How to Read a Book: The Classic Guide to Intelligent Reading – Mortimer J. Adler Book Summary

How to Read a Book: The Classic Guide to Intelligent Reading – Mortimer J. Adler | Free Book Summary

How to Read a Book: The Classic Guide to Intelligent Reading – Mortimer J. Adler

How to Read a Book: The Classic Guide to Intelligent Reading is an essential guide to improving critical thinking and reading comprehension. Written by renowned philosopher Mortimer J. Adler, this book offers a comprehensive look at the process of reading and how to make the most of any text.

Understand Before You Judge

To truly understand a text, we must first read it objectively and without judgment.

This means understanding the author’s purpose and point of view before forming our own opinions. AtomicIdeas Newsletter

Grow Daily with AtomicIdeas

We must also be aware of our own biases and strive to be open-minded when approaching any text.

Identify Key Points

After reading a text, we should identify the main ideas and arguments presented.

This means looking for patterns, drawing connections and highlighting key points that will help us understand and remember the information.

We should also take notes as we read to help us remember what we learned.

Be Critical

To read intelligently, we must be willing to challenge the text and examine its accuracy and validity.

This means asking questions and looking for evidence to support any claims made in the text.Free book, podcast summaries

We should also consider alternative viewpoints and try to identify any potential flaws in the author’s argument.

Make Connections

To gain insight from a text, we must connect it to our existing knowledge and experiences.

By making connections between the text and our own lives, we can gain a deeper understanding of the material.

We can also draw on our own experiences to add context and perspective to the text.

Reflect On What You Read

Reflection is an important part of intelligent reading.

After finishing any text, we should take the time to ponder what we have read.

This means asking ourselves questions about what we learned and how it applies to our lives.

This helps us internalize the information and apply it in meaningful ways.

Take Your Time

We should approach reading with patience, instead of rushing through it in order to finish quickly.

Skimming or rushing through a text can lead us to miss important details or fail to recognize key points.

Taking our time allows us to form a deeper understanding of the material, which is essential for true comprehension.

Ask For Help

If we find ourselves struggling with a particular text, it’s ok to ask for help.

There are many resources available online or from libraries that can provide additional guidance or clarification on difficult concepts or texts.

Seeking help from knowledgeable sources can help us gain a better understanding of a text’s content.


Like any skill, becoming an intelligent reader takes practice.

We should set aside dedicated time each day for reading, as well as actively seek out challenging texts that will push our limits and help us develop as readers.

With practice, we can learn how to read intelligently and make the most of any text we encounter.

Get the book!


Sign Up for nextbigwhat newsletter

Delivered everyday 8 AM. Most comprehensive coverage of the tech ecosystem.

Download, the short news app for busy professionals