Book Summary: Slow Reading in a Hurried Age

Title: Slow Reading in a Hurried Age
Author: David Mikics
Genre: Literature
Release Date: 2013


Why did you choose to read this particular book?

What peaks your interest? What is the book about? What does it promise to deliver?

Let’s face it, most of us sometimes feel like we’re surrounded by idiots. From the title I knew the book was about the four personality types/temperaments. I thought it’d be interesting to see examples of dealing with people with different personality at work.

Summary of book

David Mikics starts by mentioning the internet encourages a quick and impulsive response, constantly clicking and scrolling for fleeting bits of information that we quickly forget. He warns us against this behaviour, not necessarily labelling it as bad, but rather pointing out that online reading requires a different kind of attention compared to reading a book. The mistake we often make is approaching both mediums in the same way.

Mikics suggests an alternative way of reading, not a completely new method, but rather a reminder to read slowly and attentively. This allows us to immerse ourselves in a book and escape from reality, making the book the only reality we focus on. He argues that the noise and distractions of the internet hinder slow reading on websites, as there is always the temptation to skim and skip, giving up as soon as the reading becomes challenging. The danger lies in adopting this same style when reading a book, merely skimming and scanning the lines without truly absorbing their meaning.

To address this issue, Mikics proposes fourteen rules that promote slow reading. These rules include being patient, asking relevant questions, understanding the author’s voice and style, recognizing the beginning and end of a piece, identifying important points, utilizing a dictionary, tracking keywords, grasping the author’s main idea, maintaining a critical mindset, dissecting the different parts of a text, taking notes, exploring alternative paths, and seeking out other books. Each rule is explained in detail over several paragraphs, with Mikics applying them to various literary genres such as novels, short stories, dramas, poetry, and essays.

The rules of slow reading:

  1. Exercise Patience – do not become overwhelmed by the difficulties presented in the book, and do not expect the author to present the point in an easy and digestible manner. However, forcing yourself to read through the book is just as detrimental as force-feeding.
  2. Pose the Appropriate Inquiries – what is the connection between the beginning and the ending? How do the characters interact and oppose each other? What does a particularly impactful passage reveal about the book as a whole?
  3. Recognize the Narrative Voice – pay attention to the voice of the narrator and the sense of place it conveys.
  4. Grasp the Author’s Style – it reflects the author’s true self.
  5. Take Note of the Opening and Closing – they form the indispensable foundation of the book’s structure.
  6. Identify the Guideposts – they outline the path of the book.
  7. Utilize the Dictionary – enhance your reading experience by referring to it.
  8. Track Key Terminology – they serve as crucial threads that enable you to trace the book’s argument.
  9. Uncover the Author’s Fundamental Idea – the underlying reason behind the book’s creation.
  10. Maintain a Healthy Skepticism – refrain from forming premature judgments about the characters.
  11. Divide and Conquer – create an outline of the book’s storyline.
  12. Jot it Down – make annotations and take notes.
  13. Explore Alternate Routes – consider different versions or revisions of the same book.
  14. Seek Out Another Work – by the same author to gain a deeper understanding of their writing.

What stood out for you

I came across this book after reading Adler’s “How to Read a Book,” which suggests reading a book three times to truly understand it. This book had a similar effect on me. Back in school, I wasn’t interested in reading and didn’t pay much attention in literature class. It’s nice to revisit the art of reading various materials. Although some may argue that it doesn’t offer anything new, I believe it serves as a timely reminder of the essence of reading.

Key Points

It contains practical techniques to enhance concentration and sharpen reading skills through the art of slow reading in various genres such as short stories, novels, poems, plays, and essays.

What you dislike

Not a dislike, but a reflection, the problem I have with slow reading is, Id never get any reading done. Life is busy and for me to get through books, at times, I cannot meet rule no 1! And funnily enough, this is one of those books that can be skim read!



Has the book met its objective?


What would you change

The book could be split in to, the second half of application, is ideal as a second smaller book.

What type of reader would enjoy this book

Someone new to reading non-fiction and need some tips and pointers for better reading.

Would you recommend this book


Final Verdict:

Read more reviews here: Book Review – The Wise Word

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.