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How to Read a Book

3.99  ·  Rating Details  ·  8,469 Ratings  ·  940 Reviews
"The classic guide to intelligent reading"--Cover.
Hardcover, 426 pages
Published August 1st 1972 by Holiday House (first published 1940)
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Deepak It is certainly one of the greatest self help books ever written and the rules of reading as stated in this book will definitely help you to leverage…moreIt is certainly one of the greatest self help books ever written and the rules of reading as stated in this book will definitely help you to leverage your reading skills to describe better.(less)
Richard Kolivoski Yes. Bear with it for a while. All the advice will begin to come together and you will begin to read deeply.

If you read for entertainment, this book…more
Yes. Bear with it for a while. All the advice will begin to come together and you will begin to read deeply.

If you read for entertainment, this book will not help much. It is only powerful when you are tackling books that are content rich.(less)
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Nandakishore Varma
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 One.

Right?

Wrong! According to Mortimer J. Adler and Charles Van Doren, the authors of How to Read a Book.

According 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 more levels: “Inspe
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Paul
Jan 27, 2008 Paul rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: education
Probably one of the most important books you can read. I outlined the first three levels of reading a while back and I saved it. I'll post that for my "review."

How To Read A Book:


(This is an outline of part of Mortimer J. Adler and Charles Van Doren’s excellent book, "How To Read A Book." The outline takes one up to the third level of reading - analytical reading. There is a fourth level, syntopical reading, but most of the intended readers of this outline, and your every day reader, does not re
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Cecily
Feb 17, 2016 Cecily rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: overrated, lit-crit
Who This Book is (not) For

It focuses mainly on reading expositional, rather than imaginative material. It was written in 1940, and revised in 1972, though it looks and feels more like a 40s book.

I read it in the hope of becoming a more analytical reader who could go on to write more coherent, concise, and original reviews. It didn’t help.

This may once have been a good book. Had I read it as an undergraduate, I may even have found bits of it slightly useful. As a middle-aged fiction reader in th
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Dante
Mar 24, 2012 Dante rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Dante by: Doug Geivett
I'm reading this awesome book again. I'll be writing my notes for each chapter below (It will be like a "running account" of my summary of and thoughts about every chapter). So, be warned, this is going to be a very, very, very long review. I hope I'll be able to write a shorter version after I'm done with the book.

Overview

Basically, How to Read a Book is a practical book. It aims to help people become intelligent readers. To read intelligently means to read actively. To read actively means to r
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Deemah Al-Otaibi
كنت ابحث منذ فترة ليست وجيزة عن كتاب يعلمني كيف اقرأ .. لأني كنت ابحث عن اجوبه لأسئله صعبه , ومهمه جدا بالنسبه لي .. ماذا يجب ان اقرأ , ماذا اريد ان اقرأ .. و السؤال المهم كيف اختار كتـبي ؟

فأنا عندما أدخل مكتبه , لا اعرف ماذا اريد .. فأضيع بين الكتب , استمتع بالنظر اليها واتمنى لو كان عقلي يشبه الكمبيوتر فأخزن به كل هذة الكتب جميعا , فجميعها له شكل جذّاب ! و عديد من الكتب في المكتبه كتبوها كتّاب لهم شهرة واسعه و اسمائهم تلمع في عيني ! فتعميني و لا استطيع ان ارى جيدا مالذي اختارة ومالذي يجب ان اخ
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Sasha Martinez
It’s such a dinosaur. Cranky, snooty, stuffy, pedantic, often condescending. It’s a manual. For intelligent reading. Very textbook-y, very fundamental. Very practical. Like some invisible ruler cracked against my keyboard-clobbering knuckles, like a pesky voice in your head.

It’s like having tea with your cane-thumping retiree-professor of a great-grandfather. Him demanding why you aren’t wearing hose, and will you please stand up straight? You bide your time, you promised you’d keep him company.
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booklady
Read this with my two daughters when they were in seventh and eighth grades respectively. It not only teaches how to read different materials, but also gives a list of must-read books. Every serious reader needs to read this book! Both of my daughters say they still use things they learned from this book in their reading. (But they weren't terribly crazy about the book when we read it! Ha!)

Most important thing about the book--while there are many useful books you will read over the course of you
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مهند
Oct 23, 2012 مهند rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
كتاب قيم مؤلف منذ فترة طويلة من قبل خبير امريكي
حول طرق القراءة الحديثة
بالرغم من كوني قارئ قديم الا انني بين الفترة والاخرى اقرأ كتب من هذا النمط
وهو دليل على اننا جميعا مهما وصلنا من تقدم في مختلف المعارف فأن ذلك لا يشكل الا نقطة البداية
سبحان الله!!
كيف تقرأ كتابا وكلا منا قرأ الاف الكتب!! ذلك هو النقص في جملة بني البشر
وترى منا من يحمل في داخله جبروت لا يخشى به احدا وهو غير قادر على الصمود امام اقل الامراض فتكا!! ومع علمه بذلك فهو يخالف ويعاند تلك الحقائق الشاملة كجزء من المنظومة اللامرئية المتحكم
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Jeremiah
Mar 19, 2008 Jeremiah rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: education
In junior high & high school I made it my job to avoid reading altogether, just like politicians who avoid hard questions. When I was twenty I hadn't read a book since I was in fourth grade, was only partially literate, & was a high school drop out with no intentions of ever cracking another book or attending another school....then I became a Christian. Jesus not only transformed my desires, habits, and life's direction; he radically transformed two things: my desire to learn and my purs ...more
Natasha
Sep 04, 2008 Natasha rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: serious readers
Recommended to Natasha by: Oliver DeMille
Shelves: education
I read this book because I live by the mantra, "Life is Short---Read Fast" and I hoped it would teach me how to read faster. Instead it teaches you to read slower, analytically. It also teaches you how to "date" a book---to decide if you really want to spend the time to read the whole thing before commiting yourself to it. This book has a rather pedantic tone, which makes it a little dry to plow through. But I kept at it because there were philosophical gems interspersed throughout the pages. On ...more
Hesam
Jun 29, 2014 Hesam rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
کتاب حاوی نکات ذی قیمتی برای خواندن است .عمده ی کتاب به تشریح روشهای خواندن تحلیلی و تلفیقی می پردازد که با رویکردی انتقادی تحلیلی در صدد افزایش میزان فهم و درک در خواندن یک متن تشریحی است.
نویسنده ی کتاب مورتیمر جی ادلر است که جایی استاد ملکیان درباره ش گفته بود :
ایشان یک فیلسوف یهودی آمریکایی است که می گوید من در مدتی که سر ویراستار دائره المعارف بریتانیکا بودم دائره المعارفی با آن حجم که هر سه سال یکبار تجدید ویرایش میشود مجبور بودم که روزی 3هزار صفحه از این دایره المعارف را مطالعه کنم در طول
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Najibah Bakar
Buku ini secara keseluruhannya cuba mengajar kita menjadi pembaca yang lebih aktif, supaya berhasil mendapatkan lebih manfaat dari bahan bacaan. Manakala tujuan tertinggi dan terakhir dari kegiatan membaca adalah untuk meninggikan akal budi.

Kemas kini 1/4/2015 (bukan sempena GST): Borang untuk membina teknik membaca superfisial saya kongsikan di sini (https://docs.google.com/document/d/19...). Saya membina borang ini untuk kegunaan peribadi baru-baru ini, kerana apabila bermula ketika agak berus
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travelgirlut
Jul 09, 2016 travelgirlut rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: education
May 26, 2013: My kids laughed at me when they saw I was getting a book about how to read a book. I'm an avid reader so I honestly didn't think I would get much from reading this, but I have to be honest, I usually don't remember much about what I read once I'm finished. This book teaches you how to get the most from books that are actually worth reading.

Some important points I gleaned:
- Not all books are worth reading well. Some are only worthy of a cursory read-through.
- A good book should mov
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نرمين الشامي
كتاب ذو مادة علمية ممتازة لكن مع الاسف ترجمته غير جيدة
الكتاب يتناول كل شئ عن القراءة فيناقش مستويات القراءة وهي مستويات متراكمة وليست منفصلة وهي القراءة الابتدائية ثم التفحصية ثم التحليلية ثم القراءات المتازمنة التعددية حول موضوع واحدوكل مستوى له عدة خطوات لتحقيقه
واوضح الفرق بين العلم والفلسفة والكتب النظرية والتطبيقية وكيف يمكن قراءة التاريخ والسير الذاتية والرياضيات والعلوم والفلسفة وكيفية الحكم على الكتب بشكل موضوعي

في النهاية الكتاب يعلمك كيف تقرأ كتابا وتستفيد منه الى اقصى حد
كتاب ممتع ومفي
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Margitte
Jun 16, 2015 Margitte rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

I have been reading this book very slowly, on and off, the past two months, trying to have enough time to concentrate, focus, be analytical, critical and syntopical.

This pedagogical work is so comprehensive, it will take forever to summarize the content. In short, this book is a must-read for any serious reader of the GREAT BOOKS of all times.

It can be regarded as a manual for lecturers/teachers/reviewers, or anybody who needs to discuss a serious book. Book clubs comes to mind here for those
...more
Jay Liu
Oct 01, 2015 Jay Liu rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: partially-read
It changed the way I read books (I read primarily non-fiction). Reading is no longer just "look at every word until they are all seen," nor is it like a tape that plays from the beginning to the end. This book taught me the value of skimming books as a way of time management. From this, I also became better aware of how to connect with the author of a book, through using the 'tools' the author provides to help understand the content: everything from the table of contents, to the introduction, to ...more
Mikol
Sep 02, 2007 Mikol rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read this book in the mid-seventies. I was in my early twenties I think. I had a voracious appetite for books. This volume really helped me organize the way that I read and helped me be discerning regarding what books to read.

One idea from the book that I still recall 30 years later is his discussion about teachers, dead and alive. Books were the dead teachers, but teachers nonetheless. And as a result of the published work, one could get to know the teacher if the work was of good quality and
...more
Naimalkalantani
Dec 28, 2014 Naimalkalantani rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Sebelum tu, aku nak promo; aku ada copyleft buku ni. Buku ni mesti dimiliki oleh setiap pembaca buku. Boleh hubungi aku di 0129611812 (sms/telegram/whatsapp)

Buku yang bagus. Aku tak sangka ada buku ni sebenarnya. Dan bila aku perasan, lama nenar aku mencari buku ni.

Dalam buku ni aku sudah praktikkan beberapa perkara, tapi aku tak perasan yang perkara itu aku praktikkan.

Buku ni wajar dibaca oleh anak-anak sekolah atau universiti untuk dapat membaca secara berkesan.
the gift
this is a later addition: in answer to the title question 'how to...' I must offer my considered reply, that might be buried, might be forgotten, might be so obvious no one ever states it. how? with joy, with pleasure, with desire, in whatever language, in translations, in genres, in history. to add to this, in personal claim: from a comfortable, shaded, breezy lanai of the condo facing the beach, listening to the surf, the wild chickens, the laughter of children in the pool...

first review: i re
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Taka
Apr 26, 2010 Taka rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Tedious,turgid, and torturous--

Thank God I've gained a few insights from this: the usefulness of inspectional reading and how to read poetry (which consists of reading it as fast as you can and rereading it aloud). Some thoughts on syntopical reading are somewhat interesting for anyone writing dissertations and theses, but not really for the average reader without a Ph.D. to pursue.

I thank God for the insights because otherwise I would've wasted all my time. I found 90% of the information simply
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Paul
It's not how much you read, but how well--and this book gives you specific, step-by-step techniques to get you to read as well as possible.

First of all, who would be so presumptuous as to advise fellow adults on how to read--a skill notionally possessed by everyone who's made it through public school? Well, Mortimer J. Adler, philosopher, longtime editor of the Encyclopedia Britannica, and moving force behind the Britannica Great Books of the Western World series; and Charles Van Doren, Adler's
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Jasmine
"Reading well, which means reading actively, is thus not only a good in itself, nor is it merely a means to advancement in our work or career. It also serves to keep our minds alive and growing." (p. 336).
This practical guide is about the Art of Reading. Highly recommended for readers who prefer quality over quantity.
رغد قاسم
الكتاب قيم للغاية
و ينبه لاشياء لم تكن تلفت انتباهك كقارئ معتاد على الكتب كما الطعام
عانيت ازمة صراحة بسببه و هبطت معنوياتي اذ بدا لي انني لست الا في المرحلة الأولى من القراءة
لكنه مع هذا مفيد للغاية و انصح بقرائته .
د. حمدان
Feb 08, 2015 د. حمدان rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: literature
كيف تقرأ كتاباً مورتيمر أدلر

مورتيمر أدلر 1902-2001 هو فيلسوف وكاتب أمريكي شهير عمل محاضراً في عدة جامعات أمريكية وموسوعة بريتانيكا الشهيرة.

صدر هذا الكاتب في عام 1940.. وتصدر فوراً قائمة الكتب الأكثر مبيعاً.. وهو يستحق ذلك عن جدارة. ففي هذا الكتاب يشرح أدلر وبشكل علمي وموضوعي الغايات من القراءة والطرق التي من الممكن إستخدامها لتحصيل الفائدة المرجوة من فعل القراءة.

وقد تحدث الكتاب أيضاً.. عن النقد.. وكيفية تقييم الكتاب ونقدها بشكل علمي وموضوعي. ونجده وقد قسمّ القراءة إلى عدة مستويات تراكمية بحيث أن
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John
Feb 08, 2016 John rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I love this book. This is not to say that I bear it the kind of feeling that puts it on a shelf of 'All Time Classics', but I do have a certain affinity for it; it is the love of admiration.

As a life-long reader, I admit that I scoffed at the title. My children did too, along with complete strangers (I had more people approach me about this book than any other I have ever read). The reaction was always the same: a mixed incredulity that a person should read a book about how to read a book. Doesn
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John Harder
Mortimer Adler is a pompous snob. This is why I like him. Old Mort (actually he is now dead Mort) takes us through various techniques of reading, with a focus on how to gather the most from a book in the most efficient manner. Depending in the circumstances and type of book a light skim might be best, others a lifetime of study.



Much of what Adler discusses is obvious but like with all things we sometimes get lazy and ignore the fundamentals.



I love how Mort says that in the history of man only ab
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Eat.Sleep.Lift.Read.

This should be required reading for every University student. Another book I wish I had read 15 years ago.

Don't get me started on the shambles of higher education but suffice to say there is no such book or guidance on how to 'read' in most, if not all, Universities.

I checked out a few reviews before writing this one and lordy love a duck people are asinine.
Grown ass 'adults' taking stars off because the only pronoun used in the book was him or he. No she or her, oh the horror. Next we'll have
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Skyler Myers
This book started interesting but quickly lost momentum with its constant reinforcement of simple points. Most of the book was wasted on my simply because the methods that it teaches are so time consuming that it would take at least a month to get through any book, a point which the author concedes to. Another problem with the method is that much of it is completely outdated with the onset of the Internet, such as the point about skimming through the book to get an idea of what it is about - a t ...more
Zelda
Apr 19, 2013 Zelda rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013
This is a tremendous personal victory for me for two reasons, the first of which has to do with the book itself and the second of which has to do with a concerted reallocation of time.

Ever since I first learned of the book's existence I understood that it was a book that I really SHOULD read. And I had an intention to read it. A desire to read it. And yet, I never read it. I did lots of other things that could have gone without doing. So, it really wasn't a matter of time. Celebrities got fat a
...more
Hadrian
Jul 01, 2011 Hadrian rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Helpful guide to reading books seriously and getting more out of what you read. Invaluable, now more than ever.
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Mortimer Jerome Adler was an American educator, philosopher, and popular author. As a philosopher he worked with Aristotelian and Thomistic thought. He lived for the longest stretches in New York City, Chicago, San Francisco, and San Mateo. He worked for Columbia University, the University of Chicago, Encyclopædia Britannica, and Adler's own Institute for Philosophical Research.

Adler was born in N
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More about Mortimer J. Adler...

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“True freedom is impossible without a mind made free by discipline.” 1437 likes
“Reading list (1972 edition)[edit]
1. Homer – Iliad, Odyssey
2. The Old Testament
3. Aeschylus – Tragedies
4. Sophocles – Tragedies
5. Herodotus – Histories
6. Euripides – Tragedies
7. Thucydides – History of the Peloponnesian War
8. Hippocrates – Medical Writings
9. Aristophanes – Comedies
10. Plato – Dialogues
11. Aristotle – Works
12. Epicurus – Letter to Herodotus; Letter to Menoecus
13. Euclid – Elements
14. Archimedes – Works
15. Apollonius of Perga – Conic Sections
16. Cicero – Works
17. Lucretius – On the Nature of Things
18. Virgil – Works
19. Horace – Works
20. Livy – History of Rome
21. Ovid – Works
22. Plutarch – Parallel Lives; Moralia
23. Tacitus – Histories; Annals; Agricola Germania
24. Nicomachus of Gerasa – Introduction to Arithmetic
25. Epictetus – Discourses; Encheiridion
26. Ptolemy – Almagest
27. Lucian – Works
28. Marcus Aurelius – Meditations
29. Galen – On the Natural Faculties
30. The New Testament
31. Plotinus – The Enneads
32. St. Augustine – On the Teacher; Confessions; City of God; On Christian Doctrine
33. The Song of Roland
34. The Nibelungenlied
35. The Saga of Burnt Njál
36. St. Thomas Aquinas – Summa Theologica
37. Dante Alighieri – The Divine Comedy;The New Life; On Monarchy
38. Geoffrey Chaucer – Troilus and Criseyde; The Canterbury Tales
39. Leonardo da Vinci – Notebooks
40. Niccolò Machiavelli – The Prince; Discourses on the First Ten Books of Livy
41. Desiderius Erasmus – The Praise of Folly
42. Nicolaus Copernicus – On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres
43. Thomas More – Utopia
44. Martin Luther – Table Talk; Three Treatises
45. François Rabelais – Gargantua and Pantagruel
46. John Calvin – Institutes of the Christian Religion
47. Michel de Montaigne – Essays
48. William Gilbert – On the Loadstone and Magnetic Bodies
49. Miguel de Cervantes – Don Quixote
50. Edmund Spenser – Prothalamion; The Faerie Queene
51. Francis Bacon – Essays; Advancement of Learning; Novum Organum, New Atlantis
52. William Shakespeare – Poetry and Plays
53. Galileo Galilei – Starry Messenger; Dialogues Concerning Two New Sciences
54. Johannes Kepler – Epitome of Copernican Astronomy; Concerning the Harmonies of the World
55. William Harvey – On the Motion of the Heart and Blood in Animals; On the Circulation of the Blood; On the Generation of Animals
56. Thomas Hobbes – Leviathan
57. René Descartes – Rules for the Direction of the Mind; Discourse on the Method; Geometry; Meditations on First Philosophy
58. John Milton – Works
59. Molière – Comedies
60. Blaise Pascal – The Provincial Letters; Pensees; Scientific Treatises
61. Christiaan Huygens – Treatise on Light
62. Benedict de Spinoza – Ethics
63. John Locke – Letter Concerning Toleration; Of Civil Government; Essay Concerning Human Understanding;Thoughts Concerning Education
64. Jean Baptiste Racine – Tragedies
65. Isaac Newton – Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy; Optics
66. Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz – Discourse on Metaphysics; New Essays Concerning Human Understanding;Monadology
67. Daniel Defoe – Robinson Crusoe
68. Jonathan Swift – A Tale of a Tub; Journal to Stella; Gulliver's Travels; A Modest Proposal
69. William Congreve – The Way of the World
70. George Berkeley – Principles of Human Knowledge
71. Alexander Pope – Essay on Criticism; Rape of the Lock; Essay on Man
72. Charles de Secondat, baron de Montesquieu – Persian Letters; Spirit of Laws
73. Voltaire – Letters on the English; Candide; Philosophical Dictionary
74. Henry Fielding – Joseph Andrews; Tom Jones
75. Samuel Johnson – The Vanity of Human Wishes; Dictionary; Rasselas; The Lives of the Poets”
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