The Well-Educated Mind or How to Read a Book

The Well-Educated Mind: A Guide to the Classical Education You Never Had - Susan Wise Bauer

I read Mortimer Adler's "How to Read a Book" a few months ago and decided to see if Susan Wise Bauer had anything else to say on the matter, so picked up this book. The Well-Educated Mind is a how-to guide for reading books the way an academic scholar would, i.e by making use of the trivium: grammar, logic and rhetoric. The second section of the book provides a list of recommended texts in five categories (novels, autobiography, history, drama and poetry, and history of science).

 

Both these book compliment each other, but the Adler book is more comprehensive and detailed. However, unlike Adler, Bauer doesn't assume you already know how to read a book and gives some direction on the mechanics of reading a book (how to move your eyes and remedial reading and vocabulary help). There are some differences between the method as provided by Bauer and that of Adler, so it is a case of determining which method works better for the reader. I was also disappointed by the lack of attention Bauer gives to scientific reading material. She covers the history of science in a superficial manner, but generally ignores other scientific works.

 

 

I can't say I think very much of the advice to scribble and dog-ear a book like that though.