Mortimer J. Adler’s "How to Read a Book Blog Post"

Brooke Ventura
Shane Rosenthal
Wednesday, May 1st 2013
May/Jun 2013

Rule 1: Classify

Is the purpose of the article/post to entertain, inform, edify,instruct? Most pieces will fit into one of these categories, so pick one and skim it through that lens.

Rule 2: Skim to Scan

A good skimmer is a master in the art of scanning. He is one who has learned to pick out the important words in an article as his eyes move rapidly down the page (e.g., “terror,” “bombing,” “hotel,” Cairo,” “investigation”).

Rule 3: Time is of the Essence

This is the skimmer’s chief consideration. The important question is not, “Have I acquired a thorough and careful understanding of the material at hand?” Instead, it is, “Can I get a clever tweet out of this?” A good skimmer can generally get through the gist of a CNN article or blog post by sampling the first few paragraphs.

Rule 4: Scroll, Don’t Click

If the skimmer is compelled to click on another page to continue scanning the article, he is not a skimmer; he’s a reader. This sort of person will be found printing out the entire article, underlining (sometimes with a ruler) various sections, and writing notes in the margins. This is to be avoided at all costs, since it requires both time and attention, neither of which he can afford to give.

Wednesday, May 1st 2013

“Modern Reformation has championed confessional Reformation theology in an anti-confessional and anti-theological age.”

Picture of J. Ligon Duncan, IIIJ. Ligon Duncan, IIISenior Minister, First Presbyterian Church
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