More on Obama’s law review art

I printed it yesterday,  so now I’m committed to reading it.  When reading 56 pages of boring academic writing it’s best to have a strategy for staying engaged. Here’s mine:

1. Read first and last pages first, i.e. the conclusion and table of contents. That way I know where the writer is starting and going. Continue reading earlier and later pages until finishing in the middle.

2.  In conjunction with step 1, read all of the footnotes and the propositions for which they are cited. This is where writers hide the ball on their readers.

3. Only after completing the first two steps, read it front to back. Most law review real estate is taken up by footnotes, so this is the shortest step.

I don’t know if this strategy works well, or even if it works at all because I just made it up on the fly. But, to truly read critically you need to challenge every proposition. I think this strategy helps accomplish that goal.


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