One of the questions I repeatedly am asked is “How do you read more than 50 books a year?”
I’ve had to do some reflection on this, but maybe these tips will help you get to that book or pile of books you’ve always been wanting to read.
1. I make reading a priority. It fills my tank. I am intentional about it. I personally believe that reading is one of the great ways to continue expanding my mind and transform my life.
2. I keep a “to be read” shelf or shelves of books to choose from that I will read next. This saves me time from having to browse at a bookstore. Many times I will ask God to guide me to the next book He wants me to read.
3. I keep a book with me at all times. If I’m caught in traffic, delayed at the dentist office, sitting on the . . . ‘Nuff said.
4. I read widely. For me, reading in only one genre gets old fast. I might read a few books that pertain to my work and then take a break to read something completely out of my field of expertise.
5. I don’t feel guilty about reading just for fun. My mom let me read comic books when I was a kid which began my love for reading. “Beach reads” or “burn through reads” are a great diversion and help spur my creativity.
6. I don’t watch a lot of television. Most of what I watch is sporting events. And sporting events tend to afford many opportunities to read–in between pitches, during time outs, etc.
7. I don’t read junk. And what I mean by junk are books that don’t come highly recommended. There are far too many great books and life is too short to read trash.
8. I read quickly . . . but I don’t skim. The more you read, the faster you will learn to read.
9. I keep a dictionary on my desk. If I don’t understand a word, I look it up. Not only does it improve my reading arsenal but it improves my future reading speed.
10. I keep a list of the books I’ve read. I write down the book title, author and the month I completed it. I then rank the book with 1 to 4 stars. I’ve done this for the past 20 years and it’s very fun to go back and review what I’ve read.
Do you have some reading tips? I would love to hear them.
Got a question. What do you do with all the books you’ve already read? I’ve been searching for a place to donate them, having much trouble. Some I do keep to re-read.
Trade the boob-tube for books, amazing how much more time you’ll have.
For parents, I highly recommend a fun activity book for kids to help make reading come alive…. “Picture Book Activities: Fun and Games for Preschoolers Based on 50 Favorite Children’s Books” by Trish Kuffner. It’s filled with neat ideas for activities that tie into the themes, characters, and plots of children’s books. Some of my favorites, like “Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day”, and “Harold and the Purple Crayon”.
I look up topics and ideas I read about, to learn more. Just a quick google or wiki page, and sometimes it leads to another book. It makes reading more fun for me, where even a quick beach read can easily become a source for research and learning.
Having trouble getting started, or choosing books you would like? Start by reading books that have been made into movies. See if other than leaving things out, did they change the story a little, a lot? And it’s easy to find someone to chat with about it, as more people watched the movie, than read the book (usually). Are there movies you didn’t even know came from a book?
Find a friend or co-worker to swap books with. Then you have someone to talk to about it with later. Even if it’s just to say what you did and didn’t like about it.
Thanks for your suggestions, they are very helpful!
i agree with always having a book with you. i work for a group home and frequently have runs to the ER and doctor appointments with my clients and we all know how long that stuff can take. i have also started taking a book to the gym with me. it helps the dullness of the cardio machines go much faster.
Just finished reading a book titled “Starving Jesus”. Co-written by Craig Gross and J.R. Mahon. A provocative book about the church’s problem with being chained to the pews and not getting out into the community. The authors are a bit raw but really seem to nail it. Might be one to add to your list if you haven’t already read it.
I typiccally keep the books I read for a couple of reasons. First, because I teach so much I like to go back and refer to many of them in my teaching. And second (kind of wierd), books are like having old friends around!
Thanks for recommending “Starving Jesus.” I have heard about it and will definitely pick it up.
My Dad is a college graduate and my Mom is a high school graduate. When they were first married, most of their friends were college graduates. Mom felt somewhat out of place in some conversations. She spent a lot of time reading, it increased her vocabulary and built her self esteem at the same time. Reading may not take the place of a college education, but it can sure even the playing field. She still reads about 20 books a year.
Do you have some good suggestions on books that describe the importance of team building in a local ministry staff?
Four books I can recommend on team building. The one we’ve used most recently with our staff is “The Secret” by Ken Blanchard and Mark Miller. Outstanding.
Also take a look at “The 17 Indisputable Laws of Teamwork” by John Maxwell, “The Power of Team Leadership” by George Barna and “The Five Dysfunctions of a Team” by Patrick Lencioni.
I love this post! I’m a big reader and excited to challenge myself to read a set number of books this year.
On another note, I thoroughly enjoyed your message at Comapssion yesterday. I was VERY moved, so thanks for sharing what God laid on your heart.
Looking forward to becoming a regular blog reader.