How To Read a Book



Write me a blog post about the topic ‘How To Read a Book’ by Mortimer Adler. This will include a summary of part 2 of the book ‘Analytical Reading ‘ and a summary of ‘Syntopical Reading ‘

Reading a book can be a rewarding and enriching experience, but it can also be intimidating if you don’t know where to start. In “How To Read a Book,” Mortimer Adler provides a comprehensive guide to reading and understanding any type of book, from fiction to non-fiction.

In part 2 of the book, Adler focuses on “Analytical Reading,” which is the process of breaking down a book into its component parts and analyzing each one in order to understand the overall message and purpose of the work. This type of reading is particularly useful for non-fiction books, where the author is trying to convey information or make an argument.

To begin the process of analytical reading, Adler suggests starting by identifying the author’s main point or thesis, as well as any subpoints or supporting evidence. This can be done by reading the introduction, conclusion, and any other section of the book that provides an overview of the main ideas.

Next, Adler recommends taking notes on the book as you read, highlighting key passages, and writing down any questions or thoughts you may have. This will help you to keep track of the author’s ideas and arguments and make it easier to refer back to specific parts of the book later on.

Another important aspect of analytical reading is evaluating the quality and reliability of the information presented in the book. Adler advises readers to consider the author’s credentials, the sources they used, and any biases they may have. By critically examining the evidence, readers can better understand the strengths and weaknesses of the book and form their own opinions about the ideas presented.

In addition to analytical reading, Adler also discusses “Syntopical Reading,” which involves comparing and contrasting different books on a similar topic. This type of reading is useful for gaining a deeper understanding of a subject by looking at it from multiple perspectives and considering different viewpoints.

To do syntopical reading, Adler suggests first selecting a group of books on the same topic and then creating an outline of the main points and arguments made by each author. From there, you can compare and contrast the ideas presented in each book, looking for areas of agreement and disagreement and considering how each author approaches the topic.

Overall, “How To Read a Book” provides a wealth of guidance for anyone looking to get more out of their reading experiences. By following Adler’s recommendations for analytical and syntopical reading, you can gain a deeper understanding of any book and enrich your own knowledge and understanding of the world.

What do you make of this summary?

Having been feeling a little under the weather so I thought I would get some help from Chat GPT. The hype in the AI space currently. Honestly, I was surprised that it could pull information from a specific book and put together an article in about 4-5 seconds once I had written the instruction.

Metamorphosis- A review

Metamorphosis is a short story written by Franz Kafka. It’s written over a century ago, yet many people  today can somewhat relate to the transformed Gregor Samsa.

Gregor Samsa wakes up to find himself transformed into an insect. His mind is filled with the worry about getting late to work. How is he supposed to explain his odd and strange situation to those around him?

Gregor works as a travelling salesman. He is the bread winner for his family and feels stuck in a monotonous routine that he has come to accept as everyday reality. He mindlessly follows the routine but after being transformed. His is a predicament! As an insect, he struggles to get up from the bed and get ready for work. Never being late, his manager shows up. After he finally manages to open the door, his dad pushes him back into the room with a stick seeing his horrible sight. Nobody seems to understand his speech. His insect sounds leave him feeling alone suddenly.

His family realises that their son has been transformed into an insect. However, they don’t know what to do to change him back or what help to get him.

Many of us at times feel like the insect stuck in a circle, routine or circumstances beyond which there is no life. Or if there is, there is no stepping outside. Here the insect from my point of view means Gregor has turned useless and is not a commodity useful to those around him anymore.

If in real life, it weren’t transforming into an insect, many people are suddenly left feeling alone and useless after tragic accidents or life circumstances.

Though it is an interesting concept, and indeed that many battle within their lives and minds. I think Franz Kafka also wrote this story because of his own personal life. He felt like an insect after he failed to live up to his father’s expectations.

Furthermore Gregor’s family suffers from deteriorating living standards as the bread winner goes out of work. His family is forced to work. He is left alone in his room. Inside the room, Gregor is looked after for some time by his sister but then upon, new tenants moving in the house and things moving forwards rapidly, everyone seems to forget about Gregor and instead speak about the nuisance that the insect is causing them. The tenants leave the house after they threaten to sue Mr. Samsa but he forces them out.

In the end Gregor dies a lonely death.

When I think about the insect that Gregor turns into, it sounds awfully depressing viewing life from such perspective. It makes me wonder a century ago, why Franz Kafka thought like an individual who didn’t seem to have a purpose in life. It seems that Franz Kafka was full of doubts, confusion. Even though he wrote many series of novels, he didn’t publish any of them. Despite having a Jewish heritage, Franz Kafka was disconnected from his community, beliefs and sense of higher being. Mind you, I am only contemplating about this story and Kafka’s way of thinking in particular. This story is filled with symbols and metaphors to me. The main metaphor being Gregor turning useless and a burden referred in the story as an insect. I found this other review quite good on Franz Kafka himself. One thing for sure, Metamorphosis caused me to look into and read on who Franz Kafka is. I have heard his name in many online lectures and videos. In understanding the author, I want to understand what he has written about. But I am pretty sure, all of this might swiftly change or transform into something else once I pick up another one of his books that dives into a different theme.

In summary, I cannot grasp Kafka’s thinking by just reading Metamorphosis, I would have to read more on Franz Kafka himself and read more of his books to figure out what other themes and ideas he delves into.