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BOOK REVIEW: The Intellectual Devotional by David S. Kidder & Noah D. Oppenheim


When I first heard about The Intellectual Devotional: Revive Your Mind, Complete Your Education and Roam Confidently with the Cultured Class by David S. Kidder & Noah D. Oppenheim I have to admit to being skeptical. I relate the word “devotions” to its ecclesiastical meaning of “religious observance or worship, religious texts” and was having difficulty with the idea of daily lessons/readings of an intellectual nature.

The Intellectual Devotional is structured so you can begin using it at any time in the year. Each day of the week has a different field from which the day’s lesson is drawn: Mondays focuses on history; Tuesdays on literature; Wednesday on visual arts; Thursdays on science; Friday on music; Saturday on philosophy; and Sundays on religion. As the authors say: “The book’s goal is to refresh knowledge you’ve forgotten, bring to light fresh insights, and exercise modes of thinking that are ordinarily neglected once our school days are behind us.”

So what can you learn by including The Intellectual Devotional in your daily routine? The daily essays provide a brief synopsis of the topic followed by additional facts. One item the authors may wish to include in future editions is to include sources for follow-up readings on each topic as a footnote to the essays. The daily entries cover a broad spectrum in each field of learning. For example, some essays in the literature section are on individual authors while others address a specific book or literary movement such as the Harlem Renaissance. The field of religion covers all major faiths, as well as important leaders and theological understandings.

I can see this book as one readers will utilize for the year and keep around as a reference volume and it is for this function that the included index will come in handy. Of concern are the ragged page edges which, while initially providing a lovely look to the book, with repeated flipping have the potential to become dirty looking and quite worn.

The book’s website has a forum where you can offer suggestions for the second edition and sign up for a free 7 day trial prior to buying the book.

ISBN10: 1594865132
ISBN13: 9781594865138

377 Pages
Publisher: Rodale Books
Publication Date: October 2006
Book website:


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