Hockey Goaltending (part 5 of 6)

5. Puck Handling

Characteristics of an Effective Puck-Handling Goaltender

There are five main components that make an effective puck-handling goaltender.

Think and move your feet at the same time. … An inefficient goaltender freezes his feet when making a play to move the puck up the ice. … It is important to look up ice and keep your feet moving in the same direction.

Point and move your feet up ice. It is essential that you always have your feet pointed up ice. … You should always attempt to make plays up ice. Playing the puck backwards can be disastrous.

Transition efficiently to two hands on the stick. You need to be adept at getting both hands on your stick prior to making a play.

Move the puck to the forehand whenever possible. The puck is easier to control on the forehand, and often, passes are more accurate because you can see the play in front of you. … You are blind to the one side of the ice when you are making passes off the backhand.

Communicate with teammates. Skaters give goalies instructions on what to do with the puck while goalies alert the skaters to potential threats behind them. … Language used between defensemen and goalies should be as simple as possible, for example, leave it, over, or rim.

Gripping the Stick

There are two types of grips you can use when playing the puck: the overhand and the underhand grip. Very few goaltenders use the underhand grip.

Overhand Grip. The glove hand is placed over the top of the shaft of the stick. It is important that you use a firm grip, applying pressure on the thumb of your catching hand.

  • Allows you to use leverage by pushing down on the ice and forward on the puck
  • Excellent for short passes

Underhand Grip is used to shoot the puck. … Reach around the bottom of your stick and firmly place your glove on the underside of the stick and squeeze. Then, put pressure down on the ice and snap your hands forward to get the puck off your stick.

  • It is better for shooting and executing long passes.

Passing the Puck

  • Ensure you have a strong bottom hand on the stick
  • Point your fee at your intended target
  • Choose the easiest option

Playing Rims

Anytime there is a shot around the boards from outside the blue line, you should leave the net to play the puck.

Stopping a Rim. … Goaltenders are become more adept at handling rims using just their sticks. This is the preferred method of handling a rim as opposed to the whole-body technique. … After successfully stopping a rim:

  • Stop It Dead. When a hard rim comes around, get behind the middle of the net, stop the puck completely, and leave it for your defenseman.
  • Touch and Move. When the rim comes in on your backhand, … stop the puck dead, pull it off the wall, and send it to your defenseman in one continuous motion … without breaking skating stride.
  • Keep the Rim Going. Instead of stopping the rim, simply continue the puck around the boards to make a direct pass to a teammate … in one fluid motion.
  • Set the Puck. You stop the puck and pull it off the wall, making it accessible to your teammate’s forehand. Then, you must quickly get back into the net.

Rims to the Forehand Side. Where is the optimal position to make first contact with the puck? Do I stop the puck and play it up ice or simply leave it for my defenseman? … If there is very little pressure from the opposition, you can stop the puck for your defenseman and let him orchestrate the play out of the defensive zone. When more pressure is applied, you can either move the puck up ice to a defenseman, provided he is open, or get the puck out of your own zone to alleviate the pressure.

Position yourself directly behind the net and place your stick firmly against the wall to meet the oncoming puck.

Rims to the Backhand Side. Backhand rims are handled quite differently than those that come to the forehand. … When stopping a puck on the backhand, you should try to use your momentum to pivot and transition the puck to the forehand whenever possible. … Position yourself directly behind the net and using the top hand to guide, jam the toe of your stick firmly against the boards to create a blockade.

Dump-Ins on Goal

  • When a long dump-in shot approaches the net, you must come out at the puck and butterfly so it doesn’t skip over you and into the goal.
  • When a dump-in comes along the ice, you want to back up your stick with your glove. Once you have control of the puck, you can make a play up ice.
  • When a dump-in on goal is high, you should catch the puck and bring your glove to the ice with momentum so the puck lays flat.

Dump-Ins to the Stick Side

We divided the ice surface into three zones: the reinforcement zone, the forehand zone, and the paddle-down zone.

Reinforcement Zone  is the area either directly on goal or close to it … cautiously handle the puck by backing up your stick with the glove, body, or a combination of both. … After the puck has been stopped and controlled, you can then scan the ice to make the optimal play. … If the best play is to your forehand, make sure to step back from the puck and move it directly on your forehand.

There are instances where your optimal play is to make a quick forward outlet pass with one hand on the stick, for example, when the defenseman is skating quickly back toward you.

Forehand Zone is the midway portion between the goal and the corner of the ice. … Leave your net quickly to intercept the puck before it crosses the goal line, skate past the puck as it approaches, and turn your body to receive the puck on your forehand.

Paddle-Down Zone is the area beside the net near the far corner of the ice. … Stopping the puck above the red line is accomplished by utilizing the paddle-down-above-the-goal-line technique. … and then get up and rotate over the front of the puck , bringing the puck to the forehand.

Leaving and Returning to the Net

It is more efficient for you to enter the net on the side of the goal you play to puck or whichever direction continues the momentum of your current movement.

Cutting the Post. When entering or exiting, rather than taking a wide turn by the net, it is best to skate as close to the post as possible.

Setting a Pick. After setting the puck, simply take a little more time getting back to your net. Then, given the opportunity, bump into the opposing forechecker. … When setting a pick, don’t cut the post. Instead, come in a little wider.

Hockey Goaltending (Part 4 of 6)

4. Postsave Recovery

The ability to control rebounds and get into position and make second and third saves is one of the key components that separates goaltenders at all levels.

Post save Recovery Skills

When moving to your next spot, you wan to fill the space in the middle of the net as quickly as possible. … You need to gauge how much time you have before the next shot. You should ask yourself, “Is there time to get up and move to the next position, or am I going to stay down?”

If the rebound comes out to a shooter who is in close, you will want to move using path of direction, keeping your body tight (blocking butterfly) to face the second shot. If the rebound goes out a little farther but the shooter is still close to the puck, you will still want to stay down and use a butterfly with active hands. … If the shot goes out to a shooter at a farther distance and the shooter is a little farther from the puck, you should get to your feet and move into position to face the second shot.

Your decision to stay up or go down depends on the player’s proximity to the puck. If the shooter is close to the puck, stay down. if the shooter is farther away from the puck, then it is better to get up and ready yourself. … the safer bet is to stay down and cover the higher-risk play by blocking the lower part of the net. If the rebound goes out to the side, with the potential of another shot coming immediately, you have to load with your inside edge and outside skate to push across and explode into a save.

Post Leans

The Vertical Horizontal and the Reverse Vertical Horizontal will now be referred to as a “lean”. Shoulder lean positions are used to defend against plays out of the corner.

To execute the blocker-side lean, keep your pads tightly sealed along the ice, using your back leg for support, and keep your chest and hands up in an active ready position. Feel the post against your shoulder. Keep a strong seal against the post, don’t go beyond the post in your lean.

The glove-side lean looks very much like the blocker-side lean. … Don’t pull off the post early. … Always keep your eye on the puck.

Lead-leg recoveries are used when you need to recover onto your feet from a post lean. Instead of driving of your back leg, you are using your lead leg to pull you up and into position on your feet. A back-leg recovery is used to move while staying down on the ice or moving onto your feet from the butterfly.

To execute a lead-leg recovery

  • Point your lead skate in the direction you want to move
  • Open your front-leg skate in a C-cut position.
  • Putting your weight on your front leg, pull yourself forward with your upper body using your chest, hands, and stick for momentum.
  • Bring your head forward through the motion.

Post Reaches

How to best follow the play and move post to post when the puck is behind the net.

In no other part of the game are you exposed to as many threats as when the puck is being played behind the net. For this reason, we have developed the 75-25 rule.

In a lean postion, you will be 100 percent committed to the near post. As the puck goes farther behind the net, you need to widen your stance, thus creating a window over your shoulder whereby you can see where the puck is. So as your stance widens, you are now committed 75 percent to the near post, but with 25 percent awareness and commitment to the far post. When the puck travels past the halfway point behind the net, you should move your upper body, keep your eyes on the puck, and commit 100 percent to the other post. … Always bring your lower body across first and be in a ready position if the play should revert to the near-side post. This is one situation where you do not lead with your head to get to the other post. … Once the play moves out in front of the net, use a lead-leg recovery and move out to defend the play.

Wraparounds

When defending the blocker side, you have two options … you can defend using the paddle-down technique. … you can use an active stick defense and attempt to take the puck off the opposition’s stick. … The active-stick technique is better suited to breaking up pass plays out of the corner.

When defending a glove-side wraparound, it is essential that your glove be facing the puck in a ready position and that you maintain a tight seal on the post while continuing to watch the puck.

Stretch Saves

There are instances when a rebound ends up in a dangerous position. Although you may be required to make a stretch save, you still want o be in control of your movements. … in close proximity to the net, you will need to first inside-edge push and then extend your body.

Inside-Edge Push Into an Extension

Assume that after making an initial save in a butterfly position, the rebound goes out to a dangerous spot, and the opposition shooter takes a high shot. You may be forced to inside-edge push and extend your upper body as far as possible to make the save. You are in essence making a save while in motion. … the key is to inside-edge push and react to wherever the puck is headed. For example, you could be moving to your right, and the puck is shot to your left, forcing you to extend your body in the other direction.

Inside-Edge Push Into a Full Split

In the case where a rebound goes to a shooter who quickly fires a shot to the low corner of the net, you may be required to extend your lower body into a full-split save position.

Inside-Edge Push Into Upper and Lower Extension

In other circumstances, you may be required to extend both your upper and lower body at the same time.

Net Management

It is important that you move with precision between your posts. Net management is about not pushing outside the confines of your posts. … If an opponent has the puck on the wall at the hash marks, you start on the post. As the shooter skates toward you with the puck

  • Come off the post, at the shooter
  • Push out and overcomer on the short-side post; otherwise, as soon as you drop into the butterfly, you will be exposed on the short side.

Corralling and Covering Rebounds

In many instances, a rebound will come off your upper body or pads and end up right in front of you. … you want to retrieve the puck with your stick, pull it in, and cover it with your glove. … When covering the puck, attack the loose puck.

  • If you are forced to make a paddle-down save, … just reach over the top of the paddle and cover the puck with your glove.
  • Stop the puck first and then cover it
  • If the rebound is just out of reach and it turns into an in-tight breakaway situation, always try to get to your feet to defend.

Hockey Goaltending (Part 3 of 6)

3. Save Execution

The Butterfly

How fast you can drop down and be in a save position is the most important attribute you can have. … Goaltenders who are slow dropping into their butterfly must drop earlier to compensate for their lack of quickness. Dropping too early exposes the top portion of the net for a longer period.

Most saves are made from the butterfly position. … There are two types of butterfly positions. The active butterfly is an upright position with active hands and is used for plays that are farther out. The blocking butterfly is more compact, keeping everything tight, and it is used for plays in close.

Dropping into the Butterfly Position

It is important not to force your butterfly to be too wide. Let your position come to you naturally. When you use an unnatural butterfly and try to go as wide as you can, it slows you down as you go to the ice. Building on your butterfly width takes time and practice.

  • You should have a slight forward lean.
  • Drive your knees down to the ice. Let your hips generate the power.
  • Keep your feet in their set position on the ice… only your knees should move ahead.
  • Have a slight bend at the waist, and stay agile with hands up in a ready position

Moving in the Butterfly Position

The Inside-Edge Push is used to move across your ease when down in the butterfly position. This is utilized when you want to end up in a butterfly position at a different destination in the crease.

  • Make sure your head and shoulders take a slight turn in the direction of your destination.
  • Plant the back skate on an angle toward your destination
  • Keep your lead shoulder and leg forward
  • Keep your head down and push

Back-Leg Recovery

The goaltender will be required to move to a new destination and end up on his feet in a stance.

  • Turn your head and shoulders in the direction you want to move
  • Bring your front leg slightly underneath your body
  • Maintain active hands throughout the movement
  • Bring your back leg slightly behind, plant your skate on an angle, and drive off the back skate
  • Open up the lead skate and T-push into position, returning to a regular stance

Remember that “once it goes, it stays.” Never move a part of your body one way and then pull back to load up.

Butterfly Slide

Moving from a stance and sliding into a butterfly position at a new destination in the crease.

  • Turn your head; turn your shoulders
  • Lead with the lead side of your body.
  • Turn and pivot with your lead leg.
  • Push off you back leg and land on your lead knee, sliding directly into position and ending up in a butterfly.

Types of Save Executions

Glove Saves

The key principle is having it out in front of your body, ready to make a save. … A glove save can be executed from both a standing and a butterfly position. … From both positions, you must track the puck, stay on top of the shot, and watch it all the way into the glove, catching it in front of the body, not to the side.

  • Watch the puck
  • Have your hand meet the puck

Blocker Saves

To initialize proper blocker-hand positioning, the goalie should keep his wrist in a nearly straight line with his forearm. The key to executing ta proper blocker save is to be able to direct the rebound into the corner.

  • Watch the puck all the way into your blocker
  • Turn your wrist outward to direct the puck to the corner
  • Watch the puck off your blocker.

On higher shots close to the body, there is a tendency to reach with the hand … The elbow must be held up so you do not direct pucks too high

Stick Saves

As a rule, short side shots should not be handled with the stick. … short side shots along the ice can be better controlled with a butterfly pad save.

When defending a far blocker-side shot, you should deflect the puck out of play. Turn your stick off the thigh rise of the pad, and send the puck over the glass behind the net. … Don’t slice at the puck; let it come to the stick, and turn it aside by rotating the paddle of your stick off of your thigh rise.

Defending the far-side glove shot requires a different technique. … Keep your stick along the ice at an angle and use a knifing motion to send the puck into the corner or out of play.

Pad Saves

The key to executing a proper pad save is to be able to extend the leg, making the save while keeping your other leg in position. … Slightly transfer your weight toward the save leg to ensure the pad has a tight seal to the ice.

Body-Containment Saves

The position of a body-containment save is a butterfly, with hands forward and tight to the body. … Do not allow the blocker to come in so far that it deflects the puck.

  • Keep your stick on the ice.
  • Do not try to cover the puck in your body using your blocker hand.
  • If the puck escapes your body, you will need to retrieve the puck with your stick.
  • Support the save with the glove so the puck drops off the body into the glove.

Hockey Goaltending (part 2 of 6)

2. STANCE AND MOVEMENT

The key for successful goaltenders is to keep their game simple and efficient. … We are now going to look at five basic stances

The Regular Stance

The regular stance is mostly used when you are set to face a shot or scoring chance

Feet. The ideal foot placement is slightly wider than your shoulder width. … Find the position in your stance that provides both comfort and efficient lateral movement.

Knees. Bend your knees. … Having bent knees brings your lower to the ice, which improves your reaction time to get into a butterfly position.

Torso. You should lean your upper body forward with your “nose over toes.” The chest is upright with the lean coming from the hips. The shoulders should be held back with the chest out. You must avoid rounding your shoulders and upper back forward. … Maintaining this angle provides the perfect balance between tightness and the ability to react. Keeping the elbows bent automatically sets the forearms and gloves a few inches above the hips and thighs.

Stick. The stick is always held in front of the body on the ice … so the blade can be seen  in the goaltender’s peripheral vision. … The stick is … used to drive movement whether moving forward off the post or laterally from side to side. You want to be a “stick-first” goaltender. When moving forward, your hands and stick drive out as a guide. The same thing is true when moving laterally; the stick is used as a balance and drive point to move into position.

Hands. You should hold your hands forward of your trunk. This position gives you a peripheral view of your gloves and allows access to pucks in more positions both beside and in front of your body, called double coverage, by holding your gloves in front of an outside of your body.

The Tall Stance

The tall stance is used when the play does not pose an immediate threat. The idea behind this stance is that you can conserve energy and at the same time have  greater field of vision.

The main technical difference between the regular and tall stances is foot positioning. The goaltender places his feet shoulder-width apart in the tall stance. … By bringing the feet closer together, the goaltender can now straighten his body and bring his hips forward. The arms and gloves should not move. The goaltender’s stick will come up off the ice.

The Low Stance

In constrast to the tall stance, the low stance is used for situations in tight to the goaltender. … To drop into the low stance, … [push] your feet out into a wider position and [bring] your hips back.

Your arms and hands should not be moving. Your elbows should be kept close to your ribs, and you should be in full control of your forearms.

Post Stances

Post stances are the foundation to defend all plays that take place down low or below the red line. … It is extremely important that you can move uninhibitedly from the post to defend any scoring chances that arise in front of you.

Blocker-Side Post Stance

  • Have a tight seal and be in ready position with the chest up and the body slightly bent toward the post so you can move from your post position easily. You want to avoid “hugging” the post.
  • The heel of your skate is tight to the inside of the post, which in turn butts the pad up to the post, and the heel of your stick butts up to the toe of your post skate. Your shoulder is set against the post, and your head is bent slightly downward so your eyes are down over the puck.
  • Carry your hands, which means keeping your elbows in tight to your body and thus flaring your hands out into a ready position. … Make sure your head is forward over your toes and angled down.
  • Keep your back leg adjustable depending on where the play moves.

Glove-Side Post Stance

You want to be in a lean position on the post with your chest up and head in a downward position looking over the puck. It is important to maintain a tight seal on the post but not be locked into position so you can move off the post easily as the play develops in front of you.

  • The outside of your heel should be butted up firmly to the post
  • The toe of your stick is set tight against the toe of your post skate, or you can position the heel of your stick against the toe of your skate.
  • Hold the stick tightly so a puck can’t be banked off the stick and into the net. … There is no right or wrong way (palm out or palm in) to hold the glove.
  • Use the back leg as a steering mechanism to pull yourself through the center of the net.

MOVEMENT

Head-First-Stick-First Goaltending

Whenever moving form one location to another, you lead with your head, with your hands and stick as a guide. You should simply turn your head, keeping your chin downward, and drive to the destination while keeping your hands and stick out front and using the stick as a balance point.

Path of Direction

In basic terms, path of direction means you are always moving through the center of the crease to get to your next position on the ice – always taking away the middle of the net as early as possible. … Rather than trying to get to your next destination as quickly as possible, you are trying to cover the middle of ht net as quickly as possible. … the key is to chase space, not the puck.

C-Cut

When performing the C-cut, the heel of the goalie’s lead skate comes back toward the body by cutting through the ice in a “C” Figure. As the heel is coming back to the body, the goaltender opens his ankle toward the puck and lets the toe point at the new angle. The goalie lets his back foot pivot.

when executing a forward C-cut, the goaltender turns the toe outward and pushes down and forward on the back inside edge. The, he returns the push leg into a regular stance position as quickly as possible. For a backward C-cut, the goaltender turns the to inward and push down and forward on the front inside edge before returning the push leg into a regular stance position.

T-Push

It is used for lateral movement, forward movement off the post, and retreating to the post. .. It is used almost every time the puck is passed.

The goalie will rotate his body before pushing. He does this to reposition himself so he can attack a new angle produced but he puck’s ever-changing position. … the inside of the lead skate is parallel to the puck and the toe of that same skate is pointing perpendicular to the new angle created by the new puck position. This means that the lead skate will now be pointing at the position where the goaltender wants to end up.

Shuffle

Keep both toes pointed at the puck. … Use the lead skate to initiate the movement. Every time the goaltender reaches with his lead skate, he mist bring his back leg towards his body.

Stance and Movement Drills

Except for turning the head to locate and track the target, when you move, there should be no indication above the waist that you are moving at all.

Hockey Goaltending (part 1 of 6)

Hockey Goaltending: The Definitive Guide to Elite Goaltending

By: Eli Wilson and Brian van Vliet (2018)

[Pigeonhole] A Practical Rule Book

[Premise] Being good at Hockey Goaltending is a progression from proper positioning through standard movements and into reactive tactics.  This progression of knowledge must be reinforced through specific drills in practice sessions and in live game scenarios. This book is the training manual to prepare you for real games.

Chapters

  1. Selecting and Fitting Gear (p 1-14)
  2. Stance and Movement (p 15 – 36)
    • Drills 13 – 14
  3. Save Execution (p 37 – 62)
    • Drills 52 – 62
  4. Postsave Recovery (p 63 – 90)
    • Drills 78 – 90
  5. Puck Handling (p 91 – 114)
    • Drills 108 – 114
  6. Tactics (p 115 – 136)
    • Drills 127 – 136
  7. Off-Ice Training (p 137 – 198)
  8. The Mental Game (p 199 – 214)
    • Drills 211 – 214
  9. Mentoring the Complete Goaltender (p 215 – 229)

[Key Points]

The following 6-Part blog will focus on the pure tactical side of on-ice goaltending.  It is a digest of the basic movements and positions to get started in Hockey Goaltending. The digest will not go into the specific drills of the first six chapters, nor go into the second half of the book which is about specific exercise routines as well as coaching yourself and others. Each part of the 6-part blog reflects the key points of the corresponding chapter.

1. SELECTING AND FITTING GEAR

Goalie Pads

There are two types of goalie pads that are designed and engineered specifically for controlling the puck and preventing a goal. (They) are called the flat-face goalie pad and the knee-roll goalie pad, as these two attributes are the key visible differences. The flat-face goalie pad has one continuous plane from top to bottom, and the knee-roll goalie pad typically has three horizontal three-dimensional rolls running across the knee region.

Flat-Face Goalie Pads are designed for goalies who want to look big to cover more net. The goaltender who prefers this style of goalie pads is looking for a big rebound to the corner and out of play to allow time to recover from dropping to his knees.

The Knee-Roll Goalie Pad is designed fro goalies who are extremely agile when moving across the crease and want ta softer pad that fits tightly to their leg so it feels as thought it is an extension of them.

Catch Glove

Much like goalie pads, there are different closing breaks in all glove models. Some gloves, for example, close toward the fingers, and some close toward the thumb. One break is not better than the other; rather, the break is about comfort and forearm strength. Gloves are described as having either a 60- or 90-degree angle, which refers to the angle of the thumb.

Options are also offered in the tee pocket design. Most goalies prefer the double tee for its deep pocket and increased visibility from more lacing areas in which to see the puck, especially when smothering in front of the net. … they select the regular lacing option, as the skate lacing is wider and can reduce visibility.

Harder shots are being felt between the cuff and the catch area of the two-piece glove. This situation has created the need for a one-piece cuff, where the cuff and catch are integrated and provide more protection in the wrist and forearm areas.

Blocker

The best pro goalies today use blockers that provide a large inside thumb and cuff protectors that not only protect the hand and wrist but also provide more blocking surface.

Chest Protector

Like goalie pads, chest protectors are available in two styles: squared, for goalies who want to look big and cover more net, and angular for goalies who want to maximize their mobility in the crease.

The most important areas of protection in the chest protector are the clavicle and sternum. The front midchest area is often positioned away from the body so that if the puck were to hit your chest, the air between the protector and your body would absorb the energy.

Pants

Goalie pants are designed to maximize your coverage and protect the thigh and groin areas; today, however, many designs are engineered with unique features to make you look big and increase your mobility. … You will need to consider whether you tuck in your chest protector or wear it outside the pants

Mask

It is important that the mask fits the head and that it is anchored at the chin cup. The more toward the front of the mask the face sits, the greater the peripheral vision.

The chin anchors the mask. The mask should fit snugly without any gaps between the forehead and cheek area and the inner foam. … There should be an inch or two between your nose and the cage. After the mask has been properly positioned, the back plate should be secured with the snaps and the elastic adjusted so the back plate is inside the shell.

Skates

An asymmetrical cuff on skate can provide more flexion when you are deep in your stance or in the power push, and it can also assist with recover to stand up. … It is important to ensure that your skate boot be constructed with high-performance composite materials with strategic reinforcements where goalies could receive a shot. (The toe area)

Stick

It is important that you have the correct stick length for your height and stance. … Two stick constructions are available: foam core and composite. … The main performance benefit of a foam-core stick is the foam reinforcement within the paddle to dampen the vibration from the puck. Composite goalie sticks are the lightest stick option.

A medium-size heel curve, which is very open, is designed to clear the zone. … A big heel curve, which is slightly open is deeper to help move the puck quickly. A medium midcurve position in the center of the blade is slightly open and is great for controlling the puck around the net.

Mastermind Dinners

Mastermind Dinners: Build Lifelong Relationships by Connecting Experts, Influencers and Linchpins

By: Jayson Gaignard (2015)

[Pigeonhole] A Practical Rule Book

[Premise] A “Mastermind Dinner” is one person’s effort to connect individuals with a similar commonalities through a curated dinner experience of 4-8 people. Conducting these dinners will deepen the organizer’s relationships with the attendees and build a stronger network for all that are involved.

  1. Background and Mindset (p 11-43)
  2. Build the guest list (p 44 – 75)
  3. Prep the location (p 76 – 77)
  4. Conduct the dinner (p 77 – 95)

[Key Points]

  • Relationship building (or networking) is a mindset that stems from a deep caring for others
  • I would rather have a closed Facebook community of 500 members for my podcast than an email list of 5,000
  • Mastermind dinners are great for:
    • Reconnecting with old ties
    • Introducing people who can benefit from knowing each other
    • Connecting with people who I’ve been meaning to connect with for quite some time
  • “Local” Dinners are hosted in your home area, “Location” dinners are hosted when traveling
  • Tip: Hold a dinner for speakers. Event producers rarely do anything for their speakers
  • Be sure there is at least one commonality amongst your guests
    • Don’t select people at both extremes of the unifying commonality
    • Don’t invite anyone with a conflicting interest (competitors)
  • Group of 3 is a little too small, 4 is a good natural set up.  At 5 you begin to act as the facilitator. At 6 you should consider a round table and at 8 consider a private dining room.
  • Run a couple of smaller dinners with less “known” names to get comfortable
  • Be clear on your “Why”.  Why are you putting on dinners? Why do you want certain individuals?
  • Avoid reaching out to potential guests “cold”. Try to leverage direct connections or social media connections.
  • You do not need to have a commonality with your guests, they must have an commonality.  Commonalities include:
    • an Organization
    • a Platform
    • an Event
  • Build a guest list by inviting the most likely ‘yes’ first, then the second and so on (this is called the ‘Food Chain’ approach) – Or – Get a ‘big fish’ first and you will find getting other yeses will be easier (this is called the ‘Anchor Tenant’ approach)
  • A good salesman knows that his first real sale is himself
    • Sample sales video: bit.ly/mmt2013
  • Trying to land a big name?
    • “What works in the military works in marketing, and that’s the unexpected”
    • Why are you reaching out to this particular person? What is the desired outcome? Be very clear.
    • Are there alternative people who could help me reach the same desired outcome?
    • The most important question: What’s in it for them?
  • It’s imperative that you know who you’re reaching out to, inside and out.
  • To reach someone, try to use the least ‘noisy’ medium for them
  • The success of the outreach is often in direct proportion to the amount of effort you put into it. Getting them emotionally hooked and eliciting a response is more difficult than just getting a message in front of them.
  • For emails use open-ended subject lines and try to include something specific to them
    • Keep the email short and prompt a response that invites a second email
  • Send personal videos to the attendees 6 months after the event
    • bit.ly/videoreaction1
    • bit.ly/videoreaction2
  • Tool for no response: Yesware
    • Try to restructure your email and provide a little more information
    • Simply resend the original email
  • Responding to a “No”: try “under what circumstances would you say yes?”
  • Tools: connect.com | contactually.com | LinkedIn search
  • Facebook post when traveling: “Traveling to San Diego, do you have anybody you think I should connect with while I’m in town?”
  • For Local Dinners, set up one or two ‘go to’ locations
  • Two approaches to guests:
    • Don’t do any research so that the conversation is open and natural
    • Know as much as possible about each individual so that you can facilitate good conversation and find ‘uncommon commonalities’ (recommended)
  • Send a calendar invite for the event, but do not share the guest list
    • Send a quick reminder email the night before
    • Send a text the day of so that they have your phone number readily available
  • Recommended that the host pay for the meal
    • If it’s a ‘user pay’ dinner, invite the guests to a ‘dutch treat’ dinner and set up an Eventbrite page to collect money in advance
    • Or, can play payment games such as credit card roulette or phone stacking
  • With 6 or more guests, consider assigned seating
    • ‘Table Searing’ is sitting the most interesting and outgoing person at the center of the table
    • Switch seats at some point in the dinner to mix up the conversation
    • Host should sit in the center to be the ‘conversation cop’
  • Arrive 25 – 60 minutes early to make sure you have the right table and that no guests are left waiting
  • Kick off the dinner by explaining your relationship with each person, why everyone is there and the ground rules
    • Everything shared in the room stays in the room
    • Order wine by the glass, not the bottle
    • No cell phones
    • Order first and get that out of the way
    • Set the end time (you can always go to the bar after)
  • Start off the formal introductions yourself
    • Top professional or business achievement
    • Top personal achievement
    • a Bold Goal
    • “Thorns and Roses” (something going well, something with potential (a bud) and something that is a pain
    • Any other ice breakers
  • Conversation should kick off after intros – be a facilitator
    • Be conscious of people’s body language at the table
    • make sure that everyone shares stories and experiences and enjoys themselves
  • Take a picture of the group to share on social media, or to be part of a follow up email
  • Connect people after the event with a group email or Facebook message
    • Thank them for investing their time
    • Include one or two points from the dinner
    • Include a resource list of items that the conversations covered
  • Carry a small notebook to record important points and resources from the dinner
  • If a guests asks you how they can “deliver value to you” after the meal, ask them to connect you to an interesting person
  • Email the group a year later to say “Happy Anniversary”
  • use #Mdinners to enter into a monthly $100 drawing
  • Contact the author at clarity.fm/jaysongaignard

 

 

Chapter 21 – Reading and Growth of the Mind

  1. READING AND GROWTH OF THE MIND

We have now completed the task that lay before us at the beginning of this book. We have shown that activity is the essence of good reading, and that the more active reading is, the better it is.

We have defined active reading as the asking of questions, and we have indicated what questions must be aske of any book, and how those questions must be answered in different ways for different kinds of books.

We have identified and discussed the four levels of reading, and shown how these are cumulative, earlier or lower levels being contained in later or higher ones. Consequent upon our stated intention, we have laid more stress upon the later and higher levels of reading than upon the earlier and lower ones, and we have therefore emphasized analytical and syntopical reading. Since analytical reading is probably the most unfamiliar kind for most readers, we have discussed it at greater length than any of the other levels, giving its rules and explaining them in the order in which they must be applied. But almost everything that was said of analytical reading also applies, with certain adaptations that were mentioned in the last chapter, to syntopical reading as well.

We have completed our task, but you may not have completed yours. We do not need to remind you that this is a practical book, nor that the reader of a practical book has a special obligation with respect to it. If, we said, the reader of a practical book accepts the ends it proposes and agrees that the means recommended are appropriate and effective, then he must act in the way proposed. You may not accept the primary aim we have endorsed – namely, that you should be able to read as well as possible – nor the means we have proposed to reach it – namely, the rules of inspectional, analytical, and syntopical reading. (In that case, however, you are not likely to be reading this page.) But if you do accept that aim and agree that the means are appropriate, then you must make the effort to read as you probably have never read before.

WHAT GOOD BOOKS CAN DO FOR US

If you are reading in order to become a better reader, you cannot read just any book or article. You will not improve as a reader if all you read are books that are well within your capacity. You must tackle books that are beyond you. … Only books of that sort will make you stretch your mind. And unless you stretch, you will not learn.

A Book that can do no more than amuse or entertain you may be a pleasant diversion for an idle hour, but you must not expect to get anything but amusement from it. We are not against amusement in its own right, but we do want to stress that improvement in reading skill does not accompany it. That same goes for a book that merely informs you of facts that you did not know without adding to your understanding of those facts. Reading for information does not stretch your mind any more than reading for amusement. It may seem as though it does, but that is merely because your mind is fuller of facts than it was before you read the book. However, your mind is essentially in the same condition that it was before. There has been a quantitative change, but no improvement in your skill.

We have already remarked that the great scientific books are in many ways easier to read than non-scientific ones, because of the care with which scientific authors help you to come to terms, identify the key propositions, and state the main arguments. These helps are absent from poetical works, and so in the long run they are quite likely to be the hardest, and most demanding, books that you can read.

The difficulties that we are talking about here are very different from the difficulties that are presented by a bad book. It is hard to read a bad book, too, for it defies your efforts to analyze it, slipping through your fingers whenever you think you have it pinned down. In fact, in the case of a bad book, there is really nothing to pin down. It is not worth the effort of trying. You receive no reward for your struggle.

A good book does reward you for trying to read it. The best books reward you most of all. The reward, of course, is of two kinds. First, there is the improvement in your reading skill that occurs when you successfully tackle a good, difficult work. Second – and this in the long run is much more important – a good book can teach you about the world and about yourself. You learn more than how to read better; you also learn more about life. You become wiser. Not just more knowledgeable – books that provide nothing but information can produce that result. But wiser, in the sense that you are more deeply aware of the great and enduring truths to human life.

THE PYRAMID OF BOOKS

The great majority of the several million books that have been written in the Western tradition alone – more than 99 per cent of them – will not make sufficient demands on you for you to improve your skill in reading. … These are the books that can be read only for amusement or information. … In fact, you do not have to read them – analytically – at all. Skimming will do.

There is a second class of books from which you can learn – both how to read and how to live.  … These are the good books, the ones that were carefully wrought by their authors, the ones that convey to the reader significant insights about subjects of enduring interest to human beings. There are in all probably no more than a few thousand such books. … They are worth reading analytically – once. … You know that you will never have to read them again, although you may return to them to check certain points or to refresh your memory of certain ideas or episodes. (It is in the case of such books that the notes you make in the margin or elsewhere in the volume are particularly valuable.)

Of the few thousand such books there is a much smaller number – here the number is probably less than a hundred – that cannot be exhausted by even the very best reading you can manage. How do you recognize this? Again it is rather mysterious, but when you have closed the book after reading it analytically to the best of your ability, and place it back on the shelf you have a sneaking suspicion that there is more than you got. … You find that you cannot forget the book, that you keep thinking about it and your reaction to it. Finally, you return to it. And then a very remarkable thing happens.

If the book belongs to the second class of books to which we referred before, you find, on returning to it that there was less there than you remembered. The reason, of course, is that you yourself have grown in the meantime. Your mind is fuller, your understanding greater. The book has not changed, but you have. Such a return is inevitably disappointing.

But if the book belongs to the highest class – the very small number of inexhaustible books – you discover on returning that the book seems to have grown with you. You see new things in it – whole sets of new things – that you did not see before. Your previous understanding of the book is not invalidated (assuming that you read it well the first time); it is just as true as it ever was, and in the same ways that it was true before. But now it is true in still other ways, too.

Our point is that you should seek out the few books that can have this value for you. The are the books that will teach you the most, both about reading and about life. They are the books to which you will want to return over and over. They are the books that will help you to grow.

Chapter 20 – The Fourth Level of Reading: Syntopical Reading (part 4 of 4)

THE SYNTOPICON AND HOW TO USE IT

IF you read ths chapter carefully, you will have noticed that, although we spent some time discussing it, we did not really solve what we called the paradox of syntopcial reading. That paradox can be stated thus: Unless you know what books to read, you cannot read syntopically, but unless you can read syntopically, you do not know what to read. … if you do not know where to start, you cannot read syntopically; and even if you have a rough idea of where to begin, the time required to find the relevant books and relevant passages in those books may exceed the time required to take all of the other steps combined.

Theoretically, you could know the major literature of our tradition so thoroughly that you had a working notion of where every idea is discussed in it. But if you are such a person, you need no help from anybody. … What is needed, therefore, is a reference book that tells you where to go to find the relevant passages on a large number of subjects of interest, without at the same time saying how the passages should be read – without prejudging their meaning or significance. The Syntopicon is an example of such a work. Produced in the 1940’s, it is a topical index to the set of books titled Great Books of the Western World. Under each of some 3,000 topics or subjects, it lists references to pages within the set where that subject is discussed. Some of the references are to passages covering many pages, others are key paragraphs or even parts of paragraphs. No more time is required to find them than is needed to take down the indicated volume and flip through its pages.

The Syntopicon has one major defect, of course. It is an index of just one set of books (albeit a large one), and it gives only a very rough indication of where passages may be found in other books that are not included in the set. Nevertheless, it always provides you with at least a place to start on any syntopical reading project.

It works initiatively by overcoming the initial difficulty that anyone faces when confronted by the classical books of our tradition. These works are a little overpowering. We may wish that we had to read them, but often we do not do so. … A syntopical reading of these major works with the aid of the Syntopicon provides a radically different solution. … It helps us to read in the great books before we have read through them.

Syntopical reading is the great books, with the help of the Syntopicon, may also work suggestively. Starting from the reader’s existing interest in a particular subject, it may arouse or create other interests in related subjects. And once started on an author, it is hard not to explore the context. Before you know it, you have read a good portion of the book.

Finally, syntopical reading with the aid of the Syntopicon works instructively, in three distinct ways. This, in fact, is one of the major benefits of this level of reading.

First, the topic in connection with which the passage is being read serves to give direction to the reader in interpreting the passage. But it does not tell him what the passage means, since the passage may be relevant to the topic in several or many different ways. Hence the reader is called upon to discover precisely what relevance the passage has to the topic. To learn to do this is to acquire a major skill in the art of reading.

Second, the collection of a number of passages on the same topic, but from different works and different authors, serves to sharpen the reader’s interpretation of each passage read.

Third, if syntopical reading is done on a number of different subjects, the fact that the same passage will often be found cited in the Syntopicon under two or more subjects will have its instructive effect. … Such multiple interpretation not only is a basic exercise in the art of reading but also tends to make the mind habitually alert to the many strains of meaning that any rich or complex passage can contain.

SUMMARY OF SYNTOPICAL READING

As we have seen, there are two main stages of syntopical reading. One is preparatory, and the other is syntopical reading proper. Let us write out all of these steps for review.

  • SURVEYING THE FIELD: Preparatory to Syntopical Reading
  1. Create a tentative bibliography of your subject by recourse to library catalogues, advisors, and bibliographies in books.
  2. Inspect all of the books on the tentative bibliography to ascertain which are germane to your subject, and also to acquire a clearer idea of the subject.

NOTE: These two steps are not, strictly speaking, chronologically distinct; that is, the two steps have an effect on each other, with the second, in particular, serving to modify the first.

  • SYNTOPICAL READING of the Bibliography Amassed in Stage I.
  1. Inspect the books already identified as relevant to your subject in Stage I in order to find the most relevant passages.
  2. Bring the authors to terms by constructing a neutral terminology of the subject that all, or the great majority, of the authors can be interpreted as employing, whether they actually employ the words or not.
  3. Establish a set of questions to which all or most of the authors can be interpreted as giving answers, whether they actually treat the questions explicitly or not.
  4. Define the issues, both major and minor ones, by ranging the opposing answers of authors to the various questions on one side of an issue or another. You should remember that an issue does not always exist explicitly between or among authors, but that it sometimes has to be constructed by interpretation of the authors’ views on matters that may not have been their primary concern.
  5. Analyze the discussion by ordering the questions and issues in such a way as to throw maximum light on the subject. More general issues should precede less general ones, and relations among issues should be clearly indicated.

    NOTE: Dialectical detachment or objectivity should, ideally, be maintained throughout. One way to insure this is always to accompany an interpretation of an author’s views on an issue with an actual quotation from his text.

Chapter 20 – The Fourth Level of Reading: Syntopical Reading (part 3 of 4)

THE NEED FOR OBJECTIVITY

The syntopical reader, in short, tries to look at all sides and to take no sides. … But it is easier to take no sides than to look at all sides. In this latter respect, the syntopical reader will undoubtedly fail. All possible sides of an issue cannot be exhaustively enumerated. Nevertheless, he must try.

Taking no sides is easier than look at all sides, we say, but it remains difficult even so. The syntopical reader must resist certain temptations and know his own mind. … Partiality can intrude in a variety of subtle ways – by the manner in which arguments are summarized, by shades of emphasis and neglect, by the tone of a question or the color of a passing remark, and by the order in which the various different answers to key questions are presented.

In order to avoid some of these dangers, the conscientious syntopical reader may resort to one obvious device and use as much as possible. That is, he must constantly refer back to the actual text of his authors, reading the relevant passages over and over; and, in presenting the results of his work to a wider audience, he must quote the opinion or argument of an author in the writer’s own language. Although it may appear to do so, this does not contradict what we said earlier about the necessity of finding a neutral terminology, in which to analyze the problem. That necessity remains, and when summaries of an author’s argument are presented, they must be presented in that language and not the author’s. But the author’s own words, carefully quoted so as not to wrench them out of context, must accompany the summary, so that the reader can judge for himself whether the interpretation of the author is correct.

AN EXAMPLE OF AN EXERCISE IN SYNTOPICAL READING: THE IDEA OF PROGRESS

An example may be helpful to explain how syntopical reading works. Let us consider the idea of progress.

The investigation of this important historical and philosophical idea occupied several years. The first task was to produce a list of works to be examined for relevant passages – to amass a bibliography (it finally ran to more than 450 items). This task was accomplished by a series of inspection readings of several times that many books, articles, and other pieces. … There were obvious places to start; many recent books contain the word “progress” in their titles. But other do not, and most of the older books, although relevant to the subject, do not even employ the term.

A few fictional and poetical works were read, but on the whole it was decided to concentrate on expository works. … Generally speaking, an intensive effort of synthetic interpretation is required before a fictional work can be placed on one side or another of an issue. The effort is so great, and the results essentially so dubious, that usually it is prudent to abstain.

The discussion of progress in the many works that remained to be examined was, as is usually the case, apparently chaotic. Faced with this fact, the task was, as we have indicated, to develop a neutral terminology. This was a complex undertaking, but one example may help to explain what was done.

The word “progress” itself is used by authors in a number of different ways. Most of these different ways reflect no more than shades of meaning, and they can be handled in the analysis. But the word is use by some authors to denote a certain kind of movement forward in history that is not an improvement. Since most of the authors use the word to denote historical change in the human condition that is for the better, and since betterment is the essence of the conception, the same word could not be applied to both views. In this case, the majority gained the day, and the minority faction had to be referred to as authors who assert “non-meliorative advance” in history. The point is that when discussing the views of the minority faction, we could not employ the word “progress,” even though the authors involved had used it themselves.

The third step in sytopical reading is, as we have noted, getting the questions clear. … The first question to ask, the question to which authors can be interpreted as giving various answers, is, Does progress occur in history? Is it a fact that the general course of historical change is the direction of improvement in man’ condition? Basically, there are three different answers to this question put forth in the literature of the subject: (1) Yes, (2) No, and (3) We cannot know.

The multifarious and the interrelated answers to this primary question constitute what we decided to call the general controversy about progress. It is general in the sense that every author we studied who has anything significant to say about the subject takes sides on the various issues that can be identified within it. But there is also a special controversy about progress, which is made up of issues that are joined only be progress authors – authors who assert that progress occurs. These issues have to do with the nature of properties of the progress that they all, being progress authors, assert is a fact of history. There are only three issues here, although the discussion of each of them is complex. They can be stated as questions: (1) Is progress necessary, or is it contingent on other occurrences? (2) Will progress continue indefinitely, or will it eventually come to an end or “plateau out”? (3) Is there progress in human nature as well as in human institutions – in the human animal itself, or merely in the external conditions of human life?

Finally, there is a set of subordinate issues, as we called them, again only among progress authors, about the respects in which progress occurs. We identified six areas in which progress is said by some authors to occur, although other writers deny its occurrence in one or more of these areas – although never in all (since they are by definition authors who assert the occurrence of some kind of progress). The six are: (1) progress in knowledge, (2) technological progress, (3) economic progress, (4) political progress, (5) moral progress, and (6) progress in the fine arts. The discussion of the last point raises special problems, since in our opinion no author genuinely asserts that such aesthetic progress occurs in this respect.

The structure of the analysis of progress just described exemplifies our effort to define the issues within the discussion of this subject and to analyze the discussion itself – in other words, to take the fourth and fifth steps in syntopical reading. And something like this must always be done by a syntopical reader, although of course he does not always have to write a long book reporting his researches.

Chapter 20 – The Fourth Level of Reading: Syntopical Reading (part 2 of 4)

THE FIVES STEPS IN SYNTOPICAL READING

We are now prepared to explain how to read syntopically. … There are five steps in syntopical reading. … We will discuss them roughly in the order in which they occur, although in a sense all of them have to take place for any of them to.

STEP 1 IN SYNTOPICAL READING: FINDING THE RELEVANT PASSAGES. In syntopical reading, it is your concerns that are primarily to be served, not the books that you read.

Hence the first step at this level of reading is another inspection of the whole works that you have identified as relevant. Your aim is to find the passages in the books that are most germane to your needs. … you should read the book quickly. You do not want to lose sight of the fact that you are reading it for an ulterior purpose – namely, for the light it may throw on your own problem – not for its own sake.

It might seem that this step could be taken concurrently with the previously described inspection of a book, … In many cases, that is so. But it is unwise to consider that this is always possible. … Therefore, to try to identify the relevant passages at the same time that you identify the relevant books is often perilous. Unless you are very skillful, or already quite familiar with your subject, you had better treat the two steps as separate.

What is important here is to recognize the difference between the first books that you read in the course of syntopical reading, and those that you come to after you have read many others on the subject. In the case of the later books, you probably already have a fairly clear idea of your problem, and in that case the two steps can coalesce. But at the beginning, they should be kept rigorously separated.

Above all, remember that you task is not so much to achieve an overall understanding of the particular book before you as to find out how it can be useful to you in a connection that may be very far from the author’s own purpose in writing it. That does not matter at this stage of the proceedings. The author can help you to solve your own problem without having intended to.

Because this is so, you must go about the business of coming to terms with your authors in a somewhat different way than before.

STEP 2 IN SYNTOPICAL READING: BRINGING THE AUTHORS TO TERMS. In interpretive reading (the second stage of analytical reading) the first rule requires you to come to terms with the author, which means identifying his key words and discovering how he uses them. But now you are faced with a number of different authors, and it is unlikely that they will have all used the same words, or even the same terms. Thus it is you who must establish the terms, and bring your authors to them rather than the other way around.

This is probably the most difficult step in syntopical reading. What it really comes down to is forcing an author to use your language, rather than using his. All of our normal reading habits are opposed to this.

Not only must we resolutely refuse to accept the terminology of any one author; we must also be willing to face the possibility that no author’s terminology will be useful to us. In other words, we must accept the fact that coincidence of terminology between us and any of the authors on our list is merely accidental.

Syntopical reading, in short, is to a large extent an exercise in translation. … We impose a common terminology on a number of authors who, whatever natural language they many have shared in common, may not have been specifically concerned with the problem we are trying to solve, and therefore may not have created the ideal terminology for dealing with it.

This means that as we proceed on our project of syntopical reading we must begin to build up a set of terms that first, helps us to understand all of our authors, not just one or a few of them, and second, helps us to solve our problem. That insight leads to the third step.

STEP 3 IN SYNTOPICAL READING: GETTING THE QUESTIONS CLEAR. The second rule of interpretive reading requires us to find the authors key sentences, and from them to develop an understanding of his propositions. Propositions are made up of terms, and of course we must do a similar job on the works we are reading syntopically. But since we ourselves are establishing the terminology in this case, we are faced with the task of establishing a set of neutral propositions as well. The best way to do this is to frame a set of questions that shed light on our problem, and to which each of our authors gives answers.

This, too, is difficult. The questions must be stated in such a way and in such an order that they help us to solve the problem we started with, but they also must be framed in such a way that all or most of our authors can be interpreted as giving answers to them.

Sometimes, indeed, we have to accept the fact that an author gives no answer to one or more of our questions. In that case, we must record him as silent or indeterminate on the question. … we also cannot depend entirely on their explicit statements about the problem. If we could depend on any one of them in that way, we probably would have no problem to solve.

We have said that the questions must be put in an order that is helpful to us in our investigation. The order depends on the subject, of course, but some general direction can be suggested. The first questions usually have to do with the existence or character of the phenomenon or idea we are investigating. If an author says that the phenomenon exists or that the idea has a certain character, then we may ask further questions of his book. These may have to do with how the phenomenon is known or how the idea manifests itself. A final set of questions might have to do with the consequences of the answers to the previous questions.

We should not expect that all of our authors will answer our questions in the same way. If they did, we would once again have no problem to solve; it would have been solved by consensus. Since the authors will differ, we are faced with having to take the next step in syntopical reading.

STEP 4 IN SYNTOPICAL READING: DEFINING THE ISSUES. If a question is clear, and if we can be reasonably certain that authors answer it in different ways – perhaps pro and con – then an issue has been defined. It is the issue between the authors who answer the question in one way, and those who answer it in one or another opposing way. … The opposing answers must be ordered in relation to one another, and the authors who adopt them classified according to their views.

An issue is truly joined when two authors who understand a question in the same way answer it in the contrary or contradictory ways. But this does not happen as often as one might wish. Usually, differences in answers must be ascribed to different conceptions of the question as often as to different views of the subject. The task of the syntopical reader is to define the issues in such a way as to insure that they are joined as well as may be. Sometimes this forces him to frame the question in a way that is not explicitly employed by any author.

There may be many issues involved in the discussion of the problem we are dealing with, but it is likely that they will fall into groups. Questions about the character of the idea under considerations, for example, may generate a number of issues that are connected. A number of issues revolving around a closely connected set of questions may be termed the controversy about that aspect of the subject. Such a controversy may be very complicated, and it is the task of the syntopical reader to sort it out and arrange it in an orderly and perspicuous fashion, even if no author has managed to do that. This sorting and arranging of the controversies, as well as of the constituent issues, brings us to the final step in syntopical reading.

STEP 5 IN SYNTOPICAL READING: ANALYZING THE DISCUSSION. So far we have found the relevant passages in the works examined, created a neutral terminology that applies to all or most of the authors examined, framed and ordered a set of questions that most of them can be interpreted as answering, and defined and arranged the issues produced by differing answers to the questions. What then remains to be done?

The first four steps correspond to the first two groups of rules for analytical reading. Those rules, when followed and applied to any book, allowed us to answer the questions, What does it say? And How does it say it? In our syntopical reading project, we are similarly able at this point to answer the same questions about the discussion concerning our problem. In the case of the analytical reading of a single work, two further questions remained to be answered, namely, Is it true? And What of it? In the case of syntopical reading, we are now prepared to address ourselves to similar questions about the discussion.

We would probably be presumptuous to expect that the truth could be found in any one set of answers to the questions. Rather, it is to be found, if at all, in the conflict of opposing answers, many if not all of which may have persuasive evidence and convincing reasons to support them.

The truth, then, insofar as it can be found – the solution to the problem, insofar as that is available to us – consists rather in the ordered discussion itself than in any set of propositions or assertions about it. Thus, in order to present this truth to our minds – and to the minds of others – we have to do more than merely ask and answer the questions. We have to ask them in a certain order, and be able to defend that order; we must show how the questions are answered differently and try to say why; and we must be able to point to the texts in the books examined that support our classification of answers. Only when we have done all of this can we claim to have analyzed the discussion of our problem. And only then can we claim to have understood it.