Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book

Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Mortimer Adler  

Pen Name: None

Genre: Non-Fiction

Audience: Adult;

Born: December 28, 1902 in New York, New York

Died: June 28, 2001 in Palo Alto

-- Mortimer Adler on WorldCat --

Illinois Connection

Adler worked in Chicago from 1923 through 1952. He was the first "non-lawyer" to join the Chicago law school faculty, as a professor of the philosophy of law. He studied philosophy at Columbia University in Chicago, Illinois

Biographical and Professional Information

Mortimer Adler was an American philosopher known for his book-length essays about reading, language, thought and knowledge. He was born in New York City and currently lives in Chicago. After studying and teaching in New York in the 1920's, he was a professor at the University of Chicago. During his life, he has been an editor, author and essayist. He was the Director for the Institute for Philosophical Research and the Chariman of the Board of Editors, Encyclopedia Britannica, both in Chicago.

Published Works Expand for more information

Titles At Your Library

How to Read a Book: The Classic Guide to Intelligent Reading
ISBN: 0671212095

Touchstone. 1972

With half a million copies in print, How to Read a Book is the best and most successful guide to reading comprehension for the general reader, completely rewritten and updated with new material.

Originally published in 1940, this book is a rare phenomenon, a living classic that introduces and elucidates the various levels of reading and how to achieve them—from elementary reading, through systematic skimming and inspectional reading, to speed reading. Readers will learn when and how to “judge a book by its cover,” and also how to X-ray it, read critically, and extract the author’s message from the text.

Also included is instruction in the different techniques that work best for reading particular genres, such as practical books, imaginative literature, plays, poetry, history, science and mathematics, philosophy and social science works.

Finally, the authors offer a recommended reading list and supply reading tests you can use measure your own progress in reading skills, comprehension, and speed.

Six Great Ideas
ISBN: 068482681X

Touchstone. 1997

Discusses complex philosophical problems in concrete language to better understand the eternal concepts that shaped Western culture

Ten Philosophical Mistakes
ISBN: 068481868X

Touchstone. 1997

For the first time in paperback, the illuminating critique of modern thought from America's "Philosopher for Everyman" (Time).


  • Aquinas Medal from the American Catholic Philosophical Association