My Notes on: How to Read a Book: The Classic Guide to Intelligent Reading..

.. Part 1! Link to the book!

Relation between information and understanding: It is not required to know everything about a topic to fully understand it. As a matter of fact: Too much information is as much of an obstacle as too few.

Being Informed
Knowing simply that something is the case. The prerequisite for being enlightened! Being able to remember.

Being Enlightened
In addition to being informed, knowing why and the connections to other facts. Being able to explain.

Becoming a Demanding Reader

Read as actively as possible. Take notes. Make reading a habit. Ask questions while reading the book such as: What is this book about as a whole? What is being said in detail? Is this book true, in whole or part? Do I fully agree with the author? What of it? Why does the author think it is important to know these things?

Remember to ask the questions as you read, and remember to answer them on your own as you read. Make notes. Write down the questions, write down the answers. Rephrase.

Think of reading a book as a conversation with the author. He knows more than you do, keep asking questions to the book. Find answers in the book itself, do not get distracted until you have fully read the book. Check the questions unanswered later.

Levels of Reading

1. Elementary Reading
Being able to read and understand the sentence being read. The reader must be able to answer the question: "What does the sentence say?". Problems might occur at this level of reading, when one reads in a foreign language.

2. Inspectional Reading
Trying to get the most out of a book, with a limited amount of time, usually a short time. The goal is to get the most out of the book only by examining the surface of the book. The reader must be able to answer the questions: "What is this book about?", "What is the structure of this book?".

If a reader omits Inspectional Reading, the reader will be faced with the task of "achieving superficial knowledge of the book at the same time they are trying to understand it".

3. Analytical Reading
Complete reading - Thorough Reading. Trying to get the most out of a book, within an unlimited amount time.

4. Syntopical Reading
Reading many books and placing them in relation.

Inspectional Reading

Inspectional Reading Type 1 - Systematic Skimming
Also called: Pre-reading. Main aim is to discover whether the book requires a more careful reading.
  1. Read the Title and the Preface of the book.
    • Place the book in an appropriate category in your mind.
  2. Study the Table of Contents.
    • Unfortunately, publishers feel that revealing less in the Table of Contents is more seductive, so Table of Contents may not be as informative as they are expected to be.
  3. Check the Index of the book.
    • Scrutinize the keywords, and referrals. Try to estimate the range of the topics covered in the book.
  4. Read the Publishers Notes
    • Mostly written by the author himself, where the author tries to summarize the book as much as possible.
  5. Check the Chapters that seem to be Pivotal, and read the summaries, if exists.
    • Check the endings of such chapters as well.
  6. Turn the pages randomly, read a few paragraphs at most from randomly selected pages.
    • Try to get the feeling of the authors style and the detail of the information found in the book.
Inspectional Reading Type 2 - Superficial Reading
Read the book through without ever stopping to look up or ponder the things you do not understand right away. Pay attention to what you can understand. Read the book undismayed by the footnotes, comments and references. You will have a much better chance understanding in your second time of reading. This requires you to read the book through at least once. Insist on understanding everything on every page - you will not get far..