The benefits of disciplined reading

Now I know I talked about posting “Relationship Checklist part 3” but there have been some developments. For those of you who haven’t read part 1 and part 2, you should see them. They’re great fun. The reason I’m posting this because it seems like a lot of people disagree with the points I made in an earlier post, 3 reasons why you shouldn’t randomly read books. If you’re here for the first time I’d encourage you to check that post first so that the things I say here are easier to understand.

Here  are 2 reasons why you should read 2 or 3 books on the same subject before moving on to another:

1) You gain more knowledge about what initially interested you.

If you’re reading about “dancing” and you pick up a book on leadership and you say, “Hey I’m leader in cell group, youth group, children, work etc” (it would be impressive if anyone was in fact a leader in all those areas!) and you’re thinking of getting it, do so, and if you choose to read it, finish it and then get another one on leadership and learn more. Since you were very interested in learning about leadership, you should learn as much as you can applying the knowledge along the way. Yes I know, “what about my initial book on dancing?” You read that after you’ve read the leadership book then get one more book  on dancing and read that. I’ll explain why I suggest this strategy at the end.

2) You avoid reading half-way.

The point I’m making now is for just general reading where “you are in control of the reading”. What that means is all the books you’re reading and intend to read are yours. They’re not borrowed so there’s no pressure. Using the above example, if you’re reading on dancing and you pick up a leadership book, finish the dancing one first so that there’s no “negative chain reaction”.

Negative chain reaction- reading a book part-way, picking up another and doing the same and then repeating the process again with even more books! You want to avoid that at all costs!

Point one elaborated
The first point is for “time-related cases” where you borrowed a book and you only have a certain amount of time to read it. My first point took into consideration being lent a book by a friend or family member and they ask for it back in a short amount of time, like 2 days or so! It also applies for books borrowed from a library, though the time’s usually longer. Sorry for not pointing that out at first.

Read on any subject and make sure that it’s at least 2 books then move on to another subject and do the same. For those who mentioned no reading rules, I’ll explain in a later post 4 actual rules of reading. In fact there are plenty more than that but I’m selecting the essential 4. If you’re curious about these rules, check out this book right here:

In my next post I’ll talk about what to do in those situations where you have very little time to read, not just because of a demand from someone but also because of not being able to make enough time from your schedule. I’ll mention practicing Speed Reading Optimization. After that I’ll post about the 4 rules then part 3 of Relationship Checklist.

If you have any questions, comments or suggestions please comment on them below and we’ll talk about it.



  1. I think reading more than one book is a great practice, but understandably difficult to implement given the human condition of finitude (limited time/energy, etc. because we humans are finite beings). That being said, a nun once told me that the more perspectives you have, the closer you get to the truth. (Not what I expected to hear from a Roman Catholic nun, but it just goes to show the power of getting more than one perspective/viewpoint.) She was a very wise woman and wisdom is what I attempt to cultivate in myself. In the interest of cultivating that wisdom, I will attempt to become more of a expert on some subjects – and that will require more reading on those topics. As for other subjects, I will try them on for size (including in my reading) and see if any of them fit . How many books do I use to do that? I don’t know, but I’m willing to think about it.


    • Now here is the one thing I love most about what you said: Wisdom. This year 2011 is the year of wisdom. That comes from James 3:15-17. It’s something that we ought to strive to live by. Keeping our options open is always a good start.


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