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Not Just To Read, But To Read Critically

Daily Stoic Emails

An illiterate world is not a good one, but a world where people unthinkingly believe and accept everything they read is not that much better. 

So it’s great that you’re reading—but are you reading critically?

You need to know: Authors can be wrong. Authors can be questioned. A book is not a one-way conversation. It’s a dialog between the reader and the writer. You have to take notes, you have to know how to disagree, you have to question what you see on the page. 

You need to know: No one book is definitive. No one school or system has all the answers. You have to read books from opposing thinkers. Read one book, then read something that presents a different point of view. You have to realize the importance of debate, you have to understand how to compare and contrast. 

We’ve talked about the dangerous world of ideas. You’re going to have to look at things you disagree with too. You’re going to have to talk to and learn from people who have different opinions than you. It’s going to mean going down rabbit holes that don’t interest you but that they find fascinating. 

Remember what Epictetus said: Just because someone spends time reading doesn’t mean they’re smart. It matters how and what you read. So start this practice earlier, start it now. Be a real reader, be a wide-ranging, critical reader. A questioner. A reviewer. A thinker. 

P.S. If you’re looking to be a better reader—to build a real reading practice—the Stoics can help. We built out some of their best insights into our READ TO LEAD: A DAILY STOIC READING CHALLENGE​. It walks you through 13 actionable challenges that will help you elevate your game as a reader, learn how to read more critically, and discover important books that will change your life.