How to Read a Book, Paperback Book
4 out of 5 (25 ratings)


With half a million copies in print, How to Read a Book is the best and most successful guide to reading comprehension for the general reader, completely rewritten and updated with new material. Originally published in 1940, this book is a rare phenomenon, a living classic that introduces and elucidates the various levels of reading and how to achieve them-from elementary reading, through systematic skimming and inspectional reading, to speed reading.

Readers will learn when and how to "judge a book by its cover," and also how to X-ray it, read critically, and extract the author's message from the text. Also included is instruction in the different techniques that work best for reading particular genres, such as practical books, imaginative literature, plays, poetry, history, science and mathematics, philosophy and social science works. Finally, the authors offer a recommended reading list and supply reading tests you can use measure your own progress in reading skills, comprehension, and speed.


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 426 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Literary studies: general
  • ISBN: 9780671212094

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Showing 1 - 5 of 25 reviews.

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Review by

This is a classic by Adler. Howard Hendricks says that this book will change your life...I on the other hand wouldn't go that far. He writes on a topic that people need to hear to read. It's easy to read words but to be able to make meaning out of those words and make meaning out of types of literature is a different story. I found this read quite dry but nevertheless learned some. I probably need to read it again and it can teach me alot more, he's recommended by some of the greatest scholars alive

Review by

The most comprehensive book about the art of reading on the market. This is a must read for anyone who reads to understand any book. This one book explores the various levels of reading, types of reading, types of literature and expository works. You cannot call yourself a "reader" until you've read this book!

Review by

I have read this at least twice and recommend it to anyone going to college or who takes reading seriously.

Review by

I hate to say this, but I think maybe I found this book too late. I majored in English in college, and I had to read a lot, so maybe I already taught myself these strategies the hard way. I really was excited about this book and wanted to get into it, but I found myself employing the book’s strategies while reading the book. I skimmed, I skipped sections that weren’t immediately relevant, and I disagree with reading books you don’t really want to read. Read what’s fun and what strikes your interest or makes you smile. Read the ones you don’t want to read when they’re assigned in school. That’s my take.

Review by

I had no idea what I was in for when I bought this book. I bought it with the hopes that I could learn some ideas for my boys to help them understand, if not enjoy, what they were reading. It was huge. However, I plowed through it and I'm glad I did. Not only did it give me helpful ideas for the boys, but it gave me inspiration for my own reading. I'm not sure my aspirations are as high as the authors, but it did give me confidence to tackle the more difficult books I have been collecting to read over the years. Now I just need to stay awake!

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