Skip to main content

How To Read Books

J Oswald Sanders in his book 'Spiritual Leadership' gives five rules that he found made reading more meaningful and of more lasting benefit:
1. Read little that is to be immediately forgotten since that only helps to form the habit of forgetting. Exercise the same discrimination in choosing books as in choosing friends.

2. Read with a pencil and notebook in hand. Unless the memory is unusually vigorous and retentive, much reading will be a waste of time. Develop a system of note-taking, and it be astonishing to discover how great this practice aids the memory.

3. Have a "commonplace book", as it used to be a called, a book in which to put what is striking, interesting, suggestive and worthy of permanent record. One's own comments and criticism can be added. In this way an irreplaceable accumulation of material be preserved and index for use.  

4. Verify as far as possible historical, scientific and other data, and let no word slip past until its meaning is understood. 

5. Let reading be varied, because the mind so easily runs into ruts. Variety is as restful to the mind as to the body.

6. Reading should be correlated where possible - history with poetry. biography with historical novels e.g. when reading the history of the American civil war, read the biographies of Lincoln and Grant and poems written by Walt Whitman on Abraham Lincoln.
I think point 2 probably now in our digital simply means ensure you make good notes on your Kindle as you go along. And probably then export them to some electronic sharing file where your notes are properly index for reference. Similarly point 3 probably can be a form of blog, as I have here where I permanently store things I come along. 

Points 1& 4, if widely applied would help us ensure that we are thoughtful readers not just of book but what also comes through our social media feeds. There is really not much point in taking in information unless we have time to verify the information that comes away. The wisdom here is to limit what what we take in. 

Point 5 is excellent. Variety in our reading is important. This means that it is great for us to read things that we actually enjoy and are of good quality. One of the reasons we struggle to read books is that we do not think much about the quality of those books and do not vary what we read. One way to maintain variety is perhaps to come up with categories of books we like and seek to rotate among those accordingly (e.g. history, business, fiction, etc)

The only point I am sceptical about is point 6. Some people say we should read unrelated content because it pushes the brain harder to help us make connections between what we are reading. Sanders suggests we should read related stuff. I am not sure who is correct here. I will certainly give Sanders suggestion a go and see how I find the experience.
 
Copyright © Chola Mukanga 2020

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Jesus Never Fails

Many a times in my life, the words of this childhood hymn has been a tremendous encouragement. I pray this may encourage you too. Keep looking to Jesus!
Jesus never fails, Jesus never fails The man of the world will let you down, but Jesus never fails.
Your mother will let you down Your father will let you down The man of the world will let you down, but Jesus never fails.
Your husband will let you down Your wife will let you down The man of the world will let you down, but Jesus never fails
Your brothers will let you down Your sisters-will let you down The man of the world will let you down, but Jesus never fails
Your church will let you down Your work will let you down The man of the world will let you down, but Jesus never fails
Your friends will let you down Your country will let you down The man of the world will let you down, but Jesus never fails
Your wealth will let you down Your health will let you down The man of the world will let you down, but Jesus never fails
Copyri…

An Empty Page

I am nothing without you I am not ashamed to say But sometimes still I doubt you along my way I am nothing without you An eagle with no wings If I forget about you, I lose everything My heart is an empty stage O let your play begin My life is an empty page for you to colour me with your love
It’s such a common feeling to be misunderstood But from you there’s no concealing You know my bad and good So I am not pretending my story never fails But I have already read the ending And your love prevails My heart is an empty stage Let your play begin My life is an empty page for you to colour me with your love
The words are from Jonathan Veira’s song Empty Page one of the tracks off ‘Rhythms of the Heart’ album. I like his music, especially this song. Sadly, I couldn’t find the lyrics online, so I had to write them down word for word. I have had this song for many years and it has always spoken me at many levels. It has often driven me to tears of joy when I listen to it. I think it resonat…

7 fascinating facts about Bexleyheath

I just finished reading Bexleyheath : A History by John Mercer as part of my effort to know a little about the history of our new local area. We have been living here for the last four months and it is a wonderful area indeed. Here are seven fascinating things about Bexleyheath mentioned in the book.

1. Two hundred years ago much of Bexley Heath was an area of wide-open land largely uncultivated. It was not until 1894, that the two words were put together.

2. On 5 June 1739, George Whitfield, a prominent preacher associated with John Wesley, came to the highway and preached by the pond opposite the Golden Lion. He was welcomed to the district by Henry Piers, Vicar of St Mary's (Bexley), who was a supporter of the new evangelical movement which was to become later known as the Methodist Church. Over 300 gathered to hear Whitfield preach from his horse: travellers, labourers, gypsies and villagers from Bexley village.
3. One of the early inhabitants of Bexlyheath was the polish emigre …