Something surprised me while walking through the “Christian Living” section of a local bookstore. There was almost nothing for men. Of the dozens of titles sitting on the shelves, most were marketed towards my wife. It didn’t take long on Google to figure out why. Seventy-five percent of people who buy books are women.
So, since you’ve made it this far, I’m going to assume that you are either
- A woman, or
- Someone who values reading
For years, Godly authors have helped close the distance between what I know in my head and believe in my heart about Christianity (the faith gap). And, by the end of this post, I hope to further your commitment to read and offer ways to do it better. Perhaps it will inspire you to point others towards a love for reading, and help close their own faith gaps.
Despite the statistic mentioned above, I know a lot of men who are well-read. They are also (not coincidentally) influential leaders. Sharp books shape people who shape people.
“The man who never reads will never be read. He who will not use the thoughts of other men’s brains, proves that he has no brains of his own.” – Charles Spurgeon
While articles or blog posts help and are (at very least) a good starting point for non-readers, books influence people for decades. And, if you’re slow to start one, there are ways to get past the first hurdles:
- Set a goal. Commit to read one before 2016 ends. (The next section will help)
- Read with a friend. The added accountability and different perspective makes finishing a book much easier.
- Make time. Create space in your schedule to read. Take advantage of small moments as well (lunch breaks, sitting in a waiting room, Saturday morning coffee).
If you’re a dude, ten bucks says you skipped all the way down to this part. Honestly, I’m just glad you’re still here. So, how can we read books quicker? On average, I read four or five books per month and have become increasingly efficient by doing four things:
- Flip through the whole book in one sitting to get an idea for overall content.
- Read the preface carefully. Mortimer J. Adler taught me this in How to Read a Book. There are good clues in the preface that will lead you to discover everything the author intends for the journey ahead.
- There are moments when it’s okay to mine for concepts rather than read every single word. With leadership and development books in particular, I’ve found that the devil is not in the details. It’s usually in the sub-headings and chapter conclusions.
- Read more than you do right now. This is the best way to become a more proficient reader.
Some Good Books:
The most valuable ones I’ve come across were recommended by friends. Here are some of them in various categories (any of which could be read in less than 6 weeks):
The Line of Faith: 40 Days to Deeper Dependency
Gospel Treason: Betraying the Gospel with Hidden Idols
Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Die and Others Survive
Chip & Dan Heath
What’s Best Next? How the Gospel Transforms the Way You Get Things Done
Zeal without Burnout: Seven Keys to a Life-Long Ministry of Sustainable Sacrifice
God + Politics: Jesus’ Vision for Society, State and Government
“There are worse crimes than burning books. One of them is not reading them.”
– Joseph Brodsky
One thought on “ Read. Books. Faster.”
Back in college, a Bible professor had my Spiritual Formation class read excerpts from “How to Read a Book” by Adler. My freshman mind thought it was just busywork at first, but it changed the way I read. It makes so much more sense to read with a pen in hand, and I get so much more out of something if I’m looking for things to circle, highlight, and notate.
Good tips here. My problem is that I find it difficult committing to finishing one book. I’m probably halfway through a dozen books; making myself finish just one is the hard part. I’ve vowed not to buy any more books until I’ve finished one.
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