HackerNews Readings
40,000 HackerNews book recommendations identified using NLP and deep learning

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ncfaustionApr 14, 2021

How to Read a Book by Mortimer Adler is a great resource.

hahahasureonMay 28, 2021

How To Read A Book was pretty insightful. But I'm finding myself reading less because I need to have notes ready, and reading can't be done casually.

I also have a hard time seeing how it's possible to read Plato 3 times in a week, even without a job.

pharkeonApr 14, 2021

“Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested; that is, some books are to be read only in parts; others to be read, but not curiously; and some few are to be read wholly, and with diligence and attention.” -- Francis Bacon

Mortimer Adler's How to Read a Book provides a decent framework for dealing with the variety of books out there. There are also tools like Polar[1] that provide an easy way to do incremental reading[2] which may help when attacking a book piece by relevant piece.

[1] https://getpolarized.io/

[2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Incremental_reading

wirthjasononApr 15, 2021

When I was a young college student my professor said “there’s one book, and if you read it, it will change how well you do in college. It’s called ‘How To Read A Book.’”

I was shocked. Of course I know how to read a book. I made it to college after all. Curiosity got me and I checked it out from the library and read it. Turns out, I didn’t know how to read a book. :)

If you’re looking to get back into reading that book is a good start.

ameminatoronJuly 26, 2021

Generally, there is no "all in one" way of doing it. Generally active reading and checking the facts and primary sources will get you far. I don't think there is any substitute for reading lots and from diverse sources.

Four books that helped me along the way are:

How to Read a Book by Mortimer Adler

The Book of Fallacies by Jeremy Bentham
(alternatively, I enjoyed Logically Fallacious by Bo Bennet, and it fills the same niche)

Trust Me - I'm Lying by Ryan Holiday

Asking the Right Questions by Browne, Keil

I hope that was helpful! Enjoy

MathematicalArtonApr 16, 2021

I recommend “How to Read a Book” by Mortimer Adler. In short, not every sentence, paragraph, chapter, or even book is of equal informative importance. To read all literature as if everything is equally important is really a mistake. Once one recognizes this, it is then ideal to read only at the level of detail and focus as is required for the particular work.

What does it mean to have read a book? To read every single word and symbol? To understand the key ideas and points?

Is every book going to be one hundred percent new ideas to you or are there thematic riffs that allow you to shortcut portions of it without loss of understanding of the entire work?

squeaky-cleanonJune 29, 2021

What works best for me is to watch the lecture multiple times with different amounts of intensity/focus. Listening to a lecture while on a walk or doing other errands is a fantastic primer for when I rewind the lecture and watch it again with my pen and notebook in front of me.

I picked this up from Mortimer J. Adler's "How to Read a Book". There's lots of other techniques discussed in it, but the idea of "skim the content first to know what's coming up, so you have an idea of what each chapter (or lecture) is building towards" improved my retention massively and works well for things that aren't just books.

soramimoonMay 12, 2021

I recommend the book "How to read a book" on the very subject (summary in [1]).

In a nutshell the author argues that the goal of reading is to increase one's understanding. For this the writer needs to have a better understanding than the reader. The reader must be able to overcome that inequality in understanding to some degree.

A critical first step is deciding whether the book deserves a detailed reading in the first place. Clearly, this is critical for time efficiency.

Once deemed worthwhile, you can move on to a thorough analytical reading where I think note taking trumps speed. The process of actively reading the book will help digest the author's main points and help you remember them.

Finally, if you're trying to grow your expertise in a particular area, consider reading and contrasting multiple books on the subject (comparative reading).

[1] https://lifeclub.org/books/how-to-read-a-book-mortimer-j-adl...

blueyesonJuly 22, 2021

Those looking for a deeper dive might consider Harold Bloom's "How to Read and Why", for literature; and Mortimer J. Adler's "How to Read a Book", for non-fiction.

dredmorbiusonJune 9, 2021

I'd have liked to see at least a nodding reference to Mortimer Adler's classic, How to Read a Book. This isn't strictly a study guide, but that itself is a strength, in that Adler explicitly recognises different types of books and different levels of reading.

Records transmit knowledge. Not all human knowlege is equally facilitated by explitic (spoken or written) transmission. Different domains and topics exercise different skills: memorisation in the case of history and a substantial portion of practice lore, structured knowledge in the case of most of the sciences, and what might be considered cerebral skills development in areas such as maths, logic, rhetoric, management, negotiation, sales tactics, and relationship management. These are learnt in different ways, and books play different roles in their education.

Online: https://archive.org/details/howtoreadbook0000adle

Numerous HN submissions: https://hn.algolia.com/?dateRange=all&page=0&prefix=true&que...

Notably: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=12209446 https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=177214 https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=1002360

goodlifeodysseyonAug 10, 2021

It seems like passive consumption, be it of books or tiktok, is unlikely to improve someone very much. You may learn some new facts but I doubt you’ll be able to revise any of your deep assumptions about the world.

That being said, it’s much more natural to actively read than to actively watch TikTok. Thus, in practice, reading is often a better activity than watching TikTok. The first chapter or Robert Adler’s “How to Read a Book” talks about active reading in more detail; he has a few more arguments too.

Side note: unless you are a relativist and think everyone’s view about art is equally correct no matter what, the person who studies art is probably “more correct” than the Instagramer; a lot of art requires cultural context (e.g, familiarity with the Bible and Ovid) to understand. If you are a relativist, then why does nearly everyone agree some art belongs in a museum and a lot of art is garbage that nobody cares about?

kieckerjanonMay 28, 2021

By this standard I am a terribly unsophisticated reader. The majority of the books in my home I did not finish. I used to feel terribly guilty about it. Still do sometimes, but two things helped to ease my unease.

Firstly, I started reading short stories more than novels. A short story can usually be read in one sitting and no-one thinks a collection should be read cover to cover.

Secondly, I realized that most non-fiction is (a) badly written and (b) can be read in a non-linear fashion. Just scan the table of contents and dip into the chapters that catch your attention. Skim first and read closely only if convinced. Use the index for cross referencing. Take notes for extra points.

Oh, and read How To Read A Book, by Mortimer J. Adler.

oldsklgdfthonMay 10, 2021

If you want to get the most out of the books you read, even partially read, it might worth examining a specific strategy.

Specifically, How to Read a Book by Mortimer Adler describes how one should approach reading a book. I find that even the Wikipedia entry is useful.


deregulateMedonJuly 6, 2021

Thinking of Mortimer Adler's How To Read A Book...

Self Help is either a How To book or Philosophy?

Both have quite a bit of value to the individual. Even as the author describes this as feeding the business machine, both self help and philosophy can make you aware when this is happening.

I read these genres and can see clearly why my boss was told to repeat company statements. I sit back and witness corporate propaganda/marketing and am aware they are coming for my brain.

Without self help and philosophy, would I be hacked into mindless compliance?

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