Thursday, March 29, 2012

How I Read Books

Starting note: I realize that explaining how I read books may be a boring topic to some of you, so you have my permission to not finish this post.*

I would argue that how you read books is just as important as the number or type of books you read.  (You can read 50 books a year, but if you don't do so in a way that allows you to digest, assimilate or reject the information you read, and then potentially change your life, you just spent a lot of time reading text and turning pages with no real benefit.)

How can we read in a way that leaves us a better follower of Jesus?  (Not merely with more head knowledge.)

Here's my attempt at doing so:
  • Read less and read slowly:  As per my 2012 Reading List, I'm trying to read about 12 books this year.  I'm sure more avid readers laugh at that number, but I've found that a book a month is about all I can read and still have a chance to do something with it.  Similarly I read a chapter or two from those books each week week.  I'm not punching out an entire book in two nights.  Letting the ideas run through your mind throughout a week or day is a great way to filter what you're reading:  What's true?  What's useful?  What's neither of these?  What do I need to change?  What do I need to reject?
  • Take notes:  I used to be a more avid note taker.  But now it seems I only pen things in my book journal if they truly stand out to me and I feel that they would be helpful to me in the future.
  • Review your notes sooner: For me, this is when I write my How I Read It posts.  The goal here is that soon after reading you ask yourself: What stood out and what is worth hanging on to?
  • Review your notes later: For most of the books I've reviewed on this blog, this step hasn't happened yet.  But when I fill up my book journals, I slow down my pace of reading even more while I review what I read over the last few years.  At this point it's pretty amazing how little rises to the surface as important.  But what does stick around is usually gold.
Read.  Read the Bible first.  Read other books if you have time.  But only read other books if you can do something with them

* You always have my permission to stop reading a blog post.  Or to unsubscribe to my blog altogether.  Only take the time to read it if it's valuable to you.

No comments:

Post a Comment