Book Notes: The Intellectual Life, Chapter 7

This chapter, “Preparation for Work”, is long and full of information. I made a list of questions derived from this chapter to put it into a useful format for my future self.

AN EXAMEN ON PREPARATION FOR WORK

Reading

  • Do I have an uncontrolled habit of reading? (146)
  • Do I read intelligently, seeing to my well-being? (147)
  • Do I dull my mind, not feed it, by inordinate reading? (147)
  • Do I read to escape from self? (147)
  • Do I overstrain my eyes and the membranes of my brain? (147)
  • Do I read only what I want to retain, and retain only what will be useful? (148)
  • Do I manage my brain prudently, and not abuse it by cramming it absurdly? (148)
  • Do I go out of doors, breathe fresh air, relax? (148)
  • Have I cut down on the less solid and serious kind of reading (novels)? (148)
  • Do I read the news during working hours? (149)
  • Do I read more news than a weekly or bi-monthly chronicle in review? (149)
  • Am I reading (except in moments of recreation) only what concerns the purpose I am pursuing? (149)
  • Am I reading little, so as not to eat up my interior silence? (149)
  • Am I discerning what things I feed my mind and are to be the seed of my thoughts? (149)
  • Am I choosing (in my books) to associate only with first-rate thinkers? (150)
  • Do I turn away from badly written books, which are probably poor in thought also? (150)
  • Do I love the eternal books that express eternal truths? (151)
  • Do I choose guides whom I will trust when reading for formation? (153)
  • Do I watch myself, note what readings help me, and go to those for inspiration when needed? (155)
  • Do I read for recreation/rest something that I like, that does not excite me too much and divert me from my path? (156)
  • Do I choose books to rest my mind that will also be useful otherwise? (157)
  • Do I have an attitude of respect and realize the privilege of being in contact with great minds? (157)
  • Do I reflect that we are all of the same race, and that at the source of all inspiration, there is “God, the first and supreme author of all one writes.”? (159) (quote from Victor Hugo)
  • Am I looking for truths and what is lasting in an author’s work? (164)
  • Or do I have a fault finding attitude when reading the work of a great mind? (166)
  • Do I react to what I read so as to make it my own and by means of it to form my soul? (166)
  • Am I putting in my own effort? (167)
  • Do I realize the source of knowledge is not in books, but in reality, and in my thought? (169)
  • Am I comprehending what I am reading and thinking for myself? (170)
  • Is the object of my education to acquire truths and formulas or to develop wisdom? (170)
  • Am I being myself? Is my reading enabling me to be free, and bringing about my own thoughts? (172)

Memory

  • Am I wanting to remember only what is useful? (176)
  • Do I try to keep in the forefront of my mind what forms the basis of my work? (177)
  • Is my mind well-ordered? (178)
  • Do I relieve my mind of useless burdens, so it can devote itself to its work with all its strength, and go straight to its purpose and not waste time? (180)
  • When I read or listen am I fully present? (183)
  • Do I repeat what I am trying to remember? And reflect on it often? (183)
  • Do I live a peaceful life? (184)
  • Do I cultivate a sense of the newness of things? (184)

Notes

  • Do I think and let some time lapse before taking notes? (188)
  • Do I take notes in moderation? (188)
  • Do I take them according to my personal needs? (189)
  • Do they have something of myself in them? (189)
  • Do they correspond to what I am aiming at? (189)
  • Do I write down what I think after contact with someone else, more than that other person’s thought? (190)
  • Am I careful not to get crazy collecting notes? (194)
  • Do I indulge in accumulating notes? (194)
  • Do I keep notes on slips? (195)

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