via Cory Doctorow
We have our recommended ten-stage process for reading such big books:
- Figure out beforehand what the author is trying to accomplish in the book.
- Orient yourself by becoming the kind of reader the book is directed at—the kind of person with whom the arguments would resonate.
- Read through the book actively, taking notes.
- “Steelman” the argument, reworking it so that you find it as convincing and clear as you can possibly make it.
- Find someone else—usually a roommate—and bore them to death by making them listen to you set out your “steelmanned” version of the argument.
- Go back over the book again, giving it a sympathetic but not credulous reading
- Then you will be in a good position to figure out what the weak points of this strongest-possible argument version might be.
- Test the major assertions and interpretations against reality: do they actually make sense of and in the context of the world as it truly is?
- Decide what you think of the whole.
- Then comes the task of cementing your interpretation, your reading, into your mind so that it becomes part of your intellectual panoply for the future.