If you actually KNOW me then you would know that I’ve been into books for a very long time. That’s nothing new. It’s not a current fascination.
Bottom line: I read a lot.
And by a lot, I mean…a lot.
As of this writing I’ve finished reading my 67th book of 2017. And I currently have approximately six other books in the pipeline. I’m on target to hit, and perhaps exceed, my goal of 75 books this year.
To find out more about my love for books and reading, check out a few previous blog posts:
1. Books I tackled on my 2016 Summer Sabbatical.
2. The kinds of books that my reading is focused upon.
3. The best books I’ve read (as of 2012).
So, yah, I read a lot, but it’s not the only thing I do. I don’t have countless hours to just “sit and read.” I’m a pastor of a large church (is this where you insert a joke about pastors only working one day a week???). I’m a husband, father of four, grandfather of two. I’m involved with my denomination, speaking at churches and events, as well as leading biblical tours to Israel, Greece, Rome, and Turkey and missions trips to various countries. I’m an adjunct college professor and guest lecturer at two universities. I could keep going, but you get the point that I’m not just sitting around with nothing else to do but READ A STINKING BOOK.
So then, the question I get asked often is: How do you read so much?
Here’s a few ways how:
1. I always have books close by. They are in my car, backpack, office, bedside, and home office. I use my iPad Kindle App when I fly, especially overseas, but primarily I reach for paper & ink to read from when I have some down time. It’s staggering how much you and I can read when we pick up a book instead of our phone.
2. I’m a huge fan of the public library. Any time I get a book recommendation from someone, discover something of interest in a bibliography, or see something I like on Amazon or at a local bookstore, I will try to reserve it at my local public library…for free! Sure, I do also purchase books, especially when I want or need it immediately, but for the most part I put them onto my online queue and wait for them to arrive. It’s exciting for me to get an email regarding a “book on hold” and it keeps a steady flow of reading material coming to me without cost.
3. I have less Screen Time. I’m gonna be brutally frank here: if you want to read more books you simply must watch watch less TV, scroll through less Facebook, scan less Instagram and Pinterest. Sorry. There’s no judgement on my end. I love my social media. I too cry during each episode of “This is Us.” Oh, and I’m pretty bummed that Chip and Joanna are filming the last season of “Fixer Upper.” So, hey, no judgement. But if you seriously want to read more, then the trade-off has to be with your screen time. One last jab: have you ever heard of someone on their deathbed saying: “My only regret is not spending more time on Twitter and Facebook?”
Here’s a few closing, miscellaneous thoughts regarding books and reading:
• If you don’t like the book, or don’t connect to it somehow in the opening 40 pages then put it aside. Life is too short to read something you don’t enjoy.
• This may not work for you, but I like having a bunch of books going at the same time, so that I can grab a specific one for specific times and situations. For example: right before bed I don’t like to read business books or other topics that get my mind racing. I need to slow my brain down, so I choose a book accordingly. That’s why I have 5-6 books in varying degrees of completion, and I will often finish them all up on a rainy, slow weekend or vacation.
• When I finish reading a book, I post it online. This is a public form of motivation for me, but it also let’s others see what I’m enjoying. I will often hashtag my posts with #leadersarelearners because I really believe that I as a leader must always be learning and growing. Books are not the only way to do that, but they sure are a good way!
• I almost always read with a pen in my hand (unless I’m reading a novel). I mark up the book with underlines, asterisks, and comments. Later I can look back and see the most impacting portions and thoughts from each book. However, I don’t recommend you do this with the library books!
• Books are great gifts. I give them away often. I know how something I’ve read has powerfully been used to unlock growth in my life, so I want that same possibility for others.
• The first and most important book I read is my Bible. Nothing can or should replace the Word of God.