550 Top Mortimer J. Adler Quotes To Inspire You

“In the case of good books, the point is not to see how many of them you can get through, but rather how many can get through to you.” ~~~ Mortimer J. Adler Quotes

“True freedom is impossible without a mind made free by discipline.” ~~~ Mortimer J. Adler Quotes

“Reading is a basic tool in the living of a good life.” ~~~ Mortimer J. Adler Quotes

“The person who says he knows what he thinks but cannot express it usually does not know what he thinks.” ~~~ Mortimer J. Adler Quotes

“….a good book can teach you about the world and about yourself. You learn more than how to read better; you also learn more about life. You become wiser. Not just more knowledgeable – books that provide nothing but information can produce that result. But wiser, in the sense that you are more deeply aware of the great and enduring truths of human life.”

“The great authors were great readers, and one way to understand them is to read the books they read.” ~~~ Mortimer J. Adler Quotes

“To agree without understanding is inane. To disagree without understanding is impudent.” ~~~ Mortimer J. Adler Quotes

“The ability to retain a child’s view of the world with at the same time a mature understanding of what it means to retain it, is extremely rare – and a person who has these qualities is likely to be able to contribute something really important to our thinking.”

“Wonder is the beginning of wisdom in learning from books as well as from nature.” ~~~ Mortimer J. Adler Quotes

“There are genuine mysteries in the world that mark the limits of human knowing and thinking. Wisdom is fortified, not destroyed, by understanding its limitations. Ignorance does not make a fool as surely as self-deception.” ~~~ Mortimer J. Adler Quotes

“Is it too much to expect from the schools that they train their students not only to interpret but to criticize; that is, to discriminate what is sound from error and falsehood, to suspend judgement if they are not convinced, or to judge with reason if they agree or disagree?”

“The complexities of adult life get in the way of the truth. The great philosophers have always been able to clear away the complexities and see simple distinctions – simple once they are stated, vastly difficult before. If we are to follow them we too must be childishly simple in our questions – and maturely wise in our replies..”

“A lecture has been well described as the process whereby the notes of the teacher become the notes of the student without passing through the mind of either.” ~~~ Mortimer J. Adler Quotes

“A good book deserves an active reading. The activity of reading does not stop with the work of understanding what a book says. It must be completed by the work of criticism, the work of judging. The undemanding reader fails to satisfy this requirement, probably even more than he fails to analyze and interpret. He not only makes no effort to understand; he also dismisses a book simply by putting it aside and forgetting it. Worse than faintly praising it, he damns it by giving it no critical consideration whatever.”

“If your friend wishes to read your ‘Plutarch’s Lives,’ ‘Shakespeare,’ or ‘The Federalist Papers,’ tell him gently but firmly, to buy a copy. You will lend him your car or your coat – but your books are as much a part of you as your head or your heart.”

“If a book is easy and fits nicely into all your language conventions and thought forms, then you probably will not grow much from reading it. It may be entertaining, but not enlarging to your understanding. It’s the hard books that count. Raking is easy, but all you get is leaves; digging is hard, but you might find diamonds.”

“… The person who, at any stage of a conversation, disagrees, should at least hope to reach agreement in the end. He should be as much prepared to have his own mind changed as seek to change the mind of another … No one who looks upon disagreement as an occasion for teaching another should forget that it is also an occasion for being taught.”

“If you ask a living teacher a question, he will probably answer you. If you are puzzled by what he says, you can save yourself the trouble of thinking by asking him what he means. If, however, you ask a book a question, you must answer it yourself. In this respect a book is like nature or the world. When you question it, it answers you only to the extent that you do the work of thinking an analysis yourself.”

“Imaginative literature primarily pleases rather than teaches. It is much easier to be pleased than taught, but much harder to know why one is pleased. Beauty is harder to analyze than truth.”

“The purpose of learning is growth, and our minds, unlike our bodies, can continue growing as we continue to live.” ~~~ Mortimer J. Adler Quotes

“The truly great books are the few books that are over everybody’s head all of the time.” ~~~ Mortimer J. Adler Quotes

“If you never ask yourself any questions about the meaning of a passage, you cannot expect the book to give you any insight you don’t already possess” ~~~ Mortimer J. Adler Quotes

“You must be able to say, with reasonable certainty, “I understand,” before you can say “I agree,” or “I disagree,” or “I suspend judgment.” ~~~ Mortimer J. Adler Quotes

“The best protection against propaganda of any sort is the recognition of it for what it is. Only hidden and undetected oratory is really insidious. What reaches the heart without going through the mind is likely to bounce back and put the mind out of business. Propaganda taken in that way is like a drug you do not know you are swallowing. The effect is mysterious; you do not know afterwards why you feel or think the way you do.”

“If you are reading in order to become a better reader, you cannot read just any book or article. You will not improve as a reader if all you read are books that are well within your capacity. You must tackle books that are beyond you, or, as we have said, books that are over your head. Only books of that sort will make you stretch your mind. And unless you stretch, you will not learn.”

“There have always been literate ignoramuses who have read too widely and not well. The Greeks had a name for such a mixture of learning and folly which might be applied to the bookish but poorly read of all ages. They are all sophomores.”

“Sometimes it feels like I’m thinking against the wind.” ~~~ Mortimer J. Adler Quotes

“In the case of good books, the point is not to see how many of them you can get through, but rather how many can get through to you” ~~~ Mortimer J. Adler Quotes

“Habits are formed by the repetition of particular acts. They are strengthened by an increase in the number of repeated acts. Habits are also weakened or broken, and contrary habits are formed by the repetition of contrary acts.”

“The failure in reading -the omnipresent verbalism- of those who have not been trained in the arts of grammar and logic shows how lack of such discipline results in slavery to words rather than mastery of them.”

“Good books are over your head; they would not be good for you if they were not. And books that are over your head weary you unless you can reach up to them and pull yourself up their level.”

“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, 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.”

“Books are absent teachers.”

“… always keep in mind that an article of faith is not something that the faithful assume. Faith, for those who have it, is the most certain form of knowledge, not a tentative opinion.”

“Finally, do not try to understand every word or page of a difficult book the first time through. This is the most important rule of all; it is the essence of inspectional reading. Do not be afraid to be, or to seem to be, superficial. Race through even the hardest book. You will then be prepared to read it well the second time.” ~~~ Mortimer J. Adler Quotes

“We are not told, or not told early enough so that it sinks in, that mathematics is a language, and that we can learn it like any other, including our own. We have to learn our own language twice, first when we learn to speak it, second when we learn to read it. Fortunately, mathematics has to be learned only once, since it is almost wholly a written language.” ~~~ Mortimer J. Adler Quotes

“Great speed in reading is a dubious achievement; it is of value only if what you have to read is not worth reading. A better formula is this: Every book should be read no more slowly than it deserves, and no more quickly than you can read it with satisfaction and comprehension.”

“When you buy a book, you establish a property right in it, just as you do in clothes or furniture when you buy and pay for them. But the act of purchase is actually only the prelude to possession in the case of a book. Full ownership of a book only comes when you have made it a part of yourself, and the best way to make yourself a part of it—which comes to the same thing—is by writing in it.”

“Even when you have been somewhat enlightened by what you have read, you are called upon to continue the serach for significance.” ~~~ Mortimer J. Adler Quotes

“… a practical problem can only be solved by action itself. When your practical problem is how to earn a living, a book on how to make friends and influence people cannot solve it, though it may suggest things to do. Nothing short of the doing solves the problem. It is solved only by earning a living.”

“All books will become light in proportion as you find light in them.” ~~~ Mortimer J. Adler Quotes

“You must tackle books that are beyond you, or, as we have said, books that are over your head. Only books of that sort will make you stretch your mind. And unless you stretch, you will not learn.”

“A good rule always describes the ideal performance.” ~~~ Mortimer J. Adler Quotes

“Men are creatures of passion and prejudice. The language they must use to communicate is an imperfect medium, clouded by emotion and colored by interest, as well as inadequately transparent for thought.” ~~~ Mortimer J. Adler Quotes

“…It is only obvious that teaching is a very special art, sharing withonly two other arts-argriculture and medicin-an exceptionally important characteristic.” ~~~ Mortimer J. Adler Quotes

“The tragedy of being both rational and animal seems to consist in having to choose between duty and desire rather than in making any particular choice” ~~~ Mortimer J. Adler Quotes

“To be informed is to know simply that something is the case. To be enlightened is to know, in addition, what it is all about: why it is the case, what its connections are with other facts, in what respects it is the same, in what respects it is different, and so forth.
This distinction is familiar in terms of the differences between being able to remember something and being able to explain it. If you remember what an author says, you have learned something from reading him. If what he says is true, you have even learned something about the world. But whether it is a fact about the book or a fact about the world that you have learned, you have gained nothing but information if you have exercised only your memory. You have not been enlightened. Enlightenment is achieved only when, in addition to knowing what an author says, you know what he means and why he says it.”

“The great writers have always been great readers, but that does not mean that they read all the books that, in their day, were listed as the indispensable ones. In many cases, they read fewer books than are now required in most of our colleges, but what they did read, they read well. Because they had mastered these books, they became peers with their authors. They were entitled to become authorities in their own right. In the natural course of events, a good student frequently becomes a teacher, and so, too, a good reader becomes an author.”

“To use a good book as a sedative is conspicuous waste.”

“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.”

“Montaigne speaks of “an abecedarian ignorance that precedes knowledge, and a doctoral ignorance that comes after it.” The first is the ignorance of those who, not knowing their ABC’s, cannot read at all. The second is the ignorance of those who have misread many books. They are, as Alexander Pope rightly calls them, bookful blockheads, ignorantly read. There have always been literate ignoramuses who have read too widely and not well. The Greeks had a name for such a mixture of learning and folly which might be applied to the bookish but poorly read of all ages. They are all sophomores.”

“Человек, который много, но плохо читал, заслуживает скорее жалости, чем похвалы, за то, что так бездарно потратил время и усилия.” ~~~ Mortimer J. Adler Quotes

“the essence of tragedy is time, or rather the lack of it. There is no problem in any Greek tragedy that could not have been solved if there had been enough time, but there is never enough. Decisions, choices have to be made in a moment, there is no time to think and weigh the consequences; and, since even tragic heroes are fallible—especially fallible, perhaps—the decisions are wrong. It is easy for us to see what should have been done, but would we have been able to see in time? That is the question that you should always ask in reading any Greek tragedy.”

“Only hidden and undetected oratory is really insidious. What reaches the heart without going through the mind is likely to bounce back and put the mind out of business.” ~~~ Mortimer J. Adler Quotes

“We hope you have not made the error of supposing that to criticize is always to disagree. (…) To agree is just as much of an exercise of critical judgment on your part as to disagree.”

“We do not have to know everything about something in order to understand it; too many facts are often as much of an obstacle to understanding as too few. There is a sense in which we moderns are inundated with facts to the detriment of understanding.”

“THE FIRST STAGE OF ANALYTICAL READING, OR RULES FOR FINDING WHAT A BOOK IS ABOUT 1. Classify the book according to kind and subject matter. 2. State what the whole book is about with the utmost brevity. 3. Enumerate its major parts in their order and relation, and outline these parts as you have outlined the whole. 4. Define the problem or problems the author is trying to solve.”

“A good performance, like a human life, is a temporal affair—a process in time. It is good as a whole through being good in its parts, and through their good order to one another. It cannot be called good as a whole until it is finished. During the process all we can say of it, if we speak precisely, is that it is becoming good. The same is true of a whole human life. Just as the whole performance never exists at any one time, but is a process of becoming, so a human life is also a performance in time and a process of becoming. And just as the goodness that attaches to the performance as a whole does not attach to any of its parts, so the goodness of a human life as a whole belongs to it alone, and not to any of its parts or phases.”

“When we speak of someone as “well-read,” we should have this ideal in mind. Too often, we use that phrase to mean the quantity rather than the quality of reading. A person who has read widely but not well deserves to be pitied rather than praised. As Thomas Hobbes said, “If I read as many books as most men do, I would be as dull-witted as they are.”

“…The first dictionaries were glossaries of Homeric words, intended to help Romans read the Iliad and Odyssey as well as other Greek literature employing the ‘archaic’ Homeric vocabulary.”

“Philosophy is like science and unlike history in that it seeks general truths rather than an account of particular events, either in the near or distant past.”

“As arts, grammar and logic are concerned with language in relation to thought and thought in relation to language. That is why skill in both reading and writing is gained through these arts.”

“The characteristics of this kind of reading are perhaps summed up in the word “orthodox,” which is almost always applicable. The word comes from two Greek roots, meaning “right opinion.” These are books for which there is one and only one right reading; any other reading or interpretation is fraught with peril, from the loss of an “A” to the damnation of one’s soul. This characteristic carries with it an obligation. The faithful reader of a canonical book is obliged to make sense out of it and to find it true in one or another sense of “true.” If he cannot do this by himself, he is obliged to go to someone who can. This may be a priest or a rabbi, or it may be his superior in the party hierarchy, or it may be his professor. In any case, he is obliged to accept the resolution of his problem that is offered him. He reads essentially without freedom; but in return for this he gains a kind of satisfaction that is possibly never obtained when reading other books.”

“The rules for reading yourself to sleep are easier to follow than are the rules for staying awake while reading. Get into bed in a comfortable position, make sure the light is inadequate enough to cause slight eyestrain, choose a book that is either terribly difficult or terribly boring—in any event, one that you do not really care whether you read or not—and you will be asleep in a few minutes. Those who are experts in relaxing with a book do not have to wait for nightfall. A comfortable chair in the library will do any time”

“…We must also realize-students, teachers, and laymen alike-that even when we have accomplished the task that lies before us, we will not have accomplished the whole task. We must be more than a nation of functional literates. We must become a nation of truly competent readers, recognizing all that the word competent implies. Nothing less wil satisfy the needs of the world that is coming.”

“Enlightenment is achieved only when, in addition to knowing what an author says, you know what he means and why he says it.” ~~~ Mortimer J. Adler Quotes

“You will find that your comprehension of any book will be enormously increased if you only go to the trouble of finding its important words, identifying their shifting meanings, and coming to terms. Seldom does such a small change in habit have such a large effect.”

“The trouble is that many people regard disagreement as unrelated to either teaching or being taught. They think that everything is just a matter of opinion. I have mine, and you have yours; and our right to our opinions is as inviolable as our right to private property. On such a view, communication cannot be profitable if the profit to be gained is an increase in knowledge. Conversation is hardly better than a ping-pong game of opposed opinions, a game in which no one keeps score, no one wins, and everyone is satisfied because he does not lose – that is, he ends up holding the same opinions he started with.”

“Reading is like skiing. When done well, when done by an expert, both reading and skiing are graceful, harmonious, activities. When done by a beginner, both are awkward, frustrating, and slow.
Learning to ski is one of the most humiliating experiences an adult can undergo (that is one reason to start young). After all, an adult has been walking for a long time; he knows where his feet are; he knows how to put one foot in front of the other in order to get somewhere. But as soon as he puts skis on his feet, it is as though he had to learn to walk all over again. He slips and slides, falls down, has trouble getting up, gets his skis crossed, tumbles again, and generally looks- and feels- like a fool.
Even the best instructor seems at first to be of no help. The ease with which the instructor performs actions that he says are simple but that the student secretly believes are impossible is almost insulting. How can you remember everything the instructors says you have to remember? Bend your knees. Look down the hill Keep your weight on the downhill ski. Keep your back straight, but nevertheless lean forward. The admonitions seem endless-how can you think about all that and still ski?
The point about skiing, of course, is that you should not be thinking about the separate acts that, together, make a smooth turn or series of linked turns- instead, you should merely be looking ahead of you down the hill, anticipating bumps and other skiers, enjoying the feel of the cold wind on your cheeks, smiling with pleasure at the fluid grace of your body as you speed down the mountain. In other words, you must learn to forget the separate acts in order to perform all of them, and indeed any of them, well. But in order to forget them as separate acts, you have to learn them first as separate acts. only then can you put them together to become a good skier.”

“What reaches the heart without going through the mind is likely to bounce back and put the mind out of business.” ~~~ Mortimer J. Adler Quotes

“Getting more information is learning, and so is coming to understand what you did not understand before. But there is an important difference between these two kinds of learning.”

“In short, we can only learn from our “betters”.” ~~~ Mortimer J. Adler Quotes

“You cannot begin to deal with terms, propositions, and arguments—the elements of thought—until you can penetrate beneath the surface of language.” ~~~ Mortimer J. Adler Quotes

“The possession of the truth is the highest goal of the human mind.” ~~~ Mortimer J. Adler Quotes

“We are tied down, all our days and for the greater part of our days, to the commonplace. That is where contact with the great thinkers, great literature helps. In their company we are still in the ordinary world, but it is the ordinary world transfigured and seen through the eyes of wisdom and genius. And some of their genius becomes ours. . .” in The Great Conversation”

“One of the most familiar tricks of the orator or propagandist is to leave certain things unsaid, things that are highly relevant to the argument, but that might be challenged if they were made explicit. While”

“Think of yourself as a detective looking for clues to a book’s general theme or idea, alert for anything that will make it clearer. Heeding the suggestions we have made will help you sustain this attitude. You will be surprised to find out how much time you will save, pleased to see how much more you will grasp, and relieved to discover how much easier it can be than you supposed.”

“Reading well, which means reading actively, is thus not only a good in itself, nor is it merely a means to advancement in our work or career. It also serves to keep our minds alive and growing.”

“The art of reading, in short, includes all of the same skills that are involved in the art of unaided discovery: keenness of observation, readily available memory, range of imagination, and, of course, an intellect trained in analysis and reflection.”

“understanding is a two-way operation; the learner has to question himself and question the teacher.” ~~~ Mortimer J. Adler Quotes

“The reader who fails to ponder, or at least mark, the words he does not understand is headed for disaster.” ~~~ Mortimer J. Adler Quotes

“The human mind is as naturally sensitive to arguments as the eye is to colors. (There may be some people who are argument-blind!) But the eye will not see if it is not kept open, and the mind will not follow an argument if it is not awake.”

“If an author does not give reasons for his propositions, they can only be treated as expressions of personal opinion on his part.” ~~~ Mortimer J. Adler Quotes

“To this day, most institutions of higher learning either do not know how to instruct students in reading beyond the elementary level, or lack the facilities and personnel to do so.”

“The path of true learning is strewn with rocks, not roses.” ~~~ Mortimer J. Adler Quotes

“The vice of “verbalism” can be defined as the bad habit of using words without regard for the thoughts they should convey and without awareness of the experiences to which they should refer. It is playing with words. As the two tests we have suggested indicate, “verbalism” is the besetting sin of those who fail to read analytically. Such readers never get beyond the words. They possess what they read as a verbal memory that they can recite emptily. One of the charges made by certain modern educators against the liberal arts is that they tend to verbalism, but just the opposite seems to be the case. The failure in reading—the omnipresent verbalism—of those who have not been trained in the arts of grammar and logic shows how lack of such discipline results in slavery to words rather than mastery of them.”

“It is traditional in America to criticize the schools; for more than a century, parents, self-styled experts, and educators themselves have attacked and indicted the educational system.”

“Read the book through, undeterred and undismayed by the paragraphs, footnotes, comments, and references that escape you. If you let yourself get stalled, if you allow yourself to be tripped up by any one of these stumbling blocks, you are lost.”

“Perhaps we know more about the world than we used to, and insofar as knowledge is prerequisite to understanding, that is all to the good. But knowledge is not as much a prerequisite to understanding as is commonly supposed. We do not have to know everything about something in order to understand it; too many facts are often as much of an obstacle to understanding as too few. There is a sense in which we moderns are inundated with facts to the detriment of understanding.”

“As Thomas Hobbes said, “If I read as many books as most men do, I would be as dull-witted as they are.” ~~~ Mortimer J. Adler Quotes

“The student can read as fast as his mind will let him, not as slow as his eyes make him.” ~~~ Mortimer J. Adler Quotes

“Don’t try to resist the effect that a work of imaginative literature has on you.” ~~~ Mortimer J. Adler Quotes

“The mind can atrophy, like the muscles, if it is not used.” ~~~ Mortimer J. Adler Quotes

“Remember Bacon’s recommendation to the reader: “Read not to contradict and confute; nor to believe and take for granted; nor to find talk and discourse; but to weigh and consider.”

“Perhaps you are beginning to see how essential a part of reading it is to be perplexed and know it. Wonder is the beginning of wisdom in learning from books as well as from nature. If you never ask yourself any questions about the meaning of a passage, you cannot expect the book to give you any insight you do not already possess.”

“Being relevant simply consists in paying close attention to the point that is being talked about and saying nothing that is not significantly related to it.”

“Every book should be read no more slowly than it deserves, and no more quickly than you can read it with satisfaction and comprehension.”

“(…) it may be seriously questioned whether the advent of modern communications media has much enhanced our understanding of the world in which we live.(…) Perhaps we know more about the world than we used to, and insofar as knowledge is prerequisite to understanding, that is all to the good. But knowledge is not as much a prerequisite to understanding as is commonly supposed. We do not have to know everything about something in order to understand it; too many facts are often as much of an obstacle to understanding as too few. There is a sense in which we moderns are inundated with facts to the detriment of understanding. (…) 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 performer acceptably without having had to think.”

“The reader tries to uncover the skeleton that the book conceals. The author starts with the skeleton and tries to cover it up. His aim is to conceal the skeleton artistically or, in other words, to put flesh on the bare bones. If he is a good writer, he does not bury a puny skeleton under a mass of fat; on the other hand, neither should the flesh be too thin, so that the bones show through. If the flesh is thick enough, and if the flabbiness is avoided, the joints will be detectable and the motion of the parts will reveal the articulation.”

“Mathematics is one of the major modern mysteries. Perhaps it is the leading one, occupying a place in our society similar to the religious mysteries of another age. If we want to know something about what our age is all about, we should have some understanding of what mathematics is, and of how the mathematician operates and thinks.”

“There is no more irritating fellow than the one who tries to settle an argument about communism, or justice, or freedom, by quoting from the dictionary. Lexicographers may be respected as authorities on word usage, but they are not the ultimate founts of wisdom.”

“TURN THE PAGES, DIPPING IN HERE AND THERE, READING A PARAGRAPH OR TWO, SOMETIMES SEVERAL PAGES IN SEQUENCE, NEVER MORE THAN THAT.”

“The beauty of any work of art is related to the pleasure it gives us when we know it well.” ~~~ Mortimer J. Adler Quotes

“Human beings are curious, and especially curious about other human beings.” ~~~ Mortimer J. Adler Quotes

“In tackling a difficult book for the first time, read it through without ever stopping to look up or ponder the things you do not understand right away.” ~~~ Mortimer J. Adler Quotes

“A person who has read widely but not well deserves to be pitied rather than praised. As” ~~~ Mortimer J. Adler Quotes

“Scientific objectivity is not the absence of initial bias. It is attained by frank confession of it.” ~~~ Mortimer J. Adler Quotes

“One constant is that, to achieve all the purposes of reading, the desideratum must be the ability to read different things at different—appropriate—speeds, not everything at the greatest possible speed. As Pascal observed three hundred years ago, “When we read too fast or too slowly, we understand nothing.” Since”

“The man who knew an encyclopedia by heart would be in grave danger of incurring the title idiot savant—“learned fool.”

“The dictionary also invites a playful reading. It challenges anyone to sit down with it in an idle moment. There are worse ways to kill time.” ~~~ Mortimer J. Adler Quotes

“Find and interpreting the important words.” ~~~ Mortimer J. Adler Quotes

“we must not forget that the restful experience of enjoyable beauty is not limited to the contemplation of sensible objects. We can experience it as well in the contemplation of purely intelligible objects—the contemplation of truths we understand. “Mathematics,” wrote Bertrand Russell, “rightly viewed, possesses not only truth, but supreme beauty—a beauty cold and austere … without appeal to any part of our weaker nature, without the gorgeous trappings of painting or music …” Or, as the poet Edna St. Vincent Millay wrote in the opening line of her sonnet on Euclid, “Euclid alone has looked on beauty bare.”

“Or, you say that this business of marking books is going to slow up your reading. It probably will. That’s one of the reasons for doing it. Most of us have been taken in by the notion that speed of reading is a measure of our intelligence. There is no such thing as the right speed for intelligent reading. Some things should be read quickly and effortlessly, and some should be read slowly and even laboriously. The sign of intelligence in reading is the ability to read different things differently according to their worth. In the case of good books, the point is not to see how many of them you can get through, but rather how many can get through you—how many you can make your own. A few friends are better than a thousand acquaintances. If this be your aim, as it should be, you will not be impatient if it takes more time and effort to read a great book than it does a newspaper.”

“É um erro acreditar que ler muito e ler bem são a mesma coisa.” ~~~ Mortimer J. Adler Quotes

“O esclarecimento só ocorre quando, além de saber o que o autor escreveu, você também sabe o que ele quis dizer com o que escreveu e por que escreveu o que escreveu.”

“Reading and the Democratic Ideal of Education” ~~~ Mortimer J. Adler Quotes

“The goods of the body are food and drink, sleep, clothing, and shelter. These are goods we need because they are indispensable for sustaining life. To be without them in sufficient quantity is a life-threating deprivation. To possess them is not only necessary, but also a source of pleasure and enjoyment.
The goods of the mind are information, knowledge, understanding and wisdom. We seek these goods not just in order to live, but in order to live well. Possessing them lifts us above the plane of animal existence, for these goods enhance our existence as human beings, as well as providing enjoyment and pleasure,”

“Classify the book according to kind and subject matter. 2. State what the whole book is about with the utmost brevity. 3. Enumerate its major parts in their order and relation, and outline these parts as you have outlined the whole. 4. Define the problem or problems the author is trying to solve.”

“The undemanding reader asks no questions-and gets no answers.” ~~~ Mortimer J. Adler Quotes

“The communion that can be achieved by human conversation is of great significance for our private lives…It is the spiritual parallel of the physical union by which lovers try to become one.”

“If you are reading a book that can increase your understanding, it stands to reason that not all of its words will be completely intelligible to you. If you proceed as if they were all ordinary words, all on the same level of general intelligibility as the words of a newspaper article, you will make no headway toward interpretation of the book. You might just as well be reading a newspaper, for the book cannot enlighten you if you do not try to understand it.”

“The First Level of Reading: Elementary Reading” ~~~ Mortimer J. Adler Quotes

“It is only when you try to refine the obvious, and give the distinctions greater precision, that you get into difficulties. For” ~~~ Mortimer J. Adler Quotes

“Now there is no other way of forming a habit of operation than by operating.” ~~~ Mortimer J. Adler Quotes

“one learns to do by doing.” ~~~ Mortimer J. Adler Quotes

“The first stage of elementary reading—reading readiness—corresponds to pre-school and kindergarten experiences.” ~~~ Mortimer J. Adler Quotes

“But it may be seriously questioned whether the advent of modern communications media has much enhanced our understanding of the world”

“The halls of academia are like the halls of a madhouse at midnight.” ~~~ Mortimer J. Adler Quotes

“Do not say you agree, disagree, or suspend judgement until you can say “I understand” ~~~ Mortimer J. Adler Quotes

“Many readers fear that it would be disloyal to their commitment to stand apart and impersonally question what they are reading. Yet this is necessary whenever you read analytically.”

“A mind not agitated by good questions cannot appreciate the significance of even the best answers. It is easy enough to learn the answers. But to develop actively inquisitive minds, alive with real questions, profound questions—that is another story.”

“The question, is it true? can be asked of anything we read. It is applicable to every kind of writing, in one or another sense of “truth” — mathematical, scientific, philosophical, historial and poetical. No higher commendation can be given any work of the human mind than to praise it for the measure of truth it has achieved; by the same token, to criticize it adversely for its failure in this respect is to treat it with the seriousness that a serious work deserves.”

“From your point of view as a reader, therefore, the most important words are those that give you trouble.” ~~~ Mortimer J. Adler Quotes

“Most of us are addicted to non-active reading. The outstanding fault of the non-active or undemanding reader is his inattention to words, and his consequent failure to come to terms with the author.”

“There is no inactive learning, just as there is no inactive reading.” ~~~ Mortimer J. Adler Quotes

“It is wasteful to read a book slowly that deserves only a fast reading; speed reading skills can help you solve that problem.” ~~~ Mortimer J. Adler Quotes

“Theoretical books teach you that something is the case. Practical books teach you how to do something you want to do or think you should do.” ~~~ Mortimer J. Adler Quotes

“A good life is made by accumulating in the course of a lifetime everything that is really good and by wanting nothing that impedes or frustrates this effort.”

“[…] a arte de ler é a técnica de apanhar qualquer tipo de comunicação.” ~~~ Mortimer J. Adler Quotes

“If you read for understanding, reading for information will usually take care of itself.” ~~~ Mortimer J. Adler Quotes

“We must become a nation of truly competent readers, recognizing all that the word competent implies.” ~~~ Mortimer J. Adler Quotes

“Having a method without materials to which it can be applied is as useless as having the materials with no method to apply to them.” ~~~ Mortimer J. Adler Quotes

“Anyone who fails to consult the explanatory notes and the list of abbreviations at the beginning of a dictionary has only himself to blame if he is not able to use it well.”

“That they often do not even reach it is apparent to many parents and to most educators. The reasons for the failure are many, ranging all the way from various kinds of deprivations in the home environment—economic, social, and/or intellectual (including parental illiteracy)—to personal problems of all kinds (including total revolt against “the system”).”

“Analytical reading is thorough reading, complete reading, or good reading—the best reading you can do.” ~~~ Mortimer J. Adler Quotes

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