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How To Read A Book (An Intro to Liberal Learning) v1.1 by Jarett Sanchez

First Year Teacher Edition

Here is the first of two parts of my presentation on “liberal learning” or what has more recently come to be known as “the lost tools of learning” or, the Trivium Method.

The first three of the seven liberal arts, the Trivium, focus on the use of language and thought- the world of the mind. Since these methods are products of the rational abilities of the human mind, this type of education is quite universal, although its image has been tarnished for many, many centuries. Only in the past few decades has the Trivium emerged as a viable educational model once again. While not a complete education in and of itself, it empowers the student to pursue the full capabilities of the mind, giving a comprehensive method, a time-tested suite of subjects, and numerous intellectual skills which will benefit them throughout their adult life. Instead of teaching you “what” to think, the Trivium method teaches you “how” to think.

This is a way to increase your intelligence.

Part 1 covers the introductory information on the Trivium Subjects and Method, while Part 2 covers the Trivium Skills.

Send feedback to:

***Show Notes***

Center For The Study Of The Great Ideas:

“Philosophy is everybody’s business.”

Gnostic Media Podcast w. Jan Irvin:

Richard Grove’s podcast and networking site:

The Trivium Binder:

How To Read A Book (An Intro to Liberal Learning) v1.1 by Jarett Sanchez

This Post Has 44 Comments
  1. I just wanted to thank you for grounding the Trivium in something resembling an example. I have asked others for an example of using the Trivium before I purchased a $300 logic CD set, but those request were ignored.

    So thank you for taking it out of the land of pure theory and actually showing how one might use the Trivium to learn a subject.

  2. Honestly, this was a horrible podcast. Should’ve been 15 minutes long at most. There might’ve been one thought-provoking sentence in the whole podcast. Really should edit this stuff if you don’t want to turn people off of the trivium

    1. Honestly, how do you consider this constructive feedback? In what ways has your review strengthened the presentation for the next go around? Where are your presentations where you’ve done a better job? If you have none, then where do you find the room to comment like this? If you can’t post intelligent, constructive feedback – completely lacking in your own application of the trivium, maybe you shouldn’t post comments either. It’s sort of like the pot calling the kettle black. But really you’re just hating and offering nothing constructive.

    2. LJ, I would definitely like to know what you mean, I certainly have many edits in the future of this presentation so your feedback could really help.

      Can you give me any specifics? How would YOU present the Trivium, and also in what way does my presentation turn you off from the Trivium?

      Be just as blunt and honest as your original comment, but give me something to work with, please! 🙂

    3. …well, Jarrett did say at the beginning of the presentation that you would be bored by it if you had no interest in developing your logical thinking. Could that be the reason behind your cooment?

  3. This comment from TriviumEducation sounds like an old hag teacher, projecting her frustrations onto her students for their “misbehaving”.

    Try a different tone to make money on the internet, dawg. 🙂

    1. The fact that you put the word “dawg” totally discredits you from any philosophical thought. How could you use that word and say you practice the trivum. One of the parts of the trivum is Grammar. Which you obviously have none.

  4. A beautiful piece of art.
    Please understand there are those who are trying to destroy this great country of America.
    We have been hijacked by a powerful banking group of pirates who’s ultimate goal is to rule the world.

    When you see nonsensical marks of destruction on society, look to the Esoteric methods of destruction by the British Crown of London and their minions . is a real construction of beauty.

    To get an idea of their (from the top of the pyramid) thinking
    go to: and listen to item#20, seven minutes in. where Plato discuses deception of the masses, war, eugenics, and population control.

    1. Now I can see very clearly why the elitists have such a fondness for Plato. Control of the masses has quite a long history.
      Thank you, Nancy for pointing us to that link.

  5. I’m downloading the podcast to listen to later today. I just can’t get enough of this stuff. I (I, I, I… I know!) will probably have more to say once I’ve had a chance to absorb the info.

    BTW, really like the new design and layout for the site. It feels open and inviting, just the way a site with such valuable info on learning techniques should be.

  6. The main difficulty for me as a listener is that you spent too much time setting up your talk. If someone came to this site, they should have some idea what the trivium is and are eager to hear the more in depth part, so I recommend just a short intro/history (5 min) and then delve into the material in an organized, efficient, and non-chatty manner.

    For example, you mention liberal education multiple times. Just define it once and move on. There is no need to address what you expect to be people’s preconceptions. If I miss it I can easily go back.

    1. Well, as it is I chose to address as general an audience as possible, but realizing that most people were going to come to this presentation with an interest in the Trivium already. So it is a tricky “balancing act” of giving too much or too little of the context necessary to utilize the deeper parts.

      But, as I said in regards to the grammar stage of learning, repetition is one of the keys!

      Putting this presentation together, as flawed as it is, required a tremendous amount of time and energy (in between full time work and family life) so that had a lot to do with how I arranged the whole thing.

      Realize also that this is what I consider a “public first draft” so yeah. . .it needs a lot of work! Your comments, as well as all others given, are extremely helpful in shaping all future iterations of this presentation of which there will probably be one per year for the next few years as I continue to grow in my understanding of this field.

      Thank you!

  7. Hallo Jarret . I would also have been interested to read a reply from lj . I have one point regarding Grammar, and education. I went to an old fashioned private school , thrown out at 15, then had to spend the last few weeks, until I was old enough to leave school, in a state secondary school . I saw that indeed I had been getting an education for ” masters” and that in the State School they were being prepared for mostly manual work. In the” old fashioned” private school we were taught how to think analytically, critically, self teaching, and curiosity. To analyze written pieces, and précis, extracting, and explaining the essential ideas, even distilling a book down to one sentence. I was fascinated by the pure logic of Pythagoras Theorems .
    A point I´d like to suggest to you for clarity is firstly; an example regarding language, and grammar. You mentioned apples, and oranges. The thought occurred to me their could well be a language in which apples, and oranges were the same word. For example; the language might have only have three words for fruit; tree fruit, bush fruit, and ground fruit. What I am trying to say is, having learned a couple of languages, I see words more as an Agreement or contract . We agree what the words mean in particular context or culture. Consider the hi-jacking of the word “liberal” in the U.S. . Further, it is very hard to find an exact equivalent in German for the English word “Fair” the nearest translation is probably “Freundlich or lieb ” friendly, or loving . I am getting into linguistics here, but it does reveal that words are a language specific, approximate equivalent symbol. Worth bearing in mind. So; Mary little lamb had, would be correct in many grammers, or(Agreements). I hope I am not sounding pedantic here. I am trying to suggesting an insight . I found your piece very interesting as I am thinking of buying the Trivium book. I most probably will.
    All the best.

    1. Actually the german word for “Fair” is “Richtig” – “Falsch”is the opposite. Often with languages, you can not “directly” translate. French for “fair” is “juste”(french being grounded in latin also).
      But in all languages it is context that sets the definition. For example in french “Pomme” means apple, where as “Pomme du terre” literally translated means “Apple of the earth” but actually refers to a potato. I think grammar is applicable across all languages its just that you can’t apply it as directly as you seem to be trying to here. Hope this sheds some light for you. I also speak fluently two languages and bits of other languages here and there. To be honest my knowledge of latin has helped me learn french in more ways than I can possibly describe, in fact it made it quite simple.

  8. I found this podcast very informative and engaging. While the hour long size was daunting at first, the amount of relevant information contained within was outstanding! Really, how can you communicate everything you did in this presention only in 15 minutes would be watered down and diluted so much there would be no causing it at all.

  9. This was my first time listening to anything dealing with the trivium. I am very green. You did provide a basic understanding of the trivium and quadrivium, but that’s about it. I thought it would get a bit deeper. I do appreciate the podcast.

    1. This is a two part series, but keep in mind that this is not a full blown presentation, its a first attempt at recommunicating what I’ve learned about the Trivium. Much was left out but there’s enough here to point you in the direction of deeper research and understanding. Gene’s interviews are probably the best place to start.

      My second run will be much juicer, I promise. 😉

    1. The notes were copied from the person who created the presentation. Try to focus on the message and not kill the messenger. Also, general grammar and specific grammar are different. Have you studied it yet? Or did you even get past the intro?

      I’ve corrected the error.

  10. I bought the Great Books, brand new in original boxing and unsealed book packaging, for £100!! I’ve been dipping in and out of it the past two days. I’ve been reading Plato’s Crito and some essays by Montaigne thus far. It has already raised some interesting questions the likes to which my mind had previously not thought. Totally worth the money: I may be poorer in finances, but certainly not in mind.

    I have some questions about the Trivium though:
    If we take grammar in the language sense — how much grammar is adequate to learn?
    What type or system of logic is more beneficial to start? Traditional logic? Symbolic? Informal?
    I’ve seen a number of people online, just learn fallacies of the informal kind, but yet always use them in the wrong context; or, make no effort to correct their own reasoning.
    Which rhetorical devices, in your opinion, would be the better ones to study?

    1. You study until you know it.
      See the study materials page – it has everything listed. Follow the study guide provided. Please study EVERYTHING on the site so that you’re not repeating questions already provided.
      Don’t do the same as those people.
      See study materials page.

  11. Thanks for the reply. I have been studying these topics prior to viewing your website.

    Perhaps I ought to of been clearer, but I was asking specifically for your opinion on which aspects you have found the most relevant personally.

  12. I will be making much time to study the resources you’ve generously provided.

    Thank you for your effort and work =)

    Take care.

  13. J. Sanchez, thanks for all your hard work promoting the Trivium. Learning to think is a lost art that can benefit all. Keep work at getting the word out!

    I tend to think of Rhetoric as, foremost, the mastery, understanding, and wisdom of a subject; whereas the ability to communicate to others is just a byproduct. The mental processes of thinking, writing, and speaking (to one’s self) are independent of communicating. Teaching and arguing with others is optional.

  14. This is awesome. Whenever I try to learn something new, I get stuck in an infinitely regressing rabbit hole of knowledge.
    I have The Trivium by Miriam Joseph but I found it frustrating that I had to look up words or concepts every other sentence in order to come to terms. The words, terms, or concepts that i’m ignorant about would end up being made up of even more words, terms, and concepts that I’m also unfamiliar about. This pretty much applies to everything I really want to learn to do. Hopefully, after discovering The Trivium Method through this wonderful website I will be able to process information much more efficiently and live a more refined life. Thanks to everybody that took part in all the podcasts on this website.

    1. Look up the words and terms study them, and repeat until you understand. Start from the top of the list where it says “start here” and go through them all. Also, did you listen to the prerequisite logic series first? Or did you skip the study outline?

      We’ve all been through it. Joseph’s book is what we should have been taught in elementary school, so as an adult it’s harder. Just study until you do get it.

      It seems that a lot of people focus on this episode, and I don’t necessarily agree. The there’s instructions on the website. Just follow them through. If you have to repeat a few episodes a dozen times, it’s ok.

    2. I had the same problem, specifically with that same book. I would add unto the first reply a suggestion that you should simply change your perspective; rather than considering the process of understanding every word in a book so you may understand the entirety of the book “frustrating”, you should consider this process as a golden oppurtunity to expand your mind by learning not only that which the book has to offer but also to learn the very components that structure such a valuable artefact.

      On the first page of the first website linked in the original post, I found this URL –
      On that page is a short video which I hope can provide you with a dose of inspiration as it did me.

  15. Hope this question is not to ‘innocent’ to put it in a nice way.
    I’m looking for a book to study the Trivium Method,
    my english is not too good, but I can understand better if I can read it.
    So, please, if anyone can guide to one.
    Love Peace Revolution the podcast, and
    thanks a lot for all your efforts .

    1. Not sure about foreign language books, but please see the “study materials” page on the above menu. Not sure why people keep coming to this thread first. This post/show is NOT for beginners. People need to start where it says “START HERE” and follow through – top down. Thanks.

  16. This was a great podcast and I found it very informative. I’m not sure why people in the comments are so hung up on the bells and whistles. This topic wasn’t meant for sensory pleasure or entertainment. I liked that your introduction to liberal thinking and trivium was straightforward and that you addressed how this knowledge is useful in everyday life, other resources for learning and expanding Trivium study, and potential reasons of why we were not taught (and are still not teaching new generations) the 7 liberal arts. Please keep up the great work!

    Gnostic Media: Who sings the song played at the end of the podcast? Thanks.

  17. I recently bought the trivium book and will be soon buying the quadrivium, and was wondering if there would be much point in also buying Mortimer Alder’s how to to read a book as well since it have been covered in the trivium, so should I since it may be more specific knowledge on how to read a book.

    1. I probably wouldn’t bother with Adler’s book. The more I look into his background the more nefarious it becomes. You should eventually study it to understand his manipulative tactics, however.

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