22 Answers to Questions About Reading

Why Should I Read?

1. Everyone is looking for a mentor but very few people find one. When I read, it’s as if other people pour into my life. This is especially true with biographies which usually includes key lessons a person learned over the course of their life. By reading the biography I can learn their “life lessons” while there is still time to implement them into my life.

2. No one changed the world by watching television…or changed their family, neighborhood, church, city, or anything really.

3. Reading helps me become a better communicator. I don’t just learn from what is said but also from how it’s said.

4. You become a better dinner guest. I grow weary of conversations that are always and only about how busy everyone is or what everyone’s kids are up to. Those are fine topics but I also find it interesting to talk about current events or things people are learning. When you read, you have something to contribute to the conversation other than the kids’ sport schedule.

5. I learn about the human condition. When I read, I learn how people think, what they feel, the issues they face, their hopes and fears and much more.

6. I have something to give others. As a pastor I’m often asked to give people advice or input on both spiritual and practical topics. I have to keep learning in order to have something to offer.

7. I read because I love to learn and have my ideas challenged.

8. I read because I need to shore up holes in my life. I read because I have a lot to learn about being a dad and husband. When there’s something I don’t know, my first reaction is to get a book and learn about it.

What Should I Read?

1. Read widely. Don’t limit yourself to one genre. Read fiction, history, biography, non fiction, Christian living, Christian theology, etc…, Reading widely keeps you from getting stuck in a rut.

2. Read newspapers and magazines. I read the New York Times (daily), New Yorker (weekly), and The Atlantic (monthly). I usually don’t read them cover to cover but I always find a couple nuggets in every issue.

3. Read books and articles that are over your head. If you don’t stretch yourself, you’ll never grow.

4. Read people who disagree with you and offer a different perspective. It’s the height of arrogance to assume that you’ve got it all figured out and those on the other side of an issue don’t have anything important or helpful to say.

5. Seek out recommendations from people you respect and admire. Look at what’s popular on the New York Times bestseller list. Sometimes it’s good to read what others are reading. It helps you stay up with what others are thinking about.

6. Find an author you like and then read everything (or at least lots) of what they wrote. If you don’t know where to start, try C. S. Lewis, John Piper, Tim Keller, Charles Spurgeon.

7. Find out what books have shaped the people you respect and admire and then read those books.

8. Read old and new books. C. S. Lewis discusses “chronological snobbery,” which is the belief that the modern people have advanced beyond those of the past. Reading in different centuries helps you see the holes in contemporary thought.

How Do I Read?

1. Don’t read every book the same. Some books can be read before bed and others demand more focus and attention.

2. Read interactively. Underline important sentences, star significant paragraphs, write questions in the margins.

3. Find a person or small group you can discuss books with. I always learn more when I discuss what I’m reading. Plus it keeps me accountable to finish a book in a timely fashion.

When Should I Read?

1. Always take a book with you. You never know when you will have a few extra minutes at the doctor’s office, while waiting to pick up kids from school, at the ballgame while your kid is sitting on the bench or playing right field.

2. Read when you work out. I’ve read while riding a stationary bike, on the elliptical, or using the stairmaster.

3. Almost any time watching TV would be better spent reading.

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