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Reading for information is when you passively read to gain information from the text. Reading for understanding requires mental engagement with the text to close the knowledge gap between you and the author 1. With active reading 2, you engage with material, familiarize yourself with context before beginning. One approach is the blank sheet reading method.

Four types of reading according to Mortimer Alder 1:

  1. Elementary Reading
  2. Inspectional Reading
  3. Analytical Reading
  4. Syntopical Reading

Four questions to ask of every book 1:

  1. What is this book about?
  2. What is being said in detail, and how?
  3. Is this book true in whole or in part?
  4. What of it?

The Rule of 50 3

Give a book 50 pages. When you get to the bottom of Page 50, ask yourself if you’re really liking the book. If you are, of course, then great, keep on reading. But if you’re not, then put it down and look for another. When you are 51 years of age or older, subtract your age from 100, and the resulting number (which, of course, gets smaller every year) is the number of pages you should read before you can guiltlessly give up on a book,


Parrish, S. How to Read a Book: The Ultimate Guide by Mortimer Adler. at http://fs.blog/how-to-read-a-book/ (2014).
Parrish, S. How to Remember What You Read. at https://fs.blog/2021/08/remember-books/ (2021).
Pearl, N. Nancy Pearl’s Rule of 50 for dropping a bad book. at https://www.theglobeandmail.com/arts/books-and-media/nancy-pearls-rule-of-50-for-dropping-a-bad-book/article565170/ (2011).

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