The best way to read is highly contextual

How a book should best be read depends a great deal on the book, the reader, and the context. You’ll read some texts essentially just for entertainment; some you’ll skip around and mine for gems (Skillful reading is generally non-linear); others you’ll want to deeply internalize (e.g. Write about what you read to internalize texts deeply). Some of this variance is explained by the work itself, but much depends on your motivations and feelings as the reader.

As Adler and van Doren put it: “Every book should be read no more slowly than it deserves, and no more quickly than you can read it with satisfaction and comprehension.” (p. 43) I find this incredibly difficult to do in practice! It requires active monitoring and self-control to adjust the speed according to my interest and comprehension in the moment.

Digital reading experiences often fail to recognize this variability and instead reinforce the implicit default of linear, completionist reading.


Adler, M., & van Doren, C. (1972). How to Read a Book. Simon & Schuster, Inc.