For those that have worked with me and know how busy I am, it was not easy for them to imagine me in a doctoral program. I generally do not have time to read other books besides the bible. From my enneagram results and a good understanding of my personality, I tend to be impatient, independent, confident and results oriented, and have not given reading as much time as I should probably do. In my academic journey through primary school, high school and undergraduate, I got used to memorizing my class notes and reading assigned work to reproduce in tests and exams in the rote memory system. I had very little background in self-initiated reading until my master’s degree program when I had to learn academic writing using the APA standards and had to do a lot of reading and summarizing of books on leadership, and other related topics. I’m therefore very excited to learn more about reading at the doctoral level and Adler is such an eye-opening book.
For me, the idea that every non-fiction book deserves 3 readings first met instant pushback from me. Adler and Van Doren articulate the reason as, first to have a general overview of the thrust or central thesis of the book; second to dig in, in an attempt to gain understanding and grasp the central argument and thesis of the author; and third for the purpose of argument as you reflect on whether to agree or disagree with the book. At our doctoral level, I believe that we should not just read for information or entertainment but for understanding and go further to reflect on the book to agree or disagree with it as appropriate. I have gained a good understanding that I should focus on learning by discovery through research, investigation, or by reflection without being taught.
There are four levels of reading that Adler talks about including, elementary, inspectional, analytical and synoptical reading. It is analytical reading that is the subject of my blog which Adler and Van Doren say is the best and most complete reading that you can do if you have unlimited time. Analytical reading involves asking specific questions about the contents you are reading for the sake of understanding. The authors identify four questions to ask any book which includes; 1) What is this book about? 2) What is being said and how? 3) Is the book true, in whole or in part? and 4) What of it? I find it obligating as a leader to go for analytical reading to gain more understanding and to be able to play my leadership role more effectively. I look forward to learning more as I read many more books in this doctoral program which will require more patience and keenness on books on my part. This is a cost I am ready to pay to become a better leader for my organization and to play my role in transforming lives through the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
 Mortimer J. Adler and Charles Van Doren: How To Read a Book. (New York, USA. Touchstone,2011).