense in which we moderns are inundated with facts to the detriment of our understanding.”

“Good books are over your head; they would not be good for you if they were not. And the books that are over your head weary you unless you can reach up to them and pull yourself up to their level. It is not the stretching that tires you, but the frustration of stretching unsuccessfully because you lack the skill to stretch effectively. To keep on reading actively, you must have not only the will to do so, but also the skill—the art that enables you to elevate yourself by mastering what at first sight seems to be beyond you.”

“Perhaps you were beginning to see how essential a part of reading it is to be perplexed and know it. 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.”

“Many persons believe that they know how to read because they read at different speeds. But they pause and go slow over the wrong sentences. They pause over the sentences that interest them rather than the ones that puzzle them. Indeed, this is one of the greatest obstacles to reading a book that is not completely contemporary.”

“‘State in your own words!’ That suggests the best test we know for telling whether you have understood the proposition or propositions in the sentence. If, when you are asked to explain what the author means by a particular sentence, all you can do is repeat his very words, with some minor alterations in their order, you had better suspect that you do not know what he means. Ideally, you should be able to say the same thing in totally different words. The idea can, of course, be approximated in varying degrees. But if you cannot get away at all from the author’s words, it shows that only words have passed from him to you, not thought or knowledge. You know his words, not his mind. He was trying to communicate knowledge, and all you received was words.”

How To Read A Book (book review)

how-to-read-a-bookIt’s amazing with all the books I’ve read that I’ve never before read How To Read A Book by Mortimer J. Adler and Charles Van Doren.

This book was originally published in 1940, but there is a reason it has stood the test of time. You may have been reading before, but this book will show you how to really read a book for all it’s worth. The opening paragraph states it well: “This is a book for readers and for those who wish to become readers. Particularly, it is for readers of books. Even more particularly, it is for those whose main purpose in reading books is to gain increased understanding.”

If you read simply to be entertained or to escape reality, don’t waste your time on this book. However, if you read to learn new things, expand your worldview, or increase your understanding, then the science and insight packed into How To Read A Book will revolutionize your approach to reading.

This is a challenging read, and a couple of times I almost gave up on getting through all of the information. But I’m glad I persevered!

If you’re ready to read better than before, please spend some time with this classic.

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