how to properly read a book | Summary and Q&A

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December 6, 2020
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Mariana Vieira
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how to properly read a book

TL;DR

This video covers the essentials of "How to Read a Book" by Mortimer J. Adler and Charles Van Doren, focusing on the goals of reading, the four levels of reading, and the importance of analytical reading.

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Key Insights

  • 📚 Reading serves two goals: obtaining information and increasing understanding. While being informed is important, the ultimate goal should be deep comprehension.
  • 📖 There are four levels of reading: elementary reading, inspectional reading, analytical reading, and syntopical reading. Each level builds upon the previous one.
  • 🔍 Inspectional reading, often considered skimming, helps identify the type of book, its structure, and main topics. It should precede analytical reading.
  • 🔎 Analytical reading involves asking four questions: What is the book about? What is being said? How is it true? What is its significance? This level of reading requires active engagement.
  • ✍️ Annotating and marking the book is a core technique in analytical reading, allowing readers to analyze, understand, and transform their perception of the book.
  • 🕵️ Analytical reading requires understanding the genre, content, and structure of the book. Outlining the book and identifying the author's problems are also important aspects.
  • 📑 Rule #1: Understand the kind of book you're reading through skimming, focusing on the title, subtitle, table of contents, and preface.
  • 💡 Rule #2: State the unity of the whole book in a sentence or two, describing its purpose or main point. This should not cover categories.
  • 💭 Rule #3: Understand how the major parts of the book are organized into a whole, uncovering the book's structure and argumentative flow.
  • ❓ Rule #4: Identify the author's main question and any subordinate questions, which may be theoretical or practical. It's the reader's task to understand and engage with these questions.

Transcript

you know when you're really used to doing something and for so long that after a while you just think oh hey i can actually do this that's what i thought about reading i read a lot i read as much as my schedule allows me my free time and i read a lot for work as well my law degree basically consisted of reading my master's degree basically consiste... Read More

Questions & Answers

Q: What are the four levels of reading discussed in the video?

The four levels of reading discussed in the video are elementary reading, inspectional reading, analytical reading, and syntopical reading. Each level builds upon the previous one, with analytical reading being the most comprehensive.

Q: Why is it important to read for understanding rather than just for information?

Reading for understanding allows for a deeper comprehension of the content, as it focuses on grasping the meaning behind the words and concepts presented in a book. This enables the reader to gain knowledge and insights that go beyond surface-level information.

Q: What are the four basic questions to ask while reading analytically?

The four basic questions to ask while reading analytically are: 1) What is the book about as a whole? 2) What is being said in detail? 3) How is the book true, in whole or part? 4) What is the significance of the book? By continuously asking these questions, readers can actively engage with the material and deepen their understanding.

Q: Why is inspectional reading important in the reading process?

Inspectional reading, also known as skimming or pre-reading, is a crucial first step in the reading process. It allows readers to quickly assess the nature of the book, its structure, and main topics, providing a roadmap for further exploration. Inspectional reading is particularly useful when time is limited and helps readers determine if a book is worth diving into analytically.

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • The video introduces the goals of reading, emphasizing the importance of reading for understanding rather than just for information.

  • It explains the four levels of reading: elementary reading, inspectional reading, analytical reading, and syntopical reading.

  • The video highlights the significance of analytical reading and discusses the four basic questions to ask while reading to enhance comprehension.

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