18 Matching Annotations
  1. Nov 2021
    1. Karnofsky suggests that the cost/benefit ratio of how we typically think of reading may not be as simple as we intuitively expect i.e. we think that 'more time' = 'more understanding'.

      If you're simply reading to inform yourself about a topic, it may be worth reading a couple of book reviews, and listening to an interview or two, rather than invest the significant amount of time necessary to really engage with the book.

      A few hours of skimming and reviews/interviews may get you to 25% understanding and retention, which in many cases may be more than enough for your needs of being basically informed on the topic. Compared to the 50 - 100 hours necessary for a deep, analytical engagement with the text, that would only get you to 50% understanding and retention.

      That being said, if your goal is to develop expertise, both Karnofsky and Adler ('How to read a book') suggest that you need a deep engagement with multiple texts.

  2. Sep 2021
    1. https://fs.blog/2021/08/remember-books/

      A solid overview of how to read. Not as long or as in-depth as Mortimer J. Adler, but hits all of the high points in an absorbable manner.

      Definitely worth re-reading...

    2. The goal is not to read as many books as possible. The goal is to gain as much wisdom as you can.
    3. Using models while reading can also help you get more out of the book. Here are some examples of paths they might lead you down: Confirmation bias: Which parts of this book am I ignoring? Does this book confirm my opinions? (Okay, but does it actually affirm your beliefs or are you just seeing what you want to see? If you cannot think of a single point in the book that you disagreed with, confirmation bias is likely distorting your reasoning.) Bayesian updating: What opinions should I change in light of this book? How can I update my worldview using the information in it? Keep in mind the words of John Maynard Keynes: “When the facts change, I change my mind. What do you do, sir?” Incentives: What motivates the characters or the author? What are they seeking? What is their purpose? Here’s how Kurt Vonnegut described the importance of incentives in books: “When I used to teach creative writing, I would tell the students to make their characters want something right away—even if it’s only a glass of water. Characters paralyzed by the meaninglessness of modern life still have to drink water from time to time.” Availability bias: Are the books I have recently read affecting how I perceive this one? How are my immediate past experiences shaping my reading? Am I assigning undue importance to parts of this book because they are salient and memorable? Social proof: How is social proof—the number of copies sold, bestseller status, the opinions of others—affecting my perception of this book? Is the author using social proof to manipulate readers? It is not unusual for authors to buy their way onto bestseller lists, providing social proof that then leads to substantial sales. As a result, mediocre books can end up becoming popular. It’s a classic case of the emperor having no clothes, which smart readers know to look out for. Survivorship bias: Is this (nonfiction) book a representation of reality or is the author failing to account for base rates? Survivorship bias is abundant in business, self-help, and biographical books. A particular case of a successful individual or business might be held as the rule, rather than the exception. Utility: If a book offers advice, does it have practical applications? At what point do diminishing returns set in?

      This is a good list of questions to put into a template to ask both while and after reading a book.

      What other regularly recurring questions might go into such a list?

  3. Aug 2021
    1. The first step in translating experience, either of other men's writing, or of your own life, into the intellectual sphere, is to give it form. Merely to name an item of experience often invites you to explain it; the mere taking of a note from a book is often a prod to reflection. At the same time, of course, the taking of a note is a great aid in comprehending what you are reading.

      on the purpose of taking notes, annotating one's reading, or commonplacing

      highlight is a quote from

      C. Wright Mills' profound "Appendix: On Intellectual Craftsmanship," as found in his book on The Sociological Imagination.[16]

    2. Reading should never be merely passive and consist in the mere absorption or copying of information. It should be critical and engage the material reflectively, being guided by questions such as "Why is this important?" "How does this fit in?" "Is it true?" "Why is the author saying what she is saying?" etc.
    1. William Poole, “The Genres of Milton’sCommonplace Book,” inThe Oxford Handbook of Milton, ed. NicholasMcDowell and Nigel Smith (2009), pp.367–81, argues that since Milton’scommonplace book was an exercise in moral philosophy (the discipline towhich his headings of ethics, economics, and politics correspond), it wascompiled for action.

      John Milton's commonplace book was an exercise in moral philosophy and it was compiled for action, not just a collection.

  4. Jul 2021
    1. Reading and listening are thought of as receiving communication from someone who is actively engaged in giving or sending it. The mistake here is to suppose that re­ceiving communication is like receiving a blow or a legacy or a judgment from the court. On the contrary, the reader or listener is much more like the catcher in a game of baseball. Catching the ball is just as much an activity as pitching or hitting it. The pitcher or batter is the sender in the sense that his activity initiates the motion of the ball. The catcher or fielder is the receiver in the sense that his activity terminates it. Both are active, though the activities are different.

      Reading is a receptive active undertaking in the same way as a catcher receiving a pitch in baseball.

    2. One reader is better than another in proportion as he is capable of a greater range of activity in reading and exerts more effort. He is better if he demands more of himself and of the text before him.
    3. the more active the reading the better.

      How much more active can it be than also actively annotating and note taking?

    4. One of the reasons for this situation is that the very media we have mentioned are so designed as to make thinking seem unnecessary (though this is only an appearance). The packag­ing of intellectual positions and views is one of the most active enterprises of some of the best minds of our day. The viewer of television, the listener to radio, the reader of magazines, is presented with a whole complex of elements-all the way from ingenious rhetoric to carefully selected data and statistics-to make it easy for him to "make up his own mind" with the mini­mum of difficulty and effort. But the packaging is often done so effectively that the viewer, listener, or reader does not make up his own mind at all. Instead, he inserts a packaged opinion into his mind, somewhat like inserting a cassette into a cassette player. He then pushes a button and "plays back" the opinion whenever it seems appropriate to do so. He has performed ac­ceptably without having had to think.

      This is an incredibly important fact. It's gone even further with additional advances in advertising and social media not to mention the slow drip mental programming provided by algorithmic feeds which tend to polarize their readers.

      People simply aren't actively reading their content, comparing, contrasting, or even fact checking it.

      I suspect that this book could use an additional overhaul to cover many of these aspects.

  5. Mar 2021
  6. Feb 2021
    1. I try to keep a note of what I read, which I probably would not do if I was not writing a blog

      I've recently shifted into a frame of mind where I think that, if I'm reading something (something that isn't obviously news or entertainment), I should be making notes. If I'm not making notes, then I'm probably wasting my time reading that particular piece of content.

  7. Jan 2021
    1. Introduce students to the “explode to explain” strategy. When students “explode to explain,” they closely read a key sentence or two in a source, annotate, and practice explaining what they are thinking and learning.

      This is a specific strategy to include in an active reading session.

  8. Oct 2020
    1. If you’d like to differentiate between the various functions a paragraph in a text can have, look out for signal words. For example, the following literal devices may indicate that the function is to build a mental model: schema, allegory, analogy, hypothesis, metaphor, representation, simile, theory. Put a corresponding “model” mark next to these.
  9. Dec 2015
    1. slow readers down

      Does the slow reading movement parallel the slow food one? In some ways, there might be a point against “consumption” in both cases. Or, at least, utilitarianism.

  10. Nov 2015