“How to Improve Your Mind”, The Ideas of Isaac Watts

Happy Birthday to Isaac Watts (July 17, 1674 – November 25, 1748) was an hymnwriter, theologian and logician born in Southhampton, England. He is credited with writing around 750 hymns and is recognized as the “Father of English Hymnody.”

Excerpts from his book, “The Improvement of the Mind”

1. Dig Deeper, Don’t be So Shallow!

Do not hover always on the surface of things, nor take up suddenly with mere appearances; but penetrate into the depth of matters, as far as your time and circumstances allow, especially in those things which relate to your own profession. Do not indulge yourselves to judge of things by the first glimpse, or a short and superficial view of them; for this will fill the mind with errors and prejudices, and give it a wrong turn and ill habit of thinking, and make much work for retraction.

2. Travel to Enlarge Your World View.

Nothing tends in this respect so much to enlarge the mind as traveling, i. e., making a
visit to other towns, cities, or countries, besides those in which we were born and educated; and where our condition of life does not grant us this privilege, we must
endeavor to supply the want of it by books.

3. To Remember Better, Talk About What You Read.


Talking over the things which you have read with your companions on the first proper opportunity you have for it, is a most useful manner of review or repetition, in order to fix them upon the mind.

4. Pay Freaking Attention!

Once writing over what we design to remember, and giving due attention to what we write, will fix it more in the mind than reading it five times.

Compiled by Kevin Woolsey



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