Friday, December 03, 2010

Tips for Reading Well

Here are a few tips for growing in your ability to read:

  • Learn to mark up your books - Outline, underline, index, highlight, summarize, and do whatever else it takes to engage a book. Always read with a pen in hand. You are not just passing your eyes over a page. You are engaging with the book.
  • Set reading goals for yourself - He who fails to plan, plans to fail. If you don't plan to read good books, you won't.
  • Don't just buy books, build a library - A library is a place to go for helpful information. Build a library of different types of resources that you can rely on when you need good information.
  • Vary your reading between old and new books - CS Lewis counseled us to read an old book after ever new book. This is wise counsel indeed.
  • Read only the best books - There is simply not enough time to read a bunch of second-rate stuff. Read what has stood the test of time. Read what people you trust say is good.
  • Utilize "free" moments by reading - Always have a book with you. If you utilize the "free" moments of your day by reading a few pages in a good book, you will be able to read a lot more.
  • Be willing to stop reading a book that is unhelpful - It feels good to finish a book. However, if the book is unhelpful, it is a waste of time. Swallow your pride and just put the book back on the shelf.
  • Don't be discouraged if you don't remember most of what you read - Here is what John Piper has said:

“What I have learned from about twenty-years of serious reading is this. It is sentences that change my life, not books. What changes my life is some new glimpse of truth, some powerful challenge, some resolution to a long-standing dilemma, and these usually come concentrated in a sentence or two. I do not remember 99% of what I read, but if the 1% of each book or article I do remember is a life-changing insight, then I don’t begrudge the 99%.”


Chris said...

I have put a few books back on the shelf this year that were a waste of time.

Melany said...

Good tips!

Pumice said...

I punched into your blog using the "next blog" button. It looks like one to check back on. Interesting ideas about books. Are these yours or something you are passing on?

Grace and Peace.