I enjoy reading books.  The importance of reading can not be stated adequately.  I read many different kinds, I enjoy mainly biography’s and books about doctrine, I also read self help books, books of ministry and growth, devotionals, fiction, political books, family books, and even a little poetry.  There is nothing much better than time spent reading a good book.  I am not a fast reader, probably just average, so reading books is quite an investment of time.  So I want to read in the most profitable way.  Allow me to make a few suggestions.

Open old book with warm light on a table

  1. Underline-Get a pen or highlighter and make notes in your books.  One practice I have started recently is after I read a chapter I go back and reread the highlights.  This allows me to more fully grasp what I just read, gives me an overview, and helps me better digest and remember.  I also go back to some books years after I read it and just go through and read the highlights again for a refresher.
  2. Read Digital & Hardcopy-Years ago Michael Hyatt, who was the Chairman and CEO of  Thomas Nelson publishing, predicted that the digital format of books would soon do away with hardcopy.  He was wrong and he now admits that. According to one poll digital reading has fallen from 50% to 32% of all reading now.  You can check out a great article about this here.   With that being said Michael Hyatt had a great recommendation about your purchases for reading.  He suggest that if you want to read a book maybe once just buy the digital, but if this will be a book you want to really digest buy hardcopy.  He sited some studies that show reading a hardcopy helps you comprehend and retain more.  As a missionary who has moved overseas I buy a large portion of books in digital format, but there is nothing like the smell and feel of a real book in hand.
  3. Make Notes-So if you are reading in digital form this is no problem.  You will be able to quickly scan through your highlights listed for you in note from.  For the hardcopy books, as I am reading them, I make notes in the front of the book listing a topic or good quote with it’s page number.  This makes easy reference.
  4. Read it to Teach it-I recently taught a class at our missions training center.  One of the books that was required reading was a book I had read before.  I reread it to prepare to lecture from it and in doing so opened up a whole new dimension to the book.  As I read to teach from it I had to follow the authors train of thought.  I had to think of how chapter 4 related to chapter 5.  Going back to the last point I made notes on each chapter, producing a summery of the chapter and recording major points of the author.  This really changed the way I will read in the future.
  5. If you travel a lot buy audio books-I traveled a lot during deputation.  It was nothing for me to spend 14 hours on the road in two days.  I have listened to many books with my cell phone.  I suggest 3 things (I’m sure there are more ways).
    1. Go to the Library-Your local library probably has many good audio books for you.  I listened to President George W’s memoirs, Charles Dickens and others because of my local public library.
    2. Subscribe to Christian Audio-They give a free book away each month.  I recently listened to John Bunyan’s “Pilgrims Progress” through Christian Audio.
    3. Audible-You pay a monthly fee, I think it is $15.00, and this provides you with tokens to make purchases.  If you drive an hour each day in your commute to work it is worth it to explore one of these three ways to import good books into your life.
  6. Voice record it-My good friend Jeff Bush is the director of Vision Baptist Missions.  As director he is always trying to help us grow and one thing he does is he shares his notes on all the books he reads.  They are extensive notes.  I asked about his reading habits and notes.  So many of the books he provides notes on are books he listens to while traveling.  To make notes, he voice records it into his notes on his phone, and then at the end of the day he emails the notes to himself.  He combines the notes, and at the end of reading the book he has a ready made summery.  This allows him to go back and reread his highlights and it also allows him to share the summery with others for their benefit.

Read.  Read a lot.  Read good books.  Read and take notes.  Read for yourself. Read for others.  Read and share. Read, read, and read.