Review: How To Read Nonfiction Like a Professor

July 18, 2022 Uncategorized 5 ★★

Review: How To Read Nonfiction Like a ProfessorTitle: How to Read Nonfiction Like a Professor: Critical Thinking in the Age of Bias, Contested Truth, and Disinformation
Author: Thomas C. Foster
Source: Library
Links: Bookshop (affiliate link) |Goodreads

Summary: Basic, more political than necessary, and full of long, extraneous examples from specific books.

I found this book about how to read nonfiction disappointing in a variety of ways. The information included was fairly basic. The elements the author recommended considering – biases from the author, sources, structure of the story, etc – are largely things I already consider automatically. Having written out the advice from this book will allow me to be more explicit about considering these points, which is of some small value. However, I was hoping for something more like the equivalent of college-level literary criticism. Instead, I thought this book would be appropriate for high school freshman.

The author spent a long time summarizing specific texts so he could give examples of simple concepts that didn’t need that support. Because the author clearly had a political ax to grind with the selected material, this book will not be taught in high schools, which is a shame. It’s also likely to alienate the Republican readers who I think could most use the author’s advice on identifying reliable sources. Even as someone who generally agreed with the author, I found the digressions annoying. I also found his sense of humor hit-or-miss, a bit on the dad-joke end of the spectrum. I don’t feel like I got much out of this and I wouldn’t recommend it.

5 Responses to “Review: How To Read Nonfiction Like a Professor”

  1. Harry Katz

    It’s too bad you were disappointed by this book but, selfishly, I’m kind of relieved. My first reaction seeing the title of the book was, “OMG, have I been doing it wrong all this time?” It’s good to know there weren’t any great revelations or trade secrets. I guess that means we can just carry on. Phew! 🙂

    Sorry it wasn’t a good use of your time, though.
    Harry Katz recently posted…A World on the WingMy Profile

    • DoingDewey

      Haha, that’s a really positive way of looking at things! I guess I’m also glad that I didn’t learn that I’d been doing it wrong all this time either 🙂

  2. Rennie

    This is really disappointing to hear, because I would love something that helps me read more critically or better analyze material. That’s a shame that it becomes more about an axe to grind and is so basic. I definitely would have picked it up if I’d seen it otherwise. Thanks for such a clear indication it’s not for me!
    Rennie recently posted…Jennette McCurdy Tells the Harsh Realities of Child StardomMy Profile

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