Some Advice on Reading Books from the Maverick Philosopher

I love the Maverick Philosopher’s blog. His blog is a treasure trove of thoughtful articles on philosophy, politics, and the life of the mind. I highly recommend it.

About two years ago, I wanted to ask him about his method of study. Specifically, I was curious to know how he balanced reading widely and reading deeply. Here is the post where he responded. He had some good advice. (Basically, he said that you need to read widely and read deeply. He gives more detail in the post, though.)

If you read books of lasting value, you ought to study what you read, and if you study, you ought to take notes. And if you take notes, you owe it to yourself to assemble them into some sort of coherent commentary. What is the point of studious reading if not to evaluate critically what you read, assimilating the good while rejecting the bad? The forming of the mind is the name of the game.  This won’t occur from passive reading, but only by an active engagement with the material.  The best way to do this is by writing up your own take on it.  Here is where blogging can be useful.  Since blog posts are made public, your self-respect will give you an incentive to work at saying something intelligent.

There was a follow-up post in which he included some comments another reader sent to him about reading deeply versus reading widely. You can read it here.

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