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Get mah Nerd on

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Saturday, April 18 2009, 19:55:54 #41487     Get mah Nerd on

I like books. A lot. My parents went to great lengths to ensure that my brother and I would not only have every chance to learn to read well, but to see how much fun and entertainment it could offer. They succeeded, but it seems that there is always more to learn, even in fields that appear deceptively shallow.

Enter "How to Read a Book", by Mortimer Adler and Charles Van Doren, written in the '40's.

I found this book today in a small collection my dad gave me a while back. After reading the introduction and a few pages, I put it down, and wondered: where has this book been? How has it escaped my notice all this time?

I have not read but about 50 pages so far, but I am prepared to call it one of the most important books I've ever read. Here's why: Information or books mean different things to different people. Depending on what interests you have, combined with gaps in your knowledge, a book can clue you in to all kinds of things, sometimes having little or nothing to do with the author's main focus. This book accurately describes the deficiencies in most people's reading ability, but in doing so, also sheds light on deficiencies in their learning and thinking processes. This is something that I have been wrestling with for quite some time.

The book makes a distinction between "reading for knowledge" and "reading for understanding". It is a good metaphor for the complaints I have had with people for most of my life. They have the ability to learn, yes. Oftentimes, quicker than my own. But what they learn is severely limited. They pick up that this or that is the case; a fact here, a fact there. They may even be able to link them together. But observing and questioning things with the intent to increase one's understanding is [i]work[i], and often leads to discovering unpleasant things, like how wrong your opinion was previously, or how little you know about something. So they don't do it. The type of learning I am describing requires a certain mindset, which is a sort of 'open-humbleness'. The search for truth does not leave much room for ego.

These are the sorts of things my mind is often fixated on. I wish I could bring this joy of discovery to other people, but you only really learn things when you are ready. I guess that's why I only found the book today.
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Friday, April 24 2009, 16:50:30 #41519     

Interesting. I might try to pick up a cheap used copy with the little money I have left on an amazon gift card.
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Friday, April 24 2009, 17:07:22 #41521     

Nevermind that. Found a digital copy Smile
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Friday, April 24 2009, 19:45:47 #41524     

How to Read a Book is like the autodidact Bible
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|DRC| psycheus

Saturday, April 25 2009, 13:06:37 #41539     

Hey Slim where did you find it?

This is a very interesting topic and a very different perspective from the norm, I like it. I'm also an autodidact (self-learning fool), and have been my whole life. Never like to learn by force (like most schooling I've had). It's amazing where your own curiosity will lead you.

Noderoom, Here's one to blow your mind if you really enjoy books and information..

The Field: The Quest for the Secret Force of the Universe by Lynne McTaggart
The Intention Experiment: Using Your Thoughts to Change Your Life and the World by Lynne McTaggart

Both very interesting about energy and all that stuff. Most people don't even want to open their minds to see all possibles, they are end-less.
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Saturday, April 25 2009, 16:12:18 #41553     

It sounds very similar to the "Law of Attraction" thing. I have investigated this to an extent a while back and didn't find any evidence that thoughts have 'power' as they say. What I did find useful in the book "The Secret" was the idea of being happy in the moment, of your own volition, instead of your emotions being completely at the mercy of whatever comes up in life.
I enjoy discussions like this but we should probably start a new thread
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Sunday, May 3 2009, 06:08:51 #41683     

I found it on IRC on undernet in #books I think

You want it? PM me your email or something and I'll send.
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