Natasha's Reviews > How to Read a Book: The Classic Guide to Intelligent Reading

How to Read a Book by Mortimer J. Adler
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's review
Sep 04, 08

bookshelves: education
Recommended to Natasha by: Oliver DeMille
Recommended for: serious readers
Read in July, 2008

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. One of my favorite of which follows:

“But if the book belongs to the highest class—the very small number of inexhaustible books—you discover on returning that the book seems to have grown with you. You see new things in it—whole sets of new things—that you did not see before. Your previous understanding of the book in not invalidated; it is just as true as it ever was, and in the same ways that it was true before. But now it is true in still other ways, too. . . . Since it is a really good book—a great book, as we might say— it is accessible at different levels. Your impression of increased understanding on your previous reading was not false. The book truly lifted you then. But now, even though you have become wiser and more knowledgeable, it can lift you again. And it will go on doing this until you die.” (p. 343)
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Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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message 1: by Marshall (new) - added it

Marshall is there another book on reading that you'd recommend more? I'm interested in reading at a fast rate with increased comprehension and retention.

Natasha One of the best resources on reading faster with increased comprehension is at this website:

As far as retention goes, I make notes. If I own the book, I underline, make margin notes, and often make my own index in the back to make it easier to find my favorite quotes. If it's a borrowed book (and often even for books I own), I'll make notes on a paper and file it in my binder under the author's last name.

Usually I only do this for books I'll be discussing with a group or one I want to apply somehow. Probably the best ways to increase retention is to write about the book, (one of the things I love about Goodreads). Though it takes some time, this sort of processing is very worthwhile.

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