Over the last twenty years I have divided my reading into five categories:
- Professional/Personal Development
Over the last twenty years I have accumulated hundreds of books.
Then things changed… I became an Army Chaplain.
A few ways this changes things:
- My space for books is smaller.
- We will move regularly which means I will have to move hundreds of pounds of books regularly. #uggghhh
- Many of the books which have served me so well in years past will no longer serve me well (e.g. I will not be teaching verse by verse through books of the Bible in 50 minute sermons. Rather, I will be giving 10 minute “field services” in which I share a quick thought with soldiers.
I realize that I have to “cull” my library. This makes me sad… and excited.
- These books have been my friends. They have encouraged me; confronted me; inspired me; taught me; humored me; and developed me.
- Within many of these books are my notes… the story of my evolution. Should anyone care to do so, they would find the course of my life within the pages of these books.
- These books, in a sense, have given me meaning. I am known as a reader… and these books are the proof. (Shallow… I know… but still it’s my story).
- I am evolving! I’m letting go of something that has been part of my life for several decades and becoming something new… arguably better (time will tell).
- I am being forced to think deeply (and painfully) about what I will read, how I will retain what I read, and what I will do with the book once I have read it.
I am a reader. I will always be a reader. I will just be a different kind of reader.
As I reflect on how and who (i.e. authors) I will interact with in the coming years I am leaning toward this plan:
- I will read more of fewer authors. Rather than reading everyone… I will read more of, for example, C.S. Lewis. I will be a specialist rather than a generalist. This will require me to pick carefully those people from whom I learn.
- I will read niche genres. For instance, these last few years I have been interested in the “faith/science” discussion, so I will spend more time in this field and less time in “spirituality/theology” in general.
- I will take and post notes. Taking a queue from Derek Sivers, I am going to post my notes on this blog and call them “Power Points.” Years ago I did this on my blog. Writing them out helped me remember my “power points” from each book, and it provided a tool to search for specific topics in the future.
And now the big question… what will I do with the book once I have read it?
- If I take good enough notes I believe I can give it away. #uggghhh
- Some books I will keep. Many I will give away.
One final thought…
As I considered all the reading I have done over the last couple of decades it occurs to me that I have read thousands of life changing ideas… but I remember a ridiculously small percentage of those… and have implemented even fewer!
So, I ask myself, what if I read less and implemented more?
What if I took 3-5 ideas away from each book and put them into action? Look at this math —
24 (books a year) x 3 (ideas per book) = 72 good practices every year!
OK… truthfully, I’ll not implement that many new ideas, but even 10% of that would be a huge win!!! Imagine improving your life by 10% each year! That would be a huge win!!!
So, that’s my journey… and the introduction to something I’m going to try… “Power Points.” I can’t wait to share with you.
A few questions for you:
- How do you retain what you read?
- What do you do with your books when you’re done reading them?
- How much of what you read do you actually implement?
P.S. I am going to spend some time going through books I have already read and posting “Power Points” from these books… so for a while the authors and the genres will be more varied than they will be in the future.