This Rare Technique Helps You Read Difficult Books | Summary and Q&A

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August 7, 2023
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Odysseas
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This Rare Technique Helps You Read Difficult Books

TL;DR

Superficial reading can be a valuable approach to understanding difficult books, allowing readers to focus on what they do know and gradually increase their understanding with each reading.

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Key Insights

  • 📔 Many readers struggle with comprehending difficult books like philosophical or economic texts.
  • 👻 Superficial reading is a method that allows readers to focus on what they do understand rather than getting discouraged by what they don't.
  • 🥺 Great books are often not meant to be fully understood in a single reading, and continual rereading can lead to new insights and understanding.
  • 📔 Expecting to understand everything in a difficult book from the first reading is unrealistic and can be disheartening.
  • 🙈 Superficial reading is a way to gradually increase understanding by focusing on what is comprehensible and ignoring what is challenging.
  • 😛 By ignoring footnotes and commentaries, readers can avoid getting stuck in the details and retain a better understanding of the main narrative or argument.
  • 👻 Superficial reading allows readers to appreciate and gain some understanding, even if it is only a small percentage of the book.

Transcript

once I picked up hegel's phenomology of spirit in her Library I don't even know if that's how you say it who cares and I picked it up and I opened the page because I've seen this book everywhere on the memes and all that the the philosophy book and I read the first page and I thought what the hell is this guy saying what is he on about and they sor... Read More

Questions & Answers

Q: Why did the narrator initially struggle to understand books like Hegel's Phenomenology of Spirit, Marx's Das Kapital, and Smith's Wealth of Nations?

The narrator found these books difficult and incomprehensible, feeling discouraged because they couldn't understand the content, leading to the belief that they were reading the books incorrectly.

Q: What is the concept of superficial reading?

Superficial reading involves starting and finishing a difficult book without stopping to focus on the challenging parts, ignoring footnotes, commentaries, and the need to understand everything, and instead, focusing on what is comprehensible.

Q: How does superficial reading help with understanding difficult books?

Superficial reading allows readers to avoid getting overwhelmed by the challenging parts of a book and instead focus on what they do understand. By approaching the book with the mindset of gaining some understanding rather than expecting to comprehend everything, readers can gradually increase their understanding with each reading.

Q: What is the advice given to readers on approaching difficult books?

The advice is to start and finish difficult books without stopping to think about the challenging parts, ignore footnotes and commentaries, and instead, focus on what is comprehensible. The goal is to increase understanding over time by rereading the book with new perspectives and experiences.

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • The narrator initially struggled to understand books like Hegel's Phenomenology of Spirit, Karl Marx's Das Kapital, and Adam Smith's Wealth of Nations, feeling discouraged and confused.

  • The concept of superficial reading is introduced as a way to approach difficult books by focusing on what the reader does understand rather than getting hung up on what they don't.

  • The advice given is to start and finish difficult books without stopping to think about the challenging parts, ignoring footnotes and commentaries, and instead, focusing on what is comprehensible.

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