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How to Read a Book : The Classic Guide to Intelligent Reading - Mortimer J. Adler

How to Read a Book

The Classic Guide to Intelligent Reading

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Published: 1st January 1986
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"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 been completely rewritten and updated.

You are told about the various levels of reading and how 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 techniques for reading practical books, imaginative literature, 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 speed.

"These four hundred pages are packed full of high matters which no one solicitous of the future of American culture can afford to overlook." -- Jacques Barzun "It shows concretely how the serious work of proper reading may be accomplished and how much it may yield in the way of instruction and delight." The New Yorker "'There is the book; and here is your mind.' Adler and Van Doren's suggestions on how to connect the two will make you nostalgic for a slower, more earnest, less trivial time." -- Anne Fadiman

Prefacep. ix
The Dimensions of Reading
The Activity and Art of Readingp. 3
Active Readingp. 4
The Goals of Reading: Reading for Information and Reading for Understandingp. 7
Reading as Learning: The Difference Between Learning by Instruction and Learning by Discoveryp. 11
Present and Absent Teachersp. 14
The Levels of Readingp. 16
The First Level of Reading: Elementary Readingp. 21
Stages of Learning to Readp. 24
Stages and Levelsp. 26
Higher Levels of Reading and Higher Educationp. 28
Reading and the Democratic Ideal of Educationp. 29
The Second Level of Reading: Inspectional Readingp. 31
Inspectional Reading I: Systematic Skimming or Prereadingp. 32
Inspectional Reading II: Superficial Readingp. 36
On Reading Speedsp. 38
Fixations and Regressionsp. 40
The Problem of Comprehensionp. 41
Summary of Inspectional Readingp. 43
How to Be a Demanding Readerp. 45
The Essence of Active Reading: The Four Basic Questions a Reader Asksp. 46
How to Make a Book Your Ownp. 48
The Three Kinds of Note-makingp. 51
Forming the Habit of Readingp. 52
From Many Rules to One Habitp. 54
The Third Level of Reading: Analytical Reading
Pigeonholing a Bookp. 59
The Importance of Classifying Booksp. 60
What You Can Learn from the Title of a Bookp. 61
Practical vs. Theoretical Booksp. 65
Kinds of Theoretical Booksp. 70
X-raying a Bookp. 75
Of Plots and Plans: Stating the Unity of a Bookp. 78
Mastering the Multiplicity: The Art of Outlining a Bookp. 83
The Reciprocal Arts of Reading and Writingp. 90
Discovering the Author's Intentionsp. 92
The First Stage of Analytical Readingp. 94
Coming to Terms with an Authorp. 96
Words vs. Termsp. 96
Finding the Key Wordsp. 100
Technical Words and Special Vocabulariesp. 103
Finding the Meaningsp. 106
Determining an Author's Messagep. 114
Sentences vs. Propositionsp. 117
Finding the Key Sentencesp. 121
Finding the Propositionsp. 124
Finding the Argumentsp. 128
Finding the Solutionsp. 135
The Second Stage of Analytical Readingp. 136
Criticizing a Book Fairlyp. 137
Teachability as a Virtuep. 139
The Role of Rhetoricp. 140
The Importance of Suspending Judgmentp. 142
The Importance of Avoiding Contentiousnessp. 145
On the Resolution of Disagreementsp. 147
Agreeing or Disagreeing with an Authorp. 152
Prejudice and Judgmentp. 154
Judging the Author's Soundnessp. 156
Judging the Author's Completenessp. 160
The Third Stage of Analytical Readingp. 163
Aids to Readingp. 168
The Role of Relevant Experiencep. 169
Other Books as Extrinsic Aids to Readingp. 172
How to Use Commentaries and Abstractsp. 174
How to Use Reference Booksp. 176
How to Use a Dictionaryp. 178
How to Use an Encyclopediap. 182
Approaches to Different Kinds of Reading Matter
How to Read Practical Booksp. 191
The Two Kinds of Practical Booksp. 193
The Role of Persuasionp. 197
What Does Agreement Entail in the Case of a Practical Book?p. 199
How to Read Imaginative Literaturep. 203
How Not to Read Imaginative Literaturep. 204
General Rules for Reading Imaginative Literaturep. 208
Suggestions for Reading Stories, Plays, and Poemsp. 215
How to Read Storiesp. 217
A Note About Epicsp. 222
How to Read Playsp. 223
A Note About Tragedyp. 226
How to Read Lyric Poetryp. 227
How to Read Historyp. 234
The Elusiveness of Historical Factsp. 235
Theories of Historyp. 237
The Universal in Historyp. 239
Questions to Ask of a Historical Bookp. 241
How to Read Biography and Autobiographyp. 244
How to Read About Current Eventsp. 248
A Note on Digestsp. 252
How to Read Science and Mathematicsp. 255
Understanding the Scientific Enterprisep. 256
Suggestions for Reading Classical Scientific Booksp. 258
Facing the Problem of Mathematicsp. 260
Handling the Mathematics in Scientific Booksp. 264
A Note on Popular Sciencep. 267
How to Read Philosophyp. 270
The Questions Philosophers Askp. 271
Modern Philosophy and the Great Traditionp. 276
On Philosophical Methodp. 277
On Philosophical Stylesp. 280
Hints for Reading Philosophyp. 285
On Making Up Your Own Mindp. 290
A Note on Theologyp. 291
How to Read "Canonical" Booksp. 293
How to Read Social Sciencep. 296
What Is Social Science?p. 297
The Apparent Ease of Reading Social Sciencep. 299
Difficulties of Reading Social Sciencep. 301
Reading Social Science Literaturep. 304
The Ultimate Goals of Reading
The Fourth Level of Reading: Syntopical Readingp. 309
The Role of Inspection in Syntopical Readingp. 313
The Five Steps in Syntopical Readingp. 316
The Need for Objectivityp. 323
An Example of an Exercise in Syntopical Reading: The Idea of Progressp. 325
The Syntopicon and How to Use Itp. 329
On the Principles That Underlie Syntopical Readingp. 333
Summary of Syntopical Readingp. 335
Reading and the Growth of the Mindp. 337
What Good Books Can Do for Usp. 338
The Pyramid of Booksp. 341
The Life and Growth of the Mindp. 344
A Recommended Reading Listp. 347
Exercises and Tests at the Four Levels of Readingp. 363
Indexp. 421
Table of Contents provided by Syndetics. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780671212094
ISBN-10: 0671212095
Series: A Touchstone book
Audience: General
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 426
Published: 1st January 1986
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 21.0 x 13.6  x 2.8
Weight (kg): 0.34
Edition Number: 1
Edition Type: Revised