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

How to Read a Book: The Classic Guide to Intelligent Reading
How to Read a Book The Classic Guide to Intelligent Reading
Author: Mortimer J. Adler, Charles Van Doren
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ISBN-13: 9780671212094
ISBN-10: 0671212095
Publication Date: 8/15/1972
Pages: 426
Rating:
  • Currently 3.7/5 Stars.
 32

3.7 stars, based on 32 ratings
Publisher: Touchstone
Book Type: Paperback
Reviews: Amazon | Write a Review

4 Book Reviews submitted by our Members...sorted by voted most helpful

reviewed How to Read a Book: The Classic Guide to Intelligent Reading on + 401 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 9
This book was the primary text for a year's world literature course I took in high school. Adler's approach to reading had a profound impact upon me, and influenced the way I read (and often write and talk) about every book since then, 35 years ago. If only most people were trained in the thinking skills, and "associational" skills in reading and thinking that Adler proposes. This is a VERY IMPORTANT book, and easy reading as well.
reviewed How to Read a Book: The Classic Guide to Intelligent Reading on + 88 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 3
Good book to start a journey of serious academic reading, but I truly dispise the strict "Search for Truth" that Adler proposes. It is remniscent of Faust's pact with the Devil for "ultimate Knowledge."
reviewed How to Read a Book: The Classic Guide to Intelligent Reading on + 23 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
The search for truth was the end of education for 2500 years -- the Greeks, the Romans, the ages -- sought to answer the timeless questions about existence. That search for truth has nothing to do with Faust and ultimate knowledge. The rigors of analysis have to be lost on two or three generations of students who have been taught by higher criticism that THEY infuse other people's works with meaning. Adler speaks another language -- a rich one that the starving postmodern mind can't even taste.
reviewed How to Read a Book: The Classic Guide to Intelligent Reading on + 289 more book reviews
Originally published in 1940, How to read a book advocates reading as an active, enriching activity. It describes 4 levels of reading, spending most of the time with analytical reading. Although it claims the process works for almost any genre, most of the advice would work best for expository, non-fiction works. While it is reassuring that the systematic approach outlined here is an ideal process, the authors tone, looking down at the meager skill level of most (undergraduate) readers, might strike some as old-fashioned. After all, they are the type that still believes in such things as more knowledge, understanding, truth, as well as Great Books and etiquette in intellectual discourse. Nonetheless, I think the system outlined can be helpful if I can muster the discipline to follow it. It just didnt seem that helpful in terms of reading and understanding classic novels, which was my goal.