3/11/2010

How to read a difficult book

In reading a difficult book for the first time, read the book through without stopping. Pay attention to what you can understand, and don't be stopped by what you can't immediately grasp on this way. Read the book through undeterred by the paragraphs, footnotes, arguments, and references that escape you. If you stop at any of these stumbling blocks, if you let yourself get stalled, you are lost. In most cases you won't be able to puzzle the thing out by sticking to it. You have a better chance of understanding it on a second reading, but that requires you to read the book through for the first time.

- Mortimer J. Adler, How to Read a Difficult Book