Other Books

How to Read a Book: The Classic Guide to Intelligent Reading

Adler, Mortimer J. - Finished Jul 21, 2016

Run-on Sentence Summary

To be a better reader of expositional literature, read actively instead of just passively or linearly: change the speed at which you read the book and searching for underlying structure and key ideas.


A simple book full of practical knowledge that was worth a quick read. I think I have taken away several good ideas from this book.

Some tidbits:

  • It is my responsibility to read as actively as possible to get the most value from a book. -Skim expositional books for structure before reading linearly.
  • Scribble an ongoing outline of a book on the back pages as you go. -Don’t delve too deeply on a first read so that you lose focus on the general structure of the book. Having a dictionary in hand is a bad idea.
  • Consciously check your understanding of difficult ideas by forcing yourself to state them in your own words, or relate them to your own experiences.

Final Thoughts

Good information, but follow the book’s own advice and save your time: read any online synopsis and you’ll get 90% of the value.

Favorite Quote

“Teachability is an extremely active virtue. No one is really teachable who does not freely exercise his power of independent judgement… The most teachable reader is, therefore, the most critical.”