Notes on "How to Read"

January 07, 2019

These are some unstructured notes from a free video published by Farnam Street on how to read. These notes are just a loose collection, so don't take them as definitive or even complete, but they seemed useful.


  1. Read from multiple perspectives

    • Read many perspectives from multiple authors
    • "Read syntopically"
  2. Effort and concentration

    • Skim and superficial reading to filter and prepare for reading
    • Determine who is worth listening to, what their positions are
    • Cluster reading close to each other temporally

"If you understand the general principle, you don't need to see every one of its examples." ~ Thoreau

-- Five steps to read well --

  1. Find relevant passages to read

    • Do an intelligent/thorough skim of the material
    • Create bibliography to figure out how to get the most out of the material
    • Read it all comparitively
  2. Translate vocabulary
  3. Clear questions on what you want answered
  4. Define the issue

    • What are the different takes from things?
  5. Analyze the discussions

"It's an illusion that we actually understand the past after learning about it."