Susan Wise Bauer’s The Well-Educated Mind: The Guide to Classical Education You Never Had argues that reading the right kind of books in the right way can greatly improve one’s ability to think and to communicate. I enjoyed Bauer’s direct writing style. Sometimes I get the feeling that writers have one good idea that balloons out to two hundred (publisher endorsed) pages – not so with Bauer. She argues three major points:
- You don’t have to go college to be educated. Bauer’s most influential period of formal learning was in post-graduate study when she read a lot and spent a lot of time arguing ideas posited in her prescribed reading. She highlights the value of a mentor (and consequently the value of formal education) and the value of the books themselves.
- 2. You should read the right books in the right way. Bauer says that you could pick at least 30 minutes every day to read at a time when you are awake (as opposed to using a book to fall asleep). She also recommends using a journal with summary notes and interrogative questions related to your reading.
- Your reading list should be balanced and methodical. The back half of the book is a categorised list of classics with instructions on what to look for when your reading the books. I found this list to be highly valuable.
I enjoyed Bauer’s book and it only took three hours to read. You can purchase it direct from Amazon or download it to your Kindle/iPad.