Saturday, January 22, 2011


Today I took my kids to the library. It felt different, usually when I'm in the library I like to take out several books but today I just couldn't bring myself to take out even one. I think it's a mixture of things.

In The 4 Hour Work Week (an extremely radical book), the author Tim Ferris theorized that one of the reasons people aren't more productive or more successful (even possibly less happy) is because they read too much. Yes, that's right too much! His thinking is that we waste alot of time reading about things that aren't really helpful or that we won't ever apply and so we read too much. That's a pretty simplistic summary of his argument, but it got me thinking. Is it possible I read too much?

Ferris challenged people to try fasting for a month or two from reading books, newspapers, and magazines and see how productivity increases. This is just the kind of radical experiment that I would like to try. I'm kind of trying this but I'm not doing well (so far I've read three books of fiction). But the idea of fasting from reading feels like something that might be helpful for me for a season. So this is one factor that has kept me from actively searching for books to read.

The second thing is that the books I have read so far have impacted me in wanting to move closer to Christ. I suppose God used them (along with other things) and I have enjoyed feeling more appreciative and humbled before Him. The closer I feel to Him, the less I feel like reading (Christian and secular books). And if I do read, it feels different. I find myself reflective and searching and trying to enjoy being with God as opposed to learning about him. When I'm in this mode I find that even when I'm reading the Bible I limit how much I'll read in a sitting.

The third reason I find myself pausing in my reading is that I learned so much last year with my "book a week" program that I feel like I need to time to reflect and then take action. In some ways it was like trying to drink from a fire hose. This causes me to see new books as something for the future, after I've implemented what I've already learned.

All of this to say, that I'm feeling a desire to pause in my reading of books. Kind of.


Anonymous said...

It's interesting that you want to pause from it, when I am trying to get into reading more. It took me 7 months to read my last book and my goal is to read daily (novels and literature) I do agree that we spend a lot of time reading. I love reading mags, newspapers, blogs, even a manual is easier to read than to sit with a novel. Perhaps we need to think about how we spend our time, if we interface with people, accomplish productivity in projects or helping out, reading for pleasure is ok, using reading to get out of real interaction is the trap. Good Luck Mark, I do enjoy your book reviews and will miss them.


Mark said...

Hi Christine, thanks for commenting. I suppose we are all at different places! I've decided to go for at least February when it comes to not reading (or reading as little as possible) so we'll see what happens. During that time I'm going to focus on taking action in other areas. Don't worry, I'll be doing more book reviews eventually!