Writing in the margin, or at the top or bottom of the page, for the sake of: recording questions and perhaps answers which a passage raised in your mind; reducing a complicated discussion to a simple statement; recording the sequence of major points right through the books. Well, the physical act of writing, with your own hand, brings words and sentences more sharply before your mind and preserves them better in your memory. The marked book is usually the thought-through book. 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. And, best of all, your marks and notes become an integral part of the book and stay there forever. I contend, quite bluntly, that marking up a book is not an act of mutilation but of love. I use the end-papers at the back of the book to make a personal index of the author's points in the order of their appearance.
After I have finished reading the book and making my personal index on the back end-papers, I turn to the front and try to outline the book, not page by page or point by point I've already done that at the back , but as an integrated structure, with a basic unity and an order of parts. You have to reach for them. You may have one final objection to marking books. I had been a voracious reader all my life. This deluded individual owns wood-pulp and ink, not books.
You can't let your eyes glide across the lines of a book and come up with an understanding of what you have read. He invariably reads with a pencil, and sometimes, when he picks up a book and pencil in the evening, he finds himself, instead of making intelligent notes, drawing what he calls 'caviar factories' on the margins. I want to persuade you to do something equally important in the course of your reading. The sign of intelligence in reading is the ability to read different things differently according to their worth. I wouldn't mark up a painting or a statue. I'd no more scribble all over a first edition of 'Paradise Lost' than I'd give my baby a set of crayons and an original Rembrandt.
To set down your reaction to important words and sentences you have read, and the questions they have raised in your mind, is to preserve those reactions and sharpen those questions. I reserve them for fancy thinking. When we discovered them and how intrinsically edifying they are, we negotiated an agreement with Encyclopaedia Britannica to be the exclusive worldwide agent to make them available. Writing in the margin, or at the top or bottom of the page, for the sake of: recording questions and perhaps answers which a passage raised in your mind; reducing a complicated discussion to a simple statement; recording the sequence of major points right through the books. There is no such thing as the right speed for intelligent reading.
All told, how to be a graphic designer covers just about every aspect of the profession, and stands as an indispensable guide for any young designer. When that happens, he puts the book down. Or, you may say that this business of marking books is going to slow up your reading. Most of the world's great books are available today, in reprint editions. Well, the physical act of writing, with your own hand, brings words and sentences more sharply before your mind and preserves them better in your memory. Here is my experience with the book.
That's one of the reasons for doing it. He also has the hardest schedule of business activities of any man I know. There are two ways in which one can own a book. Some people reserve them for a fancy bookplate. If reading is to accomplish anything more than passing time, it must be active. Unless you do, you are not likely to do the most efficient kind of reading.
But don't let anybody tell you that a reader is supposed to be solely on the receiving end. Finally, writing helps you remember the thoughts you had, or the thoughts the author expressed. But, you may ask, why is writing necessary? For example he says that when one is reading we should be highlighting, marking, writing, and circling any questions the one has, any words that we did not understand or write notes that will help one comprehend the book better. If, when you've finished reading a book, the pages are filled with your notes, you know that you read actively. Most of us have been taken in by the notion that speed of reading is a measure of our intelligence. And I don't mean merely conscious; I mean wide awake. Make your index, outlines and even your notes on the pad, and then insert these sheets permanently inside the front and back covers of the book.
I used to read predominantly to be entertained. Adler dramatically changed what I read, how I read, and why I read. Make your index, outlines and even your notes on the pad, and then insert these sheets permanently inside the front and back covers of the book. Librarians or your friends who lend you books expect you to keep them clean, and you should. Let me develop these three points.