4 Questions to Ask About Any Book

In The Art of Reading: How to be a Demanding Reader, Shane Parrish writes that “reading a book, for any reason, is essentially an effort on your part to ask the book questions (and to answer them to the best of your ability).”

There are 4 questions you must ask about any book you read:

  1. What is the book about?
  2. What is being said in detail?
  3. Is the book true, in whole or in part?
  4. What of it?

Reading a book should be a conversation between you and the author. Presumably he knows more about the subject than you do; if not, you probably should not be bothering with his book. But understanding is a two-way operation; the learner has to question himself and question the teacher. He even has to be willing to argue with the teacher, once he understands what the teacher is saying. Marking a book is literally an expression of your differences or your agreements with the author. It is the highest respect you can pay him.

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