how to read a book

How to Read a Book: Book Summary, 7 Key Lessons and Review

TitleHow to Read a Book
AuthorMortimer Adler
Rating★★★★★ (5 stars)
Purchase LinkBuy Here

How to Read a Book is a book that teaches you to study better and read your books better through various deep reading techniques.

Therefore, this book is very important for all those who want to take a serious life of study and really learn. Read more book summaries about education here.

What is the Synopsis for How to Read a Book?

In that book, Mortimer Adler teaches that we don’t read books correctly most of the time. Therefore, he teaches various reading methods and summaries so that we can read in more depth. You can buy How to Read a Book clicking here.

Who is the author of How to Read a Book?

The author of How to Read a Book is Mortimer Adler, a true world reference when it comes to education and culture.

What are Mortimer Adler’s books?

Mortimer Adler books are:

  • How to Read a Book.
  • Ten Philosophical Errors.
  • How to Talk, How to Listen.
  • Aristotle for Everyone.
  • The Paideia Proposal.
  • The Art of Reading.

What are Mortimer Adler’s Quotes?

The main Mortimer Adler quotes are:

“True freedom is impossible without a mind liberated by discipline.”

“The purpose of learning is to grow, and our minds, unlike our bodies, can keep growing as we continue to live.”

“You won’t become a more capable reader if all you read are books or articles that don’t challenge your ability to understand.”

“The improvement of public discussion and political debate can only be achieved by improving the education that the people, as a whole, receive.”

“Without a free mindset, we cannot act like free men.”

What is the Summary of How to Read a Book?

The book shows that we don’t know how to read properly and soon forget our reading. Thus, it offers four levels of reading to better learn the content of any book, as well as the way to articulate all the knowledge we learn.

First, the author explains at the beginning how we read inattentively and soon forget what we learn.

Secondly, Adler teaches the first two levels of reading: elementary and inspection, which serve to evaluate the book at first.

In addition, he teaches about analytical reading, the most complete reading that one can do of a book. never to forget your lessons.

He teaches, with practical examples, how to read several different subjects: literature, science, history, philosophy and others.

Finally, he teaches how we can articulate all that we have learned in our experience and cultivate a life of study. Read a summary of the Intellectual Life clicking here.

What are the reading levels in How to Read a Book?

The reading levels are:

1. Elementary

First, elementary reading is about understanding what is written and what is contained in simpler sentences.

Therefore, this is the first level of reading and also the most basic: before understanding what books say, we need to understand well the meaning of the words and sentences we read.

Therefore, if we do not have this solid foundation in our studies, we will not be able to delve into the other reading levels.

However, unfortunately many people cannot interpret simple sentences, as our education is very poor and focused only on work.

2. Inspection

Secondly, inspectional reading is a more superficial reading of the book, where we understand its central message. For this, we read the index, introduction and reviews about the book.

In fact: before reading a book linearly, we need to look at its index and understand how it is structured.

For example: “in a philosophy book, we can see that chapter 1 talks about a historical introduction, chapter 2 talks about the current concept of philosophy, chapter 3 talks about practical examples, etc.”.

That is: we shouldn’t jump into the book without first understanding what it talks about and how it is organized. This way we will have a more complete view of the work before reading it. Read a summary about the book A Student’s Guide to Intellectual Work.

3. Analytical

In addition, analytical reading is where we will read the book with real attention. That is: we will read all the paragraphs, understand how they fit together, what their line of argument is and how the text flows.

Therefore, it is only in the third level of reading that we will deepen the work, understanding in detail what it is about.

Indeed: many people don’t do this kind of in-depth reading, they just flip through the pages without trying to understand the author’s argument construction, book structure and important details.

This is the only way we can have a serious study life, really understanding what we read and putting our learnings into practice.

4. Syntopic

Finally, syntopic reading is the reading level where we will articulate several books that we read to build an argument. Therefore, when we go to read a book, we will remember what we read in others to learn even more.

In fact, this is the deepest and most difficult level of reading, as it requires that we have already read a number of books on a variety of subjects.

Therefore, only those who have a deeper study life can reach this level of reading, as this will have a sedimented intellectual baggage.

This is the reading level that allows us to articulate our studies with our lives, turning reading into an intellectual life.

What are the main lessons of How to Read a Book?

The main lessons of How to Read a Book are:

1. Read the Index of the Books

First, we must read the index of a book before reading it completely, because only then will we truly understand what it is talking about.

In fact: many times, we don’t do that and rush right into reading, without understanding that this phase is fundamental for us to better understand the structure of the book.

2. Understand the Structure of the Text

Second, understand how the text is structured: how one paragraph leads to the next and how they fit together to build an argument.

Most of the time, we read everything a little inattentively, which ends up making us lose the deepest understanding of a text. Read a summary about Another Sort of Learning here.

3. Choosing which books to read is important

In fact: we shouldn’t read all the books we see, because some won’t be useful to us. Also, many books are meant to be read more superficially, while others are meant to be read in depth.

Only with this reading hierarchy can we read our books much more efficiently and really learn.

4. Organize the Author’s Argument

Although superficially reading a book already brings benefits, if you don’t understand how the author organizes his argument, you won’t really learn the content of the work.

Thus, we should see reading as a conversation with the author, not something passive and one-sided.

5. Each Type of Book Has Its Way of Reading

Furthermore, we must understand that not every book should be read in depth: some are more superficial and can be read more quickly.

For example: we should know the difference between a deeper philosophy book and a college reference book.

6. Articulate All the Books You Read

Finally, we need to know how to articulate our readings and make all the books we read talk to each other. Thus, we will learn much more.

That’s the only way to have a serious intellectual life, because that’s how we really build our intellect. You can buy How to Read a Book clicking here.

7. The Life of Studies Allows You to Truly Free Yourself

Finally, having an intellectual life allows you to free yourself from the darkness and see the truth that exists before you.

Therefore, it is worth taking the path of intellectual life and deepening studies.

What are the Negative Points of How to Read a Book?

The negative points of How to Read a Book are:

  • The book can be a bit repetitive.

What are the Positives of How to Read a Book?

The good points of How to Read a Book are:

  • It teaches you to read for real (believe me, you don’t know).
  • Teaches you how to read each type of subject.
  • Shows you how to articulate your readings.
  • It makes you smarter.

Is it worth reading How to Read a Book?

How to Read a Book is worth reading. Whether you’re a person who just wants to read better or someone who wants to lead an intellectual life, this book is a must-have to teach you how to really study and retain what you learn.

In addition, the book gives several tips on the reading levels of the texts and how to make the most of your studies.

If you are interested in purchasing How to Read a Book, it is worth checking! You can buy How to Read a Book clicking here.