Found in 14 comments on Hacker News
cfiggers · 2022-09-02 · Original thread
In Mortimer Adler's _How to Read a Book_ (1972) [0], he tackles this idea by distinguishing between "words" and "terms." Chapter 8 is called "Coming to Terms With an Author" and it is essentially all about this idea of "improper nouns" but under a different name.


davidwparker · 2020-06-22 · Original thread
Honestly, reading a book and knowing How to Read a Book is a skill.

I highly recommend this book for that reason:

jonnybgood · 2017-05-06 · Original thread
The game changer for me was actually learning how to read a book. I no longer approach books the same way after having read How to Read a Book by Mortimer Adler [1]. Once you have a method down, you can go through books rather quickly and retain knowledge. My biggest epiphany is that you don't need to read a book in its entirety to know all that it has to say.


50CNT · 2016-11-27 · Original thread
There's "How to Read a Book" by Mortimer Adler[0] which is quite nice in that it presents a systematic way to engage with the content of a book. That may or may not help with the attention span.


e19293001 · 2016-09-19 · Original thread
When I read a textbook, a specification or an article or something technical that I consider important parts I use the Feynman Technique[0].

As from what the linked article says,

    The technique is simple:

        1. Get a piece of paper
        2. Write at the top the idea or process you want to understand
        3. Explain the idea, as if you were teaching it to someone else

    What’s crucial is that the third step will likely repeat some areas of the idea you already understand. However, eventually you’ll reach a stopping point where you can’t explain. That’s the precise gap in your understanding that you need to fill.
I used to repeatedly explain the idea to myself. At first I find it hard to recall though I don't feel discourage when I'm unable to hold it on my mind at first and just think that there are a few that can but once I train myself I'll eventually improve.

When reading blogs, HN comments, novels etc., I usually read it once just like I'm watching television or a movie.

I don't worry that I read slow since when I've found out that Donald Knuth also reads novels very slowly[1].

If you want a more systematic reading, there is a book[2] which has been mentioned often here in HN.

> Is there an app that you use?

I use org-mode for everything

[0] -

[1] -

[2] -

chenster · 2016-08-08 · Original thread
"How to read a book" should be the first book gift you ever give. It changed my life.
spjpgrd · 2016-06-22 · Original thread
It depends on your definition of "reading a book."

Wait, what?

I've been reading a book called, I kid you not, "How to Read a Book: The Classic Guide to Intelligent Reading."

Adler and Doren identify four levels of reading:

1. Elementary: "What does the sentence say?" This is where speed can be gained

2. Inspectional: "What is the book about?" Best and most complete reading given a limited time. Not necessarily reading a book from front to back. Essentially systematic skimming.

3. Analytical: Best and most complete reading given unlimited time. For the sake of understanding.

4. Synoptical: Reading many books of the same subject at once, placing them in relation to one another, and constructing an analysis that may not be found in any of the books.

Amazon link for those interested:

acconrad · 2015-01-05 · Original thread
I highly recommend reading this book, of the same title:

It expounds on what is mentioned in the blog post, and it is something I really wish I had truly grasped when I was in college, but has helped immensely since then.

Some well-read fellows called Mortimer Adler and Charles van Doren wrote a book called How to Read a Book.

It serves two useful purposes.

1. It provides a framework for thoroughly digesting important books.

2. It is a rich vein of humour for visiting friends to mine when they spot it on your book shelf.

Mortimer Adler wrote a wonderful book about reading, "How to Read a Book", that's still in print after 70 years. It changed my life by transforming my view of reading, and, consequently, how I read. It's like a very souped up version of this blog post. Link:
antpicnic · 2009-12-18 · Original thread
I suggest reading the classic "How to Read a Book" by Mortimer Adler and Charles Van Doren

absconditus · 2009-06-19 · Original thread
You may want to read How to Read a Book by Mortimer J. Adler and Charles Van Doren.

jkkramer · 2008-12-23 · Original thread
I would be more inclined to do this if the book is non-technical. When you commit to reading a technical book, you're committing yourself to more than just the time spent reading: you're committing yourself to the time spent applying and fully understanding what you read -- installing tools, tinkering with syntax, coding, and so on. I've got enough of that now.

With non-technical books (literature, history, quality-of-life), most of the time will be invested into actual reading, with a bit of pondering and maybe discussing. We can have a conversation right away, and there's still knowledge and insight to be gained.

Here are some non-technical books I'd like to read:

* How to Read a Book -

* Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion -

* Liar's Poker -

* Growing a Business -

streblo · 2008-04-07 · Original thread

I read that for a high school english class, and it changed the way I read. It teaches you how to absorb more information in less time.

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