From the Archives...

Inspectional Reading

[The Manual, page 210, 1983]
An extract from the Manual that was originally published by Taylor Management Centers in Boulder, Colorado.

Purpose: To use time most effectively when collecting data.

To skim data systematically and discover:

  • What kind of book/article/etc., is it?
  • What is it stating or questioning?
  • How does it fit in with my priorities?
  • What can I learn from it?
  • Do I want to study it in depth?


  1. Look at the title page and subtitle and preface to identify the scope, aim and author's perspective.

  2. Study the table of contents to obtain a general sense of the book's structure.

  3. Check the index to estimate the range of topics covered and the kinds of books, articles and authors referred to.

  4. Read the publisher's blurb to discover the summary of the main points in the book.

  5. Decide if you want or need to read it more thoroughly and either put it down or continue with step six.

  6. Look at the chapters that seem to be pivotal to the main argument. Note particularly the opening or closing pages or paragraphs.

  7. Turn the pages, dipping in here and there, read a paragraph or two or sometimes several pages.

  8. Record your thoughts as you proceed to read the book more thoroughly. Keep in mind the scenario you have created and how the information in the book provides insights into your forecasting process.


How To Read A Book, Adler and Van Doren, Simon & Schuster, 1940

copyright 1997, MG Taylor Corporation. All rights reserved
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