Independent in All Things, Neutral in Nothing

Review: Your Well-Read Life

with 2 comments

If you’ve read much of this blog, you know I enjoy reading tremendously. Indeed, I enjoy reading so much that I sometimes read books about reading books. Thus I found myself reading Steve Leveen’s The Little Guide to Your Well-Read Life last week. It took just two nights to finish, but contains much good advice on reading and suggestions of books to read.

Mr. Leveen is the Chief Executive Officer of Levenger, an upscale purveyor of reading, writing and office tools. Admittedly, I have used its products for years, my briefcase comes from Levenger, and I love many of its products. In the past few years, it has begun publishing nice editions of thought-provoking books – by Cicero, Plutarch, Thoreau, and others. Mr. Leveen’s came out in 2005; I purchased it almost immediately, but it languished on my bookshelf until last week. (Oddly, I could not find the book on Levenger’s website.)

Mr. Leveen’s approaches reading both philosophically and practically. From a philosophical standpoint, he almost sounds like Socrates when he says, “The more books you read, the more titles and topics you uncover. The more you know, the better you understand how little you really do know.” He gives sage counsel when he writes that “the most important thing to learn in school is how to teach oneself – to learn how to learn.” If you haven’t discovered how you learn, take some time and effort to do so – you’ll amaze yourself with what you can learn, and how fast, when you try to learn in ways best suited to you.

One of his more unique ideas concerns separating the books you have already read from the books you have yet to read in your library. He likens the section of books not read yet to your own bookstore. My books are pooled by category, read and unread mixed together, but I appreciated finding a new idea on library organization.

In addition, Mr. Leveen offers sound, practical advice to enhance your reading. He notes several other books dedicated to reading. He also has full chapters on audio books and book clubs. While I have never engaged much with either, millions of people have, and they can offer outstanding ways for people to draw out more from their readings.

The book makes a fine addition to any library and now has an honored place in my library. By the way, my own list of outstanding books about reading includes:


2 Responses

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  1. We are a not-for-profit educational organization, founded by Mortimer Adler and we have recently made an exciting discovery–three years after writing the wonderfully expanded third edition of How to Read a Book, Mortimer Adler and Charles Van Doren made a series of thirteen 14-minute videos, lively discussing the art of reading. The videos were produced by Encyclopaedia Britannica. For reasons unknown, sometime after their original publication, these videos were lost.

    Three hours with Mortimer Adler on one DVD. A must for libraries and classroom teaching the art of reading.

    I cannot over exaggerate how instructive these programs are–we are so sure that you will agree, if you are not completely satisfied, we will refund your donation.

    Please go here to see a clip and learn more:

    ISBN: 978-1-61535-311-8

    Thank you,

    Max Weismann

    Max Weismann

    November 8, 2010 at 11:40 am

  2. […] The Little Guide to Your Well-Read Life – Steve […]

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