How to Read a Book

Book Review of
How to Read a Book

Author: Mortimer J. Adler and Charles Van Doren
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Publisher Summary:

Originally published in 1940, this book is a rare phenomenon, a living classic that introduces and elucidates the various levels of reading and how to achieve them—from elementary reading, through systematic skimming and inspectional reading, to speed reading. Readers will learn when and how to “judge a book by its cover,” and also how to X-ray it, read critically, and extract the author’s message from the text.

Also included is instruction in the different techniques that work best for reading particular genres, such as practical books, imaginative literature, plays, poetry, history, science and mathematics, philosophy and social science works.

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

Grace's Review

How to Read a Book

I picked up How to Read a Book on a friend’s recommendation, and I am glad I did. I enjoyed the first half of the book a lot. It is a classic book about reading first published in the 1940’s.

There was a lot of basic helpful information at the beginning about the history of teaching reading and how to be a better reader. After the first few chapters though, it began to get more and more technical. I did not mind that much, but I do not think I will really use a lot of that information for everyday reading.

I think some of the information helped me with some school reading. I have to be a more technical reader for school, especially as I am analyzing literature for college, but not for everyday reading. I prefer to relax and read, and this book teaches people to read more as just a way to learn.

If you are wanting to become a better reader, especially when it comes to educational reading, than I recommend you read at least part of this book and maybe skim the parts that you may not use. Overall it is a good book for learning to become a better reader.

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