How to Read a Book in Less than an Hour

Chris Kelty’s advice. I haven’t tried his method though I have my own “plowing” methods which I may detail at a later date if I decide there’s something original in it. I tend to real slowly and obsessively when I teach.

Leaving aside dull and moralistic arguments about how much effort should be expended in an encounter with a book (though I had a good laugh over Elephant’s entry), the one potentially fatal flaw in this method is the index. Indexing is itself a black art; authors are rarely good indexers when they finish their first book (I know from experience) and professional indexers often don’t “get” the real stakes in the book.

Still, it’s a way LESS imperfect pedagogical method than, say, not giving the students any idea of how to slog through a massive pile of reading in a week and then acting like a big shot. Not that profs ever do that in grad seminars.

I look forward to Kelty’s other promised pedagogical tips, including

how I teach the students to grade their own papers. I can’t even remember the last time I read a student’s paper

and then there’s my method for teaching them to reason by avoiding valid inference of any kind and my method for picking a research topic by using the LOC Wheel of Fortune, and my method for reading by running an automatic co-occurence algorithm on a text and talking only about the top five results.