Book Review & Discussion : How to Read a Book

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The Classic Guide to Intelligent Reading

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In this event, you’ll learn

Why reading is like playing baseball

How complex elementary reading really is

What an author’s job really is and how you can understand them better

Some examples of books that had flawed logic

How to master syntopical reading, the highest level of it

Why there’s no way around using common sense while reading

About the Author

Dr. Mortimer J. Adler was Chairman of the Board of the Encyclopedia Britannica, Director of the Institute for Philosophical Research, Honorary Trustee of the Aspen Institute, and authored more than fifty books. He died in 2001.

Dr. Charles Van Doren earned advanced degrees in both literature and mathematics from Columbia University, where he later taught English and was the Assistant Director of the Institute for Philosophical Research. He also worked for Encyclopedia Britannica in Chicago.


If you’re interested in sharpening up your ability to read, comprehend, and debate, Mortimer Adler and Charles Van Doren’s bestselling How to Read a Book: The Classic Guide to Intelligent Reading (1972; first published in 1940 under only Adler’s name) is the definitive guidebook.

The book stemmed from Adler’s belief that students of liberal education needed to be grounded in the “great ideas” of humankind, as represented in the canon of Western classic literature. To Adler, the art of reading well is deeply correlated to the art of thinking clearly, critically, and freely.

After the publication of How to Read a Book (1940,) Adler advanced his ideas on educational theory further by starting the Great Books of the Western World program and the Great Books Foundation. His later successes as a University of Chicago philosopher and an educator had an colossal influence on American education in the twentieth century.


Learning a certain few tips and tricks for reading can help you absorb more knowledge from books.

To understand a book, we must understand the words in the book.

To gain information more efficiently, first look through the text to see if reading it would be beneficial to learn what you need to know.

The first step to picking apart a text is figuring out the reason the book exists.

Know the writer.

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