Mortimer J. Adler

Literary Birthday – 28 December – Mortimer J. Adler

Mortimer J. Adler was born 28 December 1902, and died 28 June 2001.

Mortimer J Adler: 10 Learned Quotes

  1. In the case of good books, the point is not to see how many of them you can get through, but rather how many can get through to you.
  2. Reading is a basic tool in the living of a good life.
  3. Television, radio, and all the sources of amusement and information that surround us in our daily lives are also artificial props. They can give us the impression that our minds are active, because we are required to react to stimuli from the outside. But the power of those external stimuli to keep us going is limited. They are like drugs. We grow used to them, and we continuously need more and more of them. Eventually, they have little or no effect. Then, if we lack resources within ourselves, we cease to grow intellectually, morally, and spiritually. And when we cease to grow, we begin to die.
  4. The person who says he knows what he thinks but cannot express it usually does not know what he thinks.
  5. The great authors were great readers, and one way to understand them is to read the books they read.
  6. Not to engage in the pursuit of ideas is to live like ants instead of like men.
  7. The philosopher ought never to try to avoid the duty of making up his mind.
  8. The purpose of learning is growth, and our minds, unlike our bodies, can continue growing as we continue to live.
  9. Love without conversation is impossible.
  10. You have to allow a certain amount of time in which you are doing nothing in order to have things occur to you, to let your mind think.

Mortimer J. Adler was an American author, educator, and philosopher. He wrote more than fifty books, including How to Read a BookHow to Think About War and Peace, Aristotle for Everybody, and editions of the Encyclopaedia Britannica.


Courtesy Center for the Study of The Great Ideas, CC BY-SA 3.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons

by Amanda Patterson

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Posted on: 28th December 2012