How to Read a Book
43%
off

How to Read a Book

4 (12,583 ratings by Goodreads)
By (author) 

Free delivery worldwide

Available. Dispatched from the UK in 3 business days
When will my order arrive?

Description

With half a million copies in print, How to Read a Book is the best and most successful guide to reading comprehension for the general reader, completely rewritten and updated with new material.
Originally published in 1940, this book is a rare phenomenon, a living classic that introduces and elucidates the various levels of reading and how to achieve them-from elementary reading, through systematic skimming and inspectional reading, to speed reading. Readers will learn when and how to "judge a book by its cover," and also how to X-ray it, read critically, and extract the author's message from the text.
Also included is instruction in the different techniques that work best for reading particular genres, such as practical books, imaginative literature, plays, poetry, history, science and mathematics, philosophy and social science works.
Finally, the authors offer a recommended reading list and supply reading tests you can use measure your own progress in reading skills, comprehension, and speed.
show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 426 pages
  • 135 x 210 x 28mm | 360g
  • TOUCHSTONE
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • Revised
  • Revised and Updated ed.
  • 0671212095
  • 9780671212094
  • 3,182

Table of contents

CONTENTS

Preface

PART ONE

THE DIMENSIONS OF READING

1. The Activity and Art of Reading

Active Reading

The Goals of Reading: Reading for Information and Reading for Understanding

Reading as Learning: The Difference Between Learning by Instruction and Learning by Discovery

Present and Absent Teachers

2. The Levels of Reading

3. The First Level of Reading: Elementary Reading

Stages of Learning to Read

Stages and Levels

Higher Levels of Reading and Higher Education

Reading and the Democratic Ideal of Education

4. The Second Level of Reading: Inspectional Reading

Inspectional Reading I Systematic Skimming or Prereading

Inspectional Reading II: Superficial Reading

On Reading Speeds

Fixations and Regressions

The Problem of Comprehension

Summary of Inspectional Reading

5. How to Be a Demanding Reader

The Essence of Active Reading: The Four Basic Questions a Reader Asks

How to Make a Book Your Own

The Three Kinds of Note-making

Forming the Habit of Reading

From Many Rules to One Habit

PART TWO

THE THIRD LEVEL OF READING: ANALYTICAL READING

6. Pigeonholing a Book

The Importance of Classifying Books

What You Can Learn from the Title of a Book

Practical vs. Theoretical Books

Kinds of Theoretical Books

7. X-raying a Book

Of Plots and Plans: Stating the Unity of a Book

Mastering the Multiplicity: The Art of Outlining a Book

The Reciprocal Arts of Reading and Writing

Discovering the Author's Intentions

The First Stage of Analytical Reading

8. Coming to Terms with an Author

Words vs. Terms

Finding the Key Words

Technical Words and Special Vocabularies

Finding the Meanings

9. Determining an Author's Message

Sentences vs. Propositions

Finding the Key Sentences

Finding the Propositions

Finding the Arguments

Finding the Solutions

The Second Stage of Analytical Reading

10. Criticizing a Book Fairly

Teachability as a Virtue

The Role of Rhetoric

The Importance of Suspending Judgment

The Importance of Avoiding Contentiousness

On the Resolution of Disagreements

11. Agreeing or Disagreeing with an Author

Prejudice and Judgment

Judging the Author's Soundness

Judging the Author's Completeness

The Third Stage of Analytical Reading

12. Aids to Reading

The Role of Relevant Experience

Other Books as Extrinsic Aids to Reading

How to Use Commentaries and Abstracts

How to Use Reference Books

How to Use a Dictionary

How to Use an Encyclopedia

PART THREE

APPROACHES TO DIFFERENT KINDS OF READING MATTER

13. How to Read Practical Books

The Two Kinds of Practical Books

The Role of Persuasion

What Does Agreement Entail in the Case of a Practical Book?

14. How to Read Imaginative Literature

How Not to Read Imaginative Literature

General Rules for Reading Imaginative Literature

15. Suggestions for Reading Stories, Plays, and Poems

How to Read Stories

A Note About Epics

How to Read Plays

A Note About Tragedy

How to Read Lyric Poetry

16. How to Read History

The Elusiveness of Historical Facts

Theories of History

The Universal in History

Questions to Ask of a Historical Book

How to Read Biography and Autobiography

How to Read About Current Events

A Note on Digests

17. How to Read Science and Mathematics

Understanding the Scientific Enterprise

Suggestions for Reading Classical Scientific Books

Facing the Problem of Mathematics

Handling the Mathematics in Scientific Books

A Note on Popular Science

18. How to Read Philosophy

The Questions Philosophers Ask

Modern Philosophy and the Great Tradition

On Philosophical Method

On Philosophical Styles

Hints for Reading Philosophy

On Making Up Your Own Mind

A Note on Theology

How to Read "Canonical" Books

19. How to Read Social Science

What Is Social Science?

The Apparent Ease of Reading Social Science

Difficulties of Reading Social Science

Reading Social Science Literature

PART FOUR

THE ULTIMATE GOALS OF READING

20. The Fourth Level of Reading: Syntopical Reading

The Role of Inspection in Syntopical Reading

The Five Steps in Syntopical Reading

The Need for Objectivity

An Example of an Exercise in Syntopical Reading: The Idea of Progress

The Syntopicon and How to Use It

On the Principles That Underlie Syntopical Reading

Summary of Syntopical Reading

21. Reading and the Growth of the Mind

What Good Books Can Do for Us

The Pyramid of Books

The Life and Growth of the Mind

Appendix A. A Recommended Reading List

Appendix B. Exercises and Tests at the Four Levels of Reading

Index
0
show more

Review quote

"'There is the book; and here is your mind.' Adler and Van Doren's suggestions on how to connect the two will make you nostalgic for a slower, more earnest, less trivial time." -- Anne Fadiman "It shows concretely how the serious work of proper reading may be accomplished and how much it may yield in the way of instruction and delight." * The New Yorker * "These four hundred pages are packed full of high matters which no one solicitous of the future of American culture can afford to overlook." -- Jacques Barzun
show more

About Charles Van Doren

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.
show more

Rating details

12,583 ratings
4 out of 5 stars
5 38% (4,802)
4 35% (4,353)
3 19% (2,408)
2 6% (738)
1 2% (282)
Book ratings by Goodreads
Goodreads is the world's largest site for readers with over 50 million reviews. We're featuring millions of their reader ratings on our book pages to help you find your new favourite book. Close X