Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Tips for Reading One Above and Seven Below

One Above and Seven Below is not an easy book to read. Although I did my best to make it light and entertaining, the book is actually more like an academic textbook where each successive chapter builds or elaborates on points that were defined in the previous chapters.

The purpose of the book is to help people understand what we "chareidim" consider to be true Torah hashkafa. The only reason to invest time reading the book is too gain this insight. It follows that the book should be read properly, or it does not pay to read it at all.

Thus, I would like to provide some helpful tips for reading One Above and Seven Below:

  • Read the FAQs - Know what the book is trying to do before you play with it.
  • Clear your mind -The book will define what is meant by the term Chareidi and use that definition throughout. Please do not take your perception of the term "Chareidi" and try to apply it to what the book says. You will only harm yourself and others.
  • Do not read the Chareidio-Active Fallout (Kids at Risk) chapter before you have read the body of the book.
  • Do not skip the Preface and Introduction.
  • The entire book is summed up in Chapter 9 (What's in a Name). I currently advise readers to read Chapter 9 in advance. It would be best immediately after Chapter 2 but it can be read even before reading anything else. The reader will not catch the full significance until he/she reads the rest of the book but it tells you where the book is going. The rest of the book is how it gets there.
  • Besides the above dispensation, read the book through and read it in order.
  • Chapter Six is a very tedious chapter. If you suspect it may be too tedious for you, it is better to skip the chapter than to get stuck in the book and abandon it. It is nevertheless an exceedingly important chapter and that is why I recommend to read at least Part 4.
  • I know that time is precious, but I strongly recommend reading the book a second time. Readers who have done so have by-and-large felt that it is worthwhile.
  • Send complimentary emails to the author and recommend the book to everybody you know.



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