This chapter explains how to make good choices about what literature to read and how to read in an intelligent, perceptive way so as to enhance knowledge and to apply that knowledge in investing. The process of moving from understanding less to understanding more is a critical journey for anyone who wishes to gain wisdom. It is not a simple matter of reading one book, setting it aside, and reaching for the next one. Achieving real understanding requires hard work and deep thinking. Mortimer J. Adler proposes that all active readers need to keep four fundamental questions in mind: What is the book about as a whole? What is being said in detail? Is the book true, in whole or part? What of it? This chapter describes how knowledge gained from reading a book can be integrated into a latticework of mental models, and how being a careful reader is beneficial to investors. It shows that the very act of reading—whether novels, poetry, essays, plays, short stories, or even popular fiction—critically improves analytical skills and that the mental skill of critical analysis is fundamental to success in investing.
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