How to Size Up a Book

I’m often asked by my coaching networks and alumni, “How many books do I read?”  I typically read 5-7 books per week.

That means I need to give myself an estimate of how long it will take me to read each book.  So, when I get ready to read a book, I like it to size it up.

Here are some questions that I like to ask when I size up a book:

  • Who is this book written for?
  • Is this book written for a lay audience?
  • Is this book written for a more advanced audience?
  • Is this book written for a seminary level class?
  • Is this book written for the general public?
  • Who is this book written for?
  • How many pages does it have?
  • How big is the font?

If it’s a very, very, very academic book, it may take me longer to read. It may not but it may take me longer to read than a book written more for a devotional purposes. Then I like to ask “Who is the author?” If I know the author, if I know the style.  If this is an author that tells stories versus an author who loves to part his Greek words, that tells me something about the book.

I like to go ahead and read the front cover, the back cover, the front flap, the back flap, and depending on if it’s soft cover or hard cover.

Some covers may tell me that I’m going to learn these four things from the books.  Well, if I’ve read about two of those things over and over and over, and I’m not sure they are going to say anything new, I may skim over that part.  But hey, there’s two areas this author has written about that I haven’t read anything about at all.   So I will focus in on those two.

Sizing up a book helps you establish how long it’s going to take you to read that book, and then read it within that set period of time and move on.  Some books aren’t worth reading cover to cover and some books are worth reading slow and methodical.  You get to determine how much time you invest in the books you read.  Size up your books before you start and you’ll read more and learn more.

Your partner in ministry,


P.S. I want to help you too! In my brand new resource “How to Read More Seminar,” I give you twelve simple steps to help learn how to develop and hone your reading skills so that you can grow as a leader more quickly and increase your capacity to read and comprehend more!

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About Nelson Searcy

Nelson Searcy is an experienced church growth strategist, pastor, church planter and coach, consulting with churches around the world. As founder of Church Leader Insights and the Renegade Pastors Network, he has personally trained more than 3,500 church leaders in over 45 denominations through live events, seminars and monthly coaching. Nelson is also the Founding and Lead Pastor of The Journey Church, with locations across New York City and in Boca Raton, FL. Nelson and his church routinely appear on lists such as “The 50 Most Influential Churches” and “The 25 Most Innovative Leaders.” He is the author of over 100 church growth resources and 18+ books, including The Renegade Pastor: Abandoning Average in Your Life, Ministry and The Difference Maker: Using Your Everyday Life for Eternal Impact, and At the Cross with the People Who Were There. He and his wife, Kelley, have one son, Alexander.

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