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Reading 5 books at the same time

ben2974
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7/6/2015 12:13:24 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
https://www.youtube.com...

Has anyone heard of this guy? He's always on youtube advertising his lifestyle and whatnot. This particular video of his talks about a method of reading which consists of "reading" multiple books a day to engage with as many ideas as possible within a limited time frame (1day). He claims, using exemplary evidence from successful people, that reading like this is more beneficial to us in the long run.

I think this seems kinda bogus, and subjective at best. What do you guys think?
Wylted
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7/7/2015 9:29:48 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
It's usually better to immerse yourself in one thing at a time. Though I often read 5 books at a time myself and can retain what's written pretty easily, I think it would hurt most people. Most people need to read something twice to gain good 80% comprehension of something, doing this seems like it would make it harder to read a text twice. If this guy is citing studies showing something different, please post them here so I can look at them.
Wylted
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7/7/2015 9:32:47 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
He's doing that in one sitting also, wow. When I read that many at a time, I read a few chapters here and there of each book. I don't do that in one sitting and rarely read from more than 2 on the same day.
Wylted
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7/7/2015 9:42:14 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
Just watched the video. Huge waste of time. He talks about speed reading as well. That has got to hurt reading comprehension. I wouldn't listen to a thing that dude says.
ben2974
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7/7/2015 10:02:08 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 7/7/2015 9:42:14 AM, Wylted wrote:
Just watched the video. Huge waste of time. He talks about speed reading as well. That has got to hurt reading comprehension. I wouldn't listen to a thing that dude says.

Pretty much. But some things he says are typical and cliche, so they do make sense but are often inspirational. At the end of the day, he's just another guy trying to make a following out of his personal success story.
Diqiucun_Cunmin
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7/7/2015 10:40:44 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
I've watched the video too... My response is meh. I wouldn't say it's bogus or anything. It probably worked for him, but he can't speak for everyone. I do read several books simultaneously, but it's more like this: I read a chapter from a morphology book before work, and after work, I read a chapter from Collins' Chomsky monograph. I don't read several books in one sitting; that would likely stir up confusion more than anything, unless I'm reading essay collections.

I'd also point out that many of those books appear to lack intellectual depth. I don't judge a book by its cover generally, but I get the impression that the majority of those books are popular (read: layman) primers or in genres that don't require extensive intellectual prowess to comprehend in the first place. There's even one that's almost certainly a self-help book... I sincerely doubt it would work for many 'serious' books.
The thing is, I hate relativism. I hate relativism more than I hate everything else, excepting, maybe, fibreglass powerboats... What it overlooks, to put it briefly and crudely, is the fixed structure of human nature. - Jerry Fodor

Don't be a stat cynic:
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ben2974
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7/7/2015 10:54:48 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 7/7/2015 10:40:44 AM, Diqiucun_Cunmin wrote:
I've watched the video too... My response is meh. I wouldn't say it's bogus or anything. It probably worked for him, but he can't speak for everyone. I do read several books simultaneously, but it's more like this: I read a chapter from a morphology book before work, and after work, I read a chapter from Collins' Chomsky monograph. I don't read several books in one sitting; that would likely stir up confusion more than anything, unless I'm reading essay collections.

I'd also point out that many of those books appear to lack intellectual depth. I don't judge a book by its cover generally, but I get the impression that the majority of those books are popular (read: layman) primers or in genres that don't require extensive intellectual prowess to comprehend in the first place. There's even one that's almost certainly a self-help book... I sincerely doubt it would work for many 'serious' books.

Well i'm not judging him on the types of books he reads. I consider any non-fiction as intellectual. What is a "serious" book to you?
Saint_of_Me
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7/7/2015 12:24:50 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 7/6/2015 12:13:24 PM, ben2974 wrote:
https://www.youtube.com...

Has anyone heard of this guy? He's always on youtube advertising his lifestyle and whatnot. This particular video of his talks about a method of reading which consists of "reading" multiple books a day to engage with as many ideas as possible within a limited time frame (1day). He claims, using exemplary evidence from successful people, that reading like this is more beneficial to us in the long run.

I think this seems kinda bogus, and subjective at best. What do you guys think?

Meh? Who the hell would want to read that quickly? To me it seems as if that would take a lot of the enjoyment out of reading. I usually do the lion's share of my recreational reading in the evening, after work, while chilling out. Some cool Jazz or Classical music on the radio; a glass of Merlot..yeah, baby.

I do confess to usually having at least 3-4 books going at the same time, though. Not at once of course, but at any given time I have that many checked-out from either my campus or public library, and I switch between them on different nights. Overall I will typically read 2-3 books a week. Fiction and Non-fiction.

I wonder what that speed-reader dude's comprehension level is? I have seen past tests on guys like him and it is not uncommon for it to be quite low, say around 70%. At least fro fiction stuff. For some reason they do not do as well with comprehension for fiction--novels--than they do for non. I have a hypothesis why this may be, but I will not go into it now.

Read for fun! And Knowledge? Not as some sort of conetest.
Science Flies Us to the Moon. Religion Flies us Into Skyscrapers.
Wylted
Posts: 21,167
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7/7/2015 4:14:44 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 7/7/2015 10:54:48 AM, ben2974 wrote:
At 7/7/2015 10:40:44 AM, Diqiucun_Cunmin wrote:
I've watched the video too... My response is meh. I wouldn't say it's bogus or anything. It probably worked for him, but he can't speak for everyone. I do read several books simultaneously, but it's more like this: I read a chapter from a morphology book before work, and after work, I read a chapter from Collins' Chomsky monograph. I don't read several books in one sitting; that would likely stir up confusion more than anything, unless I'm reading essay collections.

I'd also point out that many of those books appear to lack intellectual depth. I don't judge a book by its cover generally, but I get the impression that the majority of those books are popular (read: layman) primers or in genres that don't require extensive intellectual prowess to comprehend in the first place. There's even one that's almost certainly a self-help book... I sincerely doubt it would work for many 'serious' books.

Well i'm not judging him on the types of books he reads. I consider any non-fiction as intellectual. What is a "serious" book to you?

A lot of non fiction is junk. I felt bad for you after I read this. I favor non fiction myself, but honestly Romeo and Juliett is going to be better than any of the trash Dr. Phil writes.
DutifulCynic
Posts: 46
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7/7/2015 4:24:31 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 7/7/2015 4:14:44 PM, Wylted wrote:
At 7/7/2015 10:54:48 AM, ben2974 wrote:
At 7/7/2015 10:40:44 AM, Diqiucun_Cunmin wrote:
I've watched the video too... My response is meh. I wouldn't say it's bogus or anything. It probably worked for him, but he can't speak for everyone. I do read several books simultaneously, but it's more like this: I read a chapter from a morphology book before work, and after work, I read a chapter from Collins' Chomsky monograph. I don't read several books in one sitting; that would likely stir up confusion more than anything, unless I'm reading essay collections.

I'd also point out that many of those books appear to lack intellectual depth. I don't judge a book by its cover generally, but I get the impression that the majority of those books are popular (read: layman) primers or in genres that don't require extensive intellectual prowess to comprehend in the first place. There's even one that's almost certainly a self-help book... I sincerely doubt it would work for many 'serious' books.

Well i'm not judging him on the types of books he reads. I consider any non-fiction as intellectual. What is a "serious" book to you?

A lot of non fiction is junk. I felt bad for you after I read this. I favor non fiction myself, but honestly Romeo and Juliett is going to be better than any of the trash Dr. Phil writes.
Indeed, after all books on economics, philosophy, religion, history, science, and metaphysics must all be trash. The collective work of mankind, is trash.
Wylted
Posts: 21,167
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7/7/2015 4:37:08 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 7/7/2015 4:24:31 PM, DutifulCynic wrote:
At 7/7/2015 4:14:44 PM, Wylted wrote:
At 7/7/2015 10:54:48 AM, ben2974 wrote:
At 7/7/2015 10:40:44 AM, Diqiucun_Cunmin wrote:
I've watched the video too... My response is meh. I wouldn't say it's bogus or anything. It probably worked for him, but he can't speak for everyone. I do read several books simultaneously, but it's more like this: I read a chapter from a morphology book before work, and after work, I read a chapter from Collins' Chomsky monograph. I don't read several books in one sitting; that would likely stir up confusion more than anything, unless I'm reading essay collections.

I'd also point out that many of those books appear to lack intellectual depth. I don't judge a book by its cover generally, but I get the impression that the majority of those books are popular (read: layman) primers or in genres that don't require extensive intellectual prowess to comprehend in the first place. There's even one that's almost certainly a self-help book... I sincerely doubt it would work for many 'serious' books.

Well i'm not judging him on the types of books he reads. I consider any non-fiction as intellectual. What is a "serious" book to you?

A lot of non fiction is junk. I felt bad for you after I read this. I favor non fiction myself, but honestly Romeo and Juliett is going to be better than any of the trash Dr. Phil writes.
Indeed, after all books on economics, philosophy, religion, history, science, and metaphysics must all be trash. The collective work of mankind, is trash.

Are you mentally retarded? This is clearly a response to somebody who stated that every single work of non fiction is intellectual. Nowhere did I state that all works of non fiction are trash. If that's what you got from my post than you should apologize to mankind right now for existing.
DutifulCynic
Posts: 46
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7/7/2015 4:45:55 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 7/7/2015 4:37:08 PM, Wylted wrote:

Are you mentally retarded?
A mature response, I see.
This is clearly a response to somebody who stated that every single work of non fiction is intellectual. Nowhere did I state that all works of non fiction are trash.
You stated most is, then said you "felt sorry" that he read non-fiction, this insinuating that most non-fiction readers are trash, and that most non-fiction is trash, which you directly said.
If that's what you got from my post than you should apologize to mankind right now for existing.
Someone working in retail at your age should not start the ad hominem fight.
Wylted
Posts: 21,167
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7/7/2015 5:03:27 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 7/7/2015 4:45:55 PM, DutifulCynic wrote:
At 7/7/2015 4:37:08 PM, Wylted wrote:

Are you mentally retarded?
A mature response, I see.

No less mature than your post to me. Either you are trolling or are not intelligent enough to pick up on the obvious.

This is clearly a response to somebody who stated that every single work of non fiction is intellectual. Nowhere did I state that all works of non fiction are trash.
You stated most is, then said you "felt sorry" that he read non-fiction, this insinuating that most non-fiction readers are trash, and that most non-fiction is trash, which you directly said

I feel sorry for him that he thinks all nonfiction is intellectual. I clearly stated in the same thread I mostly read nonfiction, and most non fiction is trash. You can't be dense enough to actually think tge stuff you're writing can you?

If that's what you got from my post than you should apologize to mankind right now for existing.
Someone working in retail at your age should not start the ad hominem fight.

What's wrong with working in retail? none of what I stated is ad hominem either. I've very carefully chosen to say "if that's what you believe" or other qualifiers, none is a statement of fact.
DutifulCynic
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7/7/2015 5:16:28 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 7/7/2015 5:03:27 PM, Wylted wrote:


No less mature than your post to me. Either you are trolling or are not intelligent enough to pick up on the obvious.
You started off with ad hominem. It's the hallmark of an immature response that's not seeking anything but mental masturbation.


I feel sorry for him that he thinks all nonfiction is intellectual.
He didn't say that. He said he prefers it, and that some if it is.
I clearly stated in the same thread I mostly read nonfiction, and most non fiction is trash. You can't be dense enough to actually think tge stuff you're writing can you?
When 2/3 of your sentences are personal attacks you should reconsider what you're actually saying.

You made the assumption that he reads Dr. Phil, and that therefore what he reads is trash.

Not that any of this matters, as the main point of contention is that most non-fiction is in fact not trash. Ad that most of what people read is in fact not trash.


What's wrong with working in retail?
It's really more your salary than anything. I guess if you owned the business you'd be fine, but making your wage at your age tells me you don't have much room to move.

none of what I stated is ad hominem either.
"are you retarded?" is the definition of ad hominem.
I've very carefully chosen to say "if that's what you believe" or other qualifiers, none is a statement of fact.
Very carefully choosing how you display an ad hominem doesn't make it not ad hominem. Taking someone's argument, then saying if they believe X is retarded, is ad hominem, unless you re actually are a psychiatrist that has done research into the matter.

Which you aren't, or ever will be. See? We can both ad hominem.
Wylted
Posts: 21,167
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7/7/2015 9:21:44 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 7/7/2015 5:16:28 PM, DutifulCynic wrote:
At 7/7/2015 5:03:27 PM, Wylted wrote:


No less mature than your post to me. Either you are trolling or are not intelligent enough to pick up on the obvious.
You started off with ad hominem. It's the hallmark of an immature response that's not seeking anything but mental masturbation.


I feel sorry for him that he thinks all nonfiction is intellectual.
He didn't say that. He said he prefers it, and that some if it is.

Nope he literally said all non fiction is intellectual. Reread the post. This is just a lie on your part, and it's kinda stupid to lie when I can just scroll back to it.

I clearly stated in the same thread I mostly read nonfiction, and most non fiction is trash. You can't be dense enough to actually think tge stuff you're writing can you?
When 2/3 of your sentences are personal attacks you should reconsider what you're actually saying.

You made the assumption that he reads Dr. Phil, and that therefore what he reads is trash.

No I didn't he literally stated all nonfiction is intellectual. I merely pointed out some exceptions to this rule. Please re read everything. You need to really work on your reading comprehension .

Not that any of this matters, as the main point of contention is that most non-fiction is in fact not trash. Ad that most of what people read is in fact not trash.

Untrue, most non fiction is trash, and the majority of what people read is trash. You're not really seeing academic stuff flying off the shelf at Barnes and Nobel. It's either a book by dog the bounty hunter, self help gurus, pop culture celebrities making tell all sorts auto biographies. Most of it is in fact crap. If you want to affirm it's mostly high quality material, start a debate with you as the proposition and challenge me on this very topic.


What's wrong with working in retail?
It's really more your salary than anything. I guess if you owned the business you'd be fine, but making your wage at your age tells me you don't have much room to move.

Retail isn't really dead end. There is a lot of upward mobility, but that's kind of beside the point. People value stuff differently, and some people place an extremely low value on money, or status.

none of what I stated is ad hominem either.
"are you retarded?" is the definition of ad hominem.

It's a question.

I've very carefully chosen to say "if that's what you believe" or other qualifiers, none is a statement of fact.
Very carefully choosing how you display an ad hominem doesn't make it not ad hominem. Taking someone's argument, then saying if they believe X is retarded, is ad hominem, unless you re actually are a psychiatrist that has done research into the matter.

SMaking Red herrings is also a logical fallacy, or misrepresenting another's argument. Both things you can't help but engage in

Which you aren't, or ever will be. See? We can both ad hominem.

Unless you have a passion for that thing it's dumb to pursue a degree in it. Degree holders of that don't usually end up in that field. Oh yeah, that also isn't an ad hominem. You should probably learn how to distinguish logical fallacies from each other, if you're going to be on a debate site.
DutifulCynic
Posts: 46
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7/7/2015 11:06:36 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 7/7/2015 9:21:44 PM, Wylted wrote:
At 7/7/2015 5:16:28 PM, DutifulCynic wrote:


Nope he literally said all non fiction is intellectual. Reread the post. This is just a lie on your part, and it's kinda stupid to lie when I can just scroll back to it.
Not a lie, but a misreading. I'll admit fault on this line.
No I didn't he literally stated all nonfiction is intellectual. I merely pointed out some exceptions to this rule. Please re read everything. You need to really work on your reading comprehension .
You said most is and did indeed assume he read Dr. Phil. You can't really escape considering how condescending you were about it, and everything in general.
trash.
Untrue, most non fiction is trash, and the majority of what people read is trash. You're not really seeing academic stuff flying off the shelf at Barnes and Nobel.
Really? Because I certainly do. Most of the history section. Most of the science section, excluding the pseudo-science, is.
It's either a book by dog the bounty hunter,
Not really a large section of it.
self help gurus,
Which is in the "self-help" section, not just non-fiction.
pop culture celebrities making tell all sorts auto biographies.
Also not really a huge portion. It's pretty clear you are exaggerating without any sensible form of measuring precisely what is "trash".
Most of it is in fact crap. If you want to affirm it's mostly high quality material, start a debate with you as the proposition and challenge me on this very topic.
Neither you nor I have a metric with which to measure this. The argument is based on your anecdote from when you go into store. We need an actual measurement with which to see what is "trash", and eve then it's subjective.
Retail isn't really dead end. There is a lot of upward mobility, but that's kind of beside the point. People value stuff differently, and some people place an extremely low value on money, or status.
I place value on money and status. I am sure your boss does. Society, too, in a capitalist economy, puts value on money status.

Retail has upward mobility so long as you have an education and connections. Which you, evidently, do not have, since you dropped out of college, I assume.

Even then, really, you aren't getting into corporate because nothing you do in Retail really transfers too far up the chain.

So let's avoid the ad hominem here.

It's a question.
And still an ad hominem was clear, since the intention was clear.
SMaking Red herrings is also a logical fallacy, or misrepresenting another's argument. Both things you can't help but engage in
Good lord. Just busting out every fallacy you can think of?
Unless you have a passion for that thing it's dumb to pursue a degree in it.
$200,000 median salary isn't dumb to pursue.
Degree holders of that don't usually end up in that field.
You are thinking of psychology. You need go to medical school to become a psychiatrist and get an M.D or D.O.. Doctors in general, and especially psychiatrists, do not have high unemployment.
Oh yeah, that also isn't an ad hominem. You should probably learn how to distinguish logical fallacies from each other, if you're going to be on a debate site.
It is very sad and fairly evident you are where you are when you do not even know what ad hominem is after all your time ad this site.

https://en.wikipedia.org...

All you need to do is attack my character to dismiss my argument. That's it. This can go along with an actual argument.

The point is, there is no reason to do what you did, but to be hostile and defame me. That is ad hominem.

I also bolded some ad hominem for you, as homework.
ben2974
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7/8/2015 9:21:02 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
Sorry for the inflammation. This was unexpected. Of course not every book of non-fiction is "intellectual." But as a genre, in general, it is, and should be considered, intellectual. This is what I meant to say . . .
ben2974
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7/8/2015 9:25:46 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 7/7/2015 12:24:50 PM, Saint_of_Me wrote:
At 7/6/2015 12:13:24 PM, ben2974 wrote:
https://www.youtube.com...

Has anyone heard of this guy? He's always on youtube advertising his lifestyle and whatnot. This particular video of his talks about a method of reading which consists of "reading" multiple books a day to engage with as many ideas as possible within a limited time frame (1day). He claims, using exemplary evidence from successful people, that reading like this is more beneficial to us in the long run.

I think this seems kinda bogus, and subjective at best. What do you guys think?



Meh? Who the hell would want to read that quickly? To me it seems as if that would take a lot of the enjoyment out of reading. I usually do the lion's share of my recreational reading in the evening, after work, while chilling out. Some cool Jazz or Classical music on the radio; a glass of Merlot..yeah, baby.

I do confess to usually having at least 3-4 books going at the same time, though. Not at once of course, but at any given time I have that many checked-out from either my campus or public library, and I switch between them on different nights. Overall I will typically read 2-3 books a week. Fiction and Non-fiction.

I wonder what that speed-reader dude's comprehension level is? I have seen past tests on guys like him and it is not uncommon for it to be quite low, say around 70%. At least fro fiction stuff. For some reason they do not do as well with comprehension for fiction--novels--than they do for non. I have a hypothesis why this may be, but I will not go into it now.

Read for fun! And Knowledge? Not as some sort of conetest.

To each his own lol. I read with a chair and table as if studying a book (sometimes outside to enjoy the weather). I can never find a comfortable position to read in without a table. I'm really slow when it comes to reading. I read a book every 1-2 months lol...
Diqiucun_Cunmin
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7/8/2015 9:48:54 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 7/7/2015 10:54:48 AM, ben2974 wrote:
At 7/7/2015 10:40:44 AM, Diqiucun_Cunmin wrote:
I've watched the video too... My response is meh. I wouldn't say it's bogus or anything. It probably worked for him, but he can't speak for everyone. I do read several books simultaneously, but it's more like this: I read a chapter from a morphology book before work, and after work, I read a chapter from Collins' Chomsky monograph. I don't read several books in one sitting; that would likely stir up confusion more than anything, unless I'm reading essay collections.

I'd also point out that many of those books appear to lack intellectual depth. I don't judge a book by its cover generally, but I get the impression that the majority of those books are popular (read: layman) primers or in genres that don't require extensive intellectual prowess to comprehend in the first place. There's even one that's almost certainly a self-help book... I sincerely doubt it would work for many 'serious' books.

Well i'm not judging him on the types of books he reads. I consider any non-fiction as intellectual. What is a "serious" book to you?

I'm with Wylted on this point. I wouldn't consider any non-fiction as intellectual. There is intellectual fiction and non-intellectual non-fiction as well. There are numerous examples of both, particularly the latter.

This is but a rule of thumb of which the real world is likely teeming in exceptions, but I'd say this: A book is 'serious' if it intends, as a primary goal, to bring out an important message (a detailed treatment of some aspect of a technical field, a comprehensive review of a particular social/political/economic issue, etc.), rather than to appeal to the masses. Popular science books that water down the more technical aspects of the field they cover, such as those that tell you about black holes and (insert colour) dwarfs and thus make you an armchair astronomer, would not be intellectual. A beginner's primer on the same field that does go through the technicalities which wouldn't sit well with the tastes of the casual reader - that is intellectual, even if it's about bouncing balls rather than black holes. (I am, by the way, using examples from physics in a very much layman manner, as I have no knowledge whatsoever of the field; but I thought these examples would be the easiest to understand.)

I'm not saying a good book would not aim for mass appeal at all; it can have such as a secondary purpose, as long as it does not defeat the primary purpose. A great example of this would be The Story of Stuff, which has cute cartoonish graphics to appeal to casual readers, but at the same time brings across a powerful message. However, most books that do aim for mass appeal aren't, IMO, comparable to this stuff.

At the same time, I'd say that there's quite a lot of fiction I would consider to be serious books. The works of masters like Dickens, or those with a clear message like Orwell, no contest (even if I do not exactly agree with the latter). A lot of fiction was written during eras where censorship was prevalent, and to speak honestly about an issue would bring about dire consequences like losing your job or even your head; the authors of the fiction weaved fantastic tales express their discontent or beliefs without these risks (literature is, after all, open to interpretation). Much fiction of this category are, I'd contend, highly intellectual.
The thing is, I hate relativism. I hate relativism more than I hate everything else, excepting, maybe, fibreglass powerboats... What it overlooks, to put it briefly and crudely, is the fixed structure of human nature. - Jerry Fodor

Don't be a stat cynic:
http://www.debate.org...

Response to conservative views on deforestation:
http://www.debate.org...

Topics I'd like to debate (not debating ATM): http://tinyurl.com...
ben2974
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7/8/2015 10:26:48 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 7/8/2015 9:48:54 AM, Diqiucun_Cunmin wrote:
At 7/7/2015 10:54:48 AM, ben2974 wrote:
At 7/7/2015 10:40:44 AM, Diqiucun_Cunmin wrote:
I've watched the video too... My response is meh. I wouldn't say it's bogus or anything. It probably worked for him, but he can't speak for everyone. I do read several books simultaneously, but it's more like this: I read a chapter from a morphology book before work, and after work, I read a chapter from Collins' Chomsky monograph. I don't read several books in one sitting; that would likely stir up confusion more than anything, unless I'm reading essay collections.

I'd also point out that many of those books appear to lack intellectual depth. I don't judge a book by its cover generally, but I get the impression that the majority of those books are popular (read: layman) primers or in genres that don't require extensive intellectual prowess to comprehend in the first place. There's even one that's almost certainly a self-help book... I sincerely doubt it would work for many 'serious' books.

Well i'm not judging him on the types of books he reads. I consider any non-fiction as intellectual. What is a "serious" book to you?

I'm with Wylted on this point. I wouldn't consider any non-fiction as intellectual. There is intellectual fiction and non-intellectual non-fiction as well. There are numerous examples of both, particularly the latter.

This is but a rule of thumb of which the real world is likely teeming in exceptions, but I'd say this: A book is 'serious' if it intends, as a primary goal, to bring out an important message (a detailed treatment of some aspect of a technical field, a comprehensive review of a particular social/political/economic issue, etc.), rather than to appeal to the masses. Popular science books that water down the more technical aspects of the field they cover, such as those that tell you about black holes and (insert colour) dwarfs and thus make you an armchair astronomer, would not be intellectual. A beginner's primer on the same field that does go through the technicalities which wouldn't sit well with the tastes of the casual reader - that is intellectual, even if it's about bouncing balls rather than black holes. (I am, by the way, using examples from physics in a very much layman manner, as I have no knowledge whatsoever of the field; but I thought these examples would be the easiest to understand.)

I'm not saying a good book would not aim for mass appeal at all; it can have such as a secondary purpose, as long as it does not defeat the primary purpose. A great example of this would be The Story of Stuff, which has cute cartoonish graphics to appeal to casual readers, but at the same time brings across a powerful message. However, most books that do aim for mass appeal aren't, IMO, comparable to this stuff.

At the same time, I'd say that there's quite a lot of fiction I would consider to be serious books. The works of masters like Dickens, or those with a clear message like Orwell, no contest (even if I do not exactly agree with the latter). A lot of fiction was written during eras where censorship was prevalent, and to speak honestly about an issue would bring about dire consequences like losing your job or even your head; the authors of the fiction weaved fantastic tales express their discontent or beliefs without these risks (literature is, after all, open to interpretation). Much fiction of this category are, I'd contend, highly intellectual.

Intellect:
1. the power or faculty of the mind by which one knows or understands, as distinguished from that by which one feels and that by which one wills; the understanding; the faculty of thinking and acquiring knowledge.
2. capacity for thinking and acquiring knowledge, especially of a high or complex order; mental capacity.
3. a person possessing a great capacity for thought and knowledge.

A theme of intellect is knowledge and understanding, it seems. What better way to accumulate knowledge than to read non-fiction. The purpose of non-fiction is precisely that: to learn, obtain knowledge, and gain a greater understanding. I'm arguing for the genre here. Whether or not a specified book of non-fiction serves its purpose is not the question; some are good and some are bad, as with all genres. I agree that some fiction can be intellectually stimulating, but the books that are, are usually books grounded in social issues and ideological themes that have everything to do with non-fiction. Just like you said (or implied), the fictional books that serve the intellectual crowd are the books whose purpose is to send a message; but i'd argue that these kinds of messages are often inspirational.

With the definitions of intellect listed above, I will also contend that reading a non-fiction for the layman is also quite intellectual. Everyone's on a different intellectual level. We can't start off with the most complex and expect to gain much from it. So, yes, reading layman books on physics and whatnot IS intellectually stimulating, for the intended reader.

For example, Stephen Hawking's A Brief History of Time is certainly a book for the layman. I'm trying to read it (it's tough to understand..). It's intellectually stimulating for me, but probably not for a professor of physics.
Diqiucun_Cunmin
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7/8/2015 11:40:17 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 7/8/2015 10:26:48 AM, ben2974 wrote:
At 7/8/2015 9:48:54 AM, Diqiucun_Cunmin wrote:
At 7/7/2015 10:54:48 AM, ben2974 wrote:

Well i'm not judging him on the types of books he reads. I consider any non-fiction as intellectual. What is a "serious" book to you?

I'm with Wylted on this point. I wouldn't consider any non-fiction as intellectual. There is intellectual fiction and non-intellectual non-fiction as well. There are numerous examples of both, particularly the latter.

This is but a rule of thumb of which the real world is likely teeming in exceptions, but I'd say this: A book is 'serious' if it intends, as a primary goal, to bring out an important message (a detailed treatment of some aspect of a technical field, a comprehensive review of a particular social/political/economic issue, etc.), rather than to appeal to the masses. Popular science books that water down the more technical aspects of the field they cover, such as those that tell you about black holes and (insert colour) dwarfs and thus make you an armchair astronomer, would not be intellectual. A beginner's primer on the same field that does go through the technicalities which wouldn't sit well with the tastes of the casual reader - that is intellectual, even if it's about bouncing balls rather than black holes. (I am, by the way, using examples from physics in a very much layman manner, as I have no knowledge whatsoever of the field; but I thought these examples would be the easiest to understand.)

I'm not saying a good book would not aim for mass appeal at all; it can have such as a secondary purpose, as long as it does not defeat the primary purpose. A great example of this would be The Story of Stuff, which has cute cartoonish graphics to appeal to casual readers, but at the same time brings across a powerful message. However, most books that do aim for mass appeal aren't, IMO, comparable to this stuff.

At the same time, I'd say that there's quite a lot of fiction I would consider to be serious books. The works of masters like Dickens, or those with a clear message like Orwell, no contest (even if I do not exactly agree with the latter). A lot of fiction was written during eras where censorship was prevalent, and to speak honestly about an issue would bring about dire consequences like losing your job or even your head; the authors of the fiction weaved fantastic tales express their discontent or beliefs without these risks (literature is, after all, open to interpretation). Much fiction of this category are, I'd contend, highly intellectual.

Intellect:
1. the power or faculty of the mind by which one knows or understands, as distinguished from that by which one feels and that by which one wills; the understanding; the faculty of thinking and acquiring knowledge.
2. capacity for thinking and acquiring knowledge, especially of a high or complex order; mental capacity.
3. a person possessing a great capacity for thought and knowledge.
I hold no doubt as to the accuracy of your definitions. I'm sure all modern dictionaries are well-supported by corpus data, and represent word senses accurately. Yet, if you'll excuse my frankness, I'm not interested in debating semantics for this particular discussion.

As an analogy, perhaps one could look to the debates over whether X (not allowing gay marriage, not marrying gay couples, etc.) is discriminatory. Sometimes, people bring in the textbook definition of discrimination from economics, and at that point, I think further discussion is meaningless - everything from selling goods to universities admitting students is by definition discriminatory. Same here - mindless fiction books like, I dunno, 50 shades (never bothered reading it, lol) can potentially help you acquire vocabulary if they use a handful of words you don't know. They don't really count as intellectual...

What I'm arguing here is that - and I admit that my argument is based on a subjective basis - certain types of non-fiction contain insignificant amounts of intellectual value, often because the topics themselves lack profundity, or because they water the topics down to suit the tastes of the general public.

A theme of intellect is knowledge and understanding, it seems. What better way to accumulate knowledge than to read non-fiction. The purpose of non-fiction is precisely that: to learn, obtain knowledge, and gain a greater understanding. I'm arguing for the genre here. Whether or not a specified book of non-fiction serves its purpose is not the question; some are good and some are bad, as with all genres.
But the bad ones would not be useful in helping you obtain knowledge and gain a greater understanding.
I agree that some fiction can be intellectually stimulating, but the books that are, are usually books grounded in social issues and ideological themes that have everything to do with non-fiction.
I wouldn't say 'usually'. 'Often', sure - Dickens and Orwell belonged to this category - but this doesn't really deprive the works of fictionhood, or otherwise support the notion that it is primarily non-fiction books that are intellectual (sorry if I misunderstood your argument here). I can also give many examples of intellectually stimulating fiction books which aren't grounded in social issues or ideological themes. We can look to much of classical and romantic literature: the Divine Comedy, A Midsummer Night's Dream...
Just like you said (or implied), the fictional books that serve the intellectual crowd are the books whose purpose is to send a message; but i'd argue that these kinds of messages are often inspirational.
I maintain that they aren't, though I don't think a discussion on this point would be fecund, so let's agree to disagree :)
With the definitions of intellect listed above, I will also contend that reading a non-fiction for the layman is also quite intellectual. Everyone's on a different intellectual level. We can't start off with the most complex and expect to gain much from it. So, yes, reading layman books on physics and whatnot IS intellectually stimulating, for the intended reader.
I apologise. I do seem to have misused the word 'layman' above. I agree that a layman book can be intellectually stimulating. However, it must adequately cover the basics of the field, not shying away from technicalities that would scare away the casual reader, etc., to be a good primer. It cannot simply cherry-pick knowledge from a field that would cater to the tastes of a casual reader seeking 'infotainment', as is the case in popular (insert discipline here) books.

Again, I think a distinction has to be drawn between these 'popular' books (which, I would argue, are not intellectual) from beginner books. I agree that not everyone is well-equipped enough to read advanced literature. Beginner books which cover in detail the basics of a field - say, a book on linear algebra - are certainly intellectual, and can captivate the dedicated amateur. That is not the same as a book designed to appeal to the casual reader.
For example, Stephen Hawking's A Brief History of Time is certainly a book for the layman. I'm trying to read it (it's tough to understand..). It's intellectually stimulating for me, but probably not for a professor of physics.
I haven't read this before, so I can't really comment on it...
The thing is, I hate relativism. I hate relativism more than I hate everything else, excepting, maybe, fibreglass powerboats... What it overlooks, to put it briefly and crudely, is the fixed structure of human nature. - Jerry Fodor

Don't be a stat cynic:
http://www.debate.org...

Response to conservative views on deforestation:
http://www.debate.org...

Topics I'd like to debate (not debating ATM): http://tinyurl.com...
ben2974
Posts: 767
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7/8/2015 12:21:48 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 7/8/2015 11:40:17 AM, Diqiucun_Cunmin wrote:
At 7/8/2015 10:26:48 AM, ben2974 wrote:
At 7/8/2015 9:48:54 AM, Diqiucun_Cunmin wrote:
At 7/7/2015 10:54:48 AM, ben2974 wrote:

Well i'm not judging him on the types of books he reads. I consider any non-fiction as intellectual. What is a "serious" book to you?

I'm with Wylted on this point. I wouldn't consider any non-fiction as intellectual. There is intellectual fiction and non-intellectual non-fiction as well. There are numerous examples of both, particularly the latter.

This is but a rule of thumb of which the real world is likely teeming in exceptions, but I'd say this: A book is 'serious' if it intends, as a primary goal, to bring out an important message (a detailed treatment of some aspect of a technical field, a comprehensive review of a particular social/political/economic issue, etc.), rather than to appeal to the masses. Popular science books that water down the more technical aspects of the field they cover, such as those that tell you about black holes and (insert colour) dwarfs and thus make you an armchair astronomer, would not be intellectual. A beginner's primer on the same field that does go through the technicalities which wouldn't sit well with the tastes of the casual reader - that is intellectual, even if it's about bouncing balls rather than black holes. (I am, by the way, using examples from physics in a very much layman manner, as I have no knowledge whatsoever of the field; but I thought these examples would be the easiest to understand.)

I'm not saying a good book would not aim for mass appeal at all; it can have such as a secondary purpose, as long as it does not defeat the primary purpose. A great example of this would be The Story of Stuff, which has cute cartoonish graphics to appeal to casual readers, but at the same time brings across a powerful message. However, most books that do aim for mass appeal aren't, IMO, comparable to this stuff.

At the same time, I'd say that there's quite a lot of fiction I would consider to be serious books. The works of masters like Dickens, or those with a clear message like Orwell, no contest (even if I do not exactly agree with the latter). A lot of fiction was written during eras where censorship was prevalent, and to speak honestly about an issue would bring about dire consequences like losing your job or even your head; the authors of the fiction weaved fantastic tales express their discontent or beliefs without these risks (literature is, after all, open to interpretation). Much fiction of this category are, I'd contend, highly intellectual.

Intellect:
1. the power or faculty of the mind by which one knows or understands, as distinguished from that by which one feels and that by which one wills; the understanding; the faculty of thinking and acquiring knowledge.
2. capacity for thinking and acquiring knowledge, especially of a high or complex order; mental capacity.
3. a person possessing a great capacity for thought and knowledge.
I hold no doubt as to the accuracy of your definitions. I'm sure all modern dictionaries are well-supported by corpus data, and represent word senses accurately. Yet, if you'll excuse my frankness, I'm not interested in debating semantics for this particular discussion.

As an analogy, perhaps one could look to the debates over whether X (not allowing gay marriage, not marrying gay couples, etc.) is discriminatory. Sometimes, people bring in the textbook definition of discrimination from economics, and at that point, I think further discussion is meaningless - everything from selling goods to universities admitting students is by definition discriminatory. Same here - mindless fiction books like, I dunno, 50 shades (never bothered reading it, lol) can potentially help you acquire vocabulary if they use a handful of words you don't know. They don't really count as intellectual...

What I'm arguing here is that - and I admit that my argument is based on a subjective basis - certain types of non-fiction contain insignificant amounts of intellectual value, often because the topics themselves lack profundity, or because they water the topics down to suit the tastes of the general public.

A theme of intellect is knowledge and understanding, it seems. What better way to accumulate knowledge than to read non-fiction. The purpose of non-fiction is precisely that: to learn, obtain knowledge, and gain a greater understanding. I'm arguing for the genre here. Whether or not a specified book of non-fiction serves its purpose is not the question; some are good and some are bad, as with all genres.
But the bad ones would not be useful in helping you obtain knowledge and gain a greater understanding.
I agree that some fiction can be intellectually stimulating, but the books that are, are usually books grounded in social issues and ideological themes that have everything to do with non-fiction.
I wouldn't say 'usually'. 'Often', sure - Dickens and Orwell belonged to this category - but this doesn't really deprive the works of fictionhood, or otherwise support the notion that it is primarily non-fiction books that are intellectual (sorry if I misunderstood your argument here). I can also give many examples of intellectually stimulating fiction books which aren't grounded in social issues or ideological themes. We can look to much of classical and romantic literature: the Divine Comedy, A Midsummer Night's Dream...
Just like you said (or implied), the fictional books that serve the intellectual crowd are the books whose purpose is to send a message; but i'd argue that these kinds of messages are often inspirational.
I maintain that they aren't, though I don't think a discussion on this point would be fecund, so let's agree to disagree :)
With the definitions of intellect listed above, I will also contend that reading a non-fiction for the layman is also quite intellectual. Everyone's on a different intellectual level. We can't start off with the most complex and expect to gain much from it. So, yes, reading layman books on physics and whatnot IS intellectually stimulating, for the intended reader.
I apologise. I do seem to have misused the word 'layman' above. I agree that a layman book can be intellectually stimulating. However, it must adequately cover the basics of the field, not shying away from technicalities that would scare away the casual reader, etc., to be a good primer. It cannot simply cherry-pick knowledge from a field that would cater to the tastes of a casual reader seeking 'infotainment', as is the case in popular (insert discipline here) books.

Again, I think a distinction has to be drawn between these 'popular' books (which, I would argue, are not intellectual) from beginner books. I agree that not everyone is well-equipped enough to read advanced literature. Beginner books which cover in detail the basics of a field - say, a book on linear algebra - are certainly intellectual, and can captivate the dedicated amateur. That is not the same as a book designed to appeal to the casual reader.
For example, Stephen Hawking's A Brief History of Time is certainly a book for the layman. I'm trying to read it (it's tough to understand..). It's intellectually stimulating for me, but probably not for a professor of physics.
I haven't read this before, so I can't really comment on it...

I can't help but think that you're equating "beginner" books to school textbooks and "popular" books as casual books found in the typical public library. Are you saying that "casual" readers (and thus casual books) are mutually exclusive to intellectual non-fiction?
Sharku
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7/8/2015 1:31:06 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
I can read several books at the same time if I'm interested in them. It's not too different from having several tabs open on your browser where you can go back and forth as it suits you. Or even watching several TV series at the same time. Your brain is complex enough to keep track of multiple different sets of information and story lines. School (high school mainly) has several different subjects each day that everyone can easily keep track of.

But, if he's deliberately cramming them in that fast for the sake of it, I don't think he's going to get much more out of it than rote memorization. It's why you don't cram for tests, you'll memorize the answers without truly understanding the material. At least that's been my experience. I crammed for tests and studied intensely and then promptly flushed them from my collective memory when the test was over. Our brains only hold what is useful or interesting, and unless those books are useful to our everyday lives where we can constantly apply what we learned our brain isn't going to hold onto them. It's just too much overload.

It's better to learn something bit by bit and slowly digest it so you can form a better understanding of it, and therefore retain it.
ben2974
Posts: 767
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7/8/2015 1:45:34 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 7/8/2015 1:31:06 PM, Sharku wrote:
I can read several books at the same time if I'm interested in them. It's not too different from having several tabs open on your browser where you can go back and forth as it suits you. Or even watching several TV series at the same time. Your brain is complex enough to keep track of multiple different sets of information and story lines. School (high school mainly) has several different subjects each day that everyone can easily keep track of.

But, if he's deliberately cramming them in that fast for the sake of it, I don't think he's going to get much more out of it than rote memorization. It's why you don't cram for tests, you'll memorize the answers without truly understanding the material. At least that's been my experience. I crammed for tests and studied intensely and then promptly flushed them from my collective memory when the test was over. Our brains only hold what is useful or interesting, and unless those books are useful to our everyday lives where we can constantly apply what we learned our brain isn't going to hold onto them. It's just too much overload.

It's better to learn something bit by bit and slowly digest it so you can form a better understanding of it, and therefore retain it.

Good points
Diqiucun_Cunmin
Posts: 2,710
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7/9/2015 5:48:09 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 7/8/2015 12:21:48 PM, ben2974 wrote:
At 7/8/2015 11:40:17 AM, Diqiucun_Cunmin wrote:
At 7/8/2015 10:26:48 AM, ben2974 wrote:

Intellect:
1. the power or faculty of the mind by which one knows or understands, as distinguished from that by which one feels and that by which one wills; the understanding; the faculty of thinking and acquiring knowledge.
2. capacity for thinking and acquiring knowledge, especially of a high or complex order; mental capacity.
3. a person possessing a great capacity for thought and knowledge.
I hold no doubt as to the accuracy of your definitions. I'm sure all modern dictionaries are well-supported by corpus data, and represent word senses accurately. Yet, if you'll excuse my frankness, I'm not interested in debating semantics for this particular discussion.

As an analogy, perhaps one could look to the debates over whether X (not allowing gay marriage, not marrying gay couples, etc.) is discriminatory. Sometimes, people bring in the textbook definition of discrimination from economics, and at that point, I think further discussion is meaningless - everything from selling goods to universities admitting students is by definition discriminatory. Same here - mindless fiction books like, I dunno, 50 shades (never bothered reading it, lol) can potentially help you acquire vocabulary if they use a handful of words you don't know. They don't really count as intellectual...

What I'm arguing here is that - and I admit that my argument is based on a subjective basis - certain types of non-fiction contain insignificant amounts of intellectual value, often because the topics themselves lack profundity, or because they water the topics down to suit the tastes of the general public.

A theme of intellect is knowledge and understanding, it seems. What better way to accumulate knowledge than to read non-fiction. The purpose of non-fiction is precisely that: to learn, obtain knowledge, and gain a greater understanding. I'm arguing for the genre here. Whether or not a specified book of non-fiction serves its purpose is not the question; some are good and some are bad, as with all genres.
But the bad ones would not be useful in helping you obtain knowledge and gain a greater understanding.
I agree that some fiction can be intellectually stimulating, but the books that are, are usually books grounded in social issues and ideological themes that have everything to do with non-fiction.
I wouldn't say 'usually'. 'Often', sure - Dickens and Orwell belonged to this category - but this doesn't really deprive the works of fictionhood, or otherwise support the notion that it is primarily non-fiction books that are intellectual (sorry if I misunderstood your argument here). I can also give many examples of intellectually stimulating fiction books which aren't grounded in social issues or ideological themes. We can look to much of classical and romantic literature: the Divine Comedy, A Midsummer Night's Dream...
Just like you said (or implied), the fictional books that serve the intellectual crowd are the books whose purpose is to send a message; but i'd argue that these kinds of messages are often inspirational.
I maintain that they aren't, though I don't think a discussion on this point would be fecund, so let's agree to disagree :)
With the definitions of intellect listed above, I will also contend that reading a non-fiction for the layman is also quite intellectual. Everyone's on a different intellectual level. We can't start off with the most complex and expect to gain much from it. So, yes, reading layman books on physics and whatnot IS intellectually stimulating, for the intended reader.
I apologise. I do seem to have misused the word 'layman' above. I agree that a layman book can be intellectually stimulating. However, it must adequately cover the basics of the field, not shying away from technicalities that would scare away the casual reader, etc., to be a good primer. It cannot simply cherry-pick knowledge from a field that would cater to the tastes of a casual reader seeking 'infotainment', as is the case in popular (insert discipline here) books.

Again, I think a distinction has to be drawn between these 'popular' books (which, I would argue, are not intellectual) from beginner books. I agree that not everyone is well-equipped enough to read advanced literature. Beginner books which cover in detail the basics of a field - say, a book on linear algebra - are certainly intellectual, and can captivate the dedicated amateur. That is not the same as a book designed to appeal to the casual reader.
For example, Stephen Hawking's A Brief History of Time is certainly a book for the layman. I'm trying to read it (it's tough to understand..). It's intellectually stimulating for me, but probably not for a professor of physics.
I haven't read this before, so I can't really comment on it...

I can't help but think that you're equating "beginner" books to school textbooks and "popular" books as casual books found in the typical public library. Are you saying that "casual" readers (and thus casual books) are mutually exclusive to intellectual non-fiction?
Not necessarily, not really. A lot of beginner books aren't school textbooks. The For Dummies series is a good example. Now, people learning the subject at school are part of their target audience, but they aim at people who are simple curious about the subject as well.

Typical public libraries here actually offer a plenty of intellectual books. It's the commercially-oriented bookstores that usually sell casual books which, IMO, carry little intellectual value.
The thing is, I hate relativism. I hate relativism more than I hate everything else, excepting, maybe, fibreglass powerboats... What it overlooks, to put it briefly and crudely, is the fixed structure of human nature. - Jerry Fodor

Don't be a stat cynic:
http://www.debate.org...

Response to conservative views on deforestation:
http://www.debate.org...

Topics I'd like to debate (not debating ATM): http://tinyurl.com...
ben2974
Posts: 767
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7/9/2015 8:54:24 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 7/9/2015 5:48:09 AM, Diqiucun_Cunmin wrote:
At 7/8/2015 12:21:48 PM, ben2974 wrote:
At 7/8/2015 11:40:17 AM, Diqiucun_Cunmin wrote:
At 7/8/2015 10:26:48 AM, ben2974 wrote:

Intellect:
1. the power or faculty of the mind by which one knows or understands, as distinguished from that by which one feels and that by which one wills; the understanding; the faculty of thinking and acquiring knowledge.
2. capacity for thinking and acquiring knowledge, especially of a high or complex order; mental capacity.
3. a person possessing a great capacity for thought and knowledge.
I hold no doubt as to the accuracy of your definitions. I'm sure all modern dictionaries are well-supported by corpus data, and represent word senses accurately. Yet, if you'll excuse my frankness, I'm not interested in debating semantics for this particular discussion.

As an analogy, perhaps one could look to the debates over whether X (not allowing gay marriage, not marrying gay couples, etc.) is discriminatory. Sometimes, people bring in the textbook definition of discrimination from economics, and at that point, I think further discussion is meaningless - everything from selling goods to universities admitting students is by definition discriminatory. Same here - mindless fiction books like, I dunno, 50 shades (never bothered reading it, lol) can potentially help you acquire vocabulary if they use a handful of words you don't know. They don't really count as intellectual...

What I'm arguing here is that - and I admit that my argument is based on a subjective basis - certain types of non-fiction contain insignificant amounts of intellectual value, often because the topics themselves lack profundity, or because they water the topics down to suit the tastes of the general public.

A theme of intellect is knowledge and understanding, it seems. What better way to accumulate knowledge than to read non-fiction. The purpose of non-fiction is precisely that: to learn, obtain knowledge, and gain a greater understanding. I'm arguing for the genre here. Whether or not a specified book of non-fiction serves its purpose is not the question; some are good and some are bad, as with all genres.
But the bad ones would not be useful in helping you obtain knowledge and gain a greater understanding.
I agree that some fiction can be intellectually stimulating, but the books that are, are usually books grounded in social issues and ideological themes that have everything to do with non-fiction.
I wouldn't say 'usually'. 'Often', sure - Dickens and Orwell belonged to this category - but this doesn't really deprive the works of fictionhood, or otherwise support the notion that it is primarily non-fiction books that are intellectual (sorry if I misunderstood your argument here). I can also give many examples of intellectually stimulating fiction books which aren't grounded in social issues or ideological themes. We can look to much of classical and romantic literature: the Divine Comedy, A Midsummer Night's Dream...
Just like you said (or implied), the fictional books that serve the intellectual crowd are the books whose purpose is to send a message; but i'd argue that these kinds of messages are often inspirational.
I maintain that they aren't, though I don't think a discussion on this point would be fecund, so let's agree to disagree :)
With the definitions of intellect listed above, I will also contend that reading a non-fiction for the layman is also quite intellectual. Everyone's on a different intellectual level. We can't start off with the most complex and expect to gain much from it. So, yes, reading layman books on physics and whatnot IS intellectually stimulating, for the intended reader.
I apologise. I do seem to have misused the word 'layman' above. I agree that a layman book can be intellectually stimulating. However, it must adequately cover the basics of the field, not shying away from technicalities that would scare away the casual reader, etc., to be a good primer. It cannot simply cherry-pick knowledge from a field that would cater to the tastes of a casual reader seeking 'infotainment', as is the case in popular (insert discipline here) books.

Again, I think a distinction has to be drawn between these 'popular' books (which, I would argue, are not intellectual) from beginner books. I agree that not everyone is well-equipped enough to read advanced literature. Beginner books which cover in detail the basics of a field - say, a book on linear algebra - are certainly intellectual, and can captivate the dedicated amateur. That is not the same as a book designed to appeal to the casual reader.
For example, Stephen Hawking's A Brief History of Time is certainly a book for the layman. I'm trying to read it (it's tough to understand..). It's intellectually stimulating for me, but probably not for a professor of physics.
I haven't read this before, so I can't really comment on it...

I can't help but think that you're equating "beginner" books to school textbooks and "popular" books as casual books found in the typical public library. Are you saying that "casual" readers (and thus casual books) are mutually exclusive to intellectual non-fiction?
Not necessarily, not really. A lot of beginner books aren't school textbooks. The For Dummies series is a good example. Now, people learning the subject at school are part of their target audience, but they aim at people who are simple curious about the subject as well.

Typical public libraries here actually offer a plenty of intellectual books. It's the commercially-oriented bookstores that usually sell casual books which, IMO, carry little intellectual value.

Alright well, at the end of it all, I don't think we're disagreeing on much. The vagueness of book description is probably tripping us up.