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Publisher's Summary

A CNN Book of the Week: “Explains not just why we should read books, but how we should read them. It’​s masterfully done.” (Farheed Zakaria)

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. Audiences 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.

©2021 Mortimer J. Adler, Charles Van Doren (P)2021 Simon & Schuster Audio

What listeners say about How to Read a Book

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An excellent book.

Mortimer and Charles work on how to read a book was an excellent aid to divine commandment to mankind to "read".

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  • bobs_bobsington
  • 08-07-22

Heavy going but a few nuggets in there

This book was mentioned in another book I read as a thought provoking, paradigm shifting read. It was on some levels although it was pretty long and heavy going, and seemed more like an educational text or a school lecture. The tone is very much of its time, but once you get past all of that, there was definitely a lot in here that will help my future approach to reading - and formulating my own thoughts and opinions - in general.