Reading through the books you plan to carry in your fish section may seem like a daunting task, but one that’s required in order to ensure you provide the best advice possible to your customers.
Mortimer Adler’s 1940 classic, “How to Read a Book” tackles just this issue and can teach you how to read all over again – for basic understanding, rather than minute detail. Using his time-tested techniques for reading, it is possible to reduce a stack of dozens of possibilities into just a few books you know are worthy of carrying in your store.
Book buyers, academics and plenty of regular people use Adler’s guidelines and advice to read dozens of books in a short period of time. The methods he describes are designed to promote reading for understanding in the broadest sense – when one doesn’t have the luxury of time to pour over volumes of literature. Think of it as speed reading for dummies.
The Adler Method
The Adler method for reading works of non-fiction sounds harder than it truly is. Understanding, he says, begins with reading a book three times. Reading in the traditional sense is not required, though, rather glancing at the material with three separate goals in mind. The method, he says, results in understanding the scope and quality of the book in question.
The first time you look at a book, read it for topic understanding and basic structure. Concentrate on the subject and how it will be addressed by studying the table of contents and any other divisions that may be present but not included in the table of contents. Also, in this first read, attempt to grasp the problems the writer will attempt to solve.
In the further second reading of any book, Adler suggests examining the work to find each of the basic assertions the author makes about the problems they’d like to address. Look then at how the author supports the arguments they make toward solving the problems brought forward.
The final reading of any book is the critical portion. Based on what the reader knows about the author’s arguments and support for each of those arguments, the reader is able to effectively judge the merit of that book. If each issue is not clearly stated and fully addressed with support, it can be judged ineffective.
Adler’s instructions for reading have evolved, over the years, into what scholars refer to as the Structure-Proposition-Evaluation method for determining the effectiveness of any piece of writing. You can bet that, if any book in your sights doesn’t pass step three, it’s not worth your customer’s time and money. <HOME>
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