You know those book titles that you hear and go, “No. They didn’t.” But then you look more carefully and truly they did. For your entertainment and amazement I introduce you to How to Read a Book.
I found this prolifically titled book from the 1940s while listening to the Art of Manliness. The conversation was about reading the great books throughout history, especially in regards to western philosophy. There is a website dedicated to getting people together who are reading this monumental list. It’s a sort of intellectual book club. I don’t know if I’ll join because I get too easily overwhelmed with large groups in internet chats. But I’m definitely reading the books.
So far, though I am not that far, How to Read a Book has been amazing. Adler talks about the issues plaguing people in the 1940s, which align well with our own. Instead of reading impartial information and learning from that, people take what is fed to them. The learning is done, the talking points are prerecorded, and, when required, people simply hit play and repeat everything they heard from the media. Good to know that is not a today issue, but plagued our society nearly 80 years ago.
The goal of both How to Read a Book and the great books is to increase the ability to process raw information and think for yourself on what the information means. It is to come up with your own talking points, instead of simply rattling off the recordings given to us by CNN or Fox.
Despite the seemingly rudimentary title, I highly suggest you pick this book up and read it. It’s both intellectual and witty, with a dry humor that keeps the narrative moving. The knowledge can sometimes be basic, but at other times it’s eye opening insight.
If you have a desire to open up your mind to all the options out there, I highly suggest reading How to Read a Book.