Q & A: How To Read More

Got this question from Church Planting Coaching Network Alumni Mike Sorcinelli (New Day Church – www.newdaychurch.cc ) in Longmeadow, MA:

“I really want to be a reader but it literally took me 6 hours + to read your book “Fusion”, which is a short book. It’ll take me almost a month to read “Planting Missional Churches” (I’m about half way through) and there are so many books I want to read (I’ve got a pile of them on my shelf). Do you have any tools or resources for learning to read faster?”

Mike, I love your passion!  All leaders are readers.

As for me, I haven’t always been a reader, in fact I don’t think I ever read a book from cover to cover before I became a Christian (at age 17) but since then God has given me a passion for reading and its been one of the primary sources of my on-going growth as a leader.

I still struggle with reading all that’s on my shelf but here’s one major tip: How to Read More

Skim, skim and skim!

Most big books (like the one you mention above from my friend Ed Stetzer) can easily be skimmed and you’ll still get 75-80% of the content while saving 90% of your time.

Here’s a few things I’ve learned::

– Only read the chapters that interest you (read the table of contents and then the first and last paragraphs of the chapters that interest you. If that’s helpful, read the entire chapter.)

– Only thoroughly read those books recommended by a good source (like the ones we recommend in the CLI newsletter.  Hint: You can subscribe for free on the right —>)

– Read as fast as you can with no distractions and then next time try to do it even faster – shoot for one page every minute and then one page every 45seconds and then every 30seconds.  I currently read one page at less than 30sec with a high retention rate.

– Listen to books on tape at twice the speed (use m4b setting on your ipod).

– Read in blocks of time with a goal – say to yourself, “I’m going to read Fusion in this two hour block of time” and then push yourself to do it.

– Be sure you have good glasses (if needed).

Read, read, read and read some more!

Your mind is a muscle so exercise it and it will increase. I currently read 3 to 5 books a week but the goal is not quantity. The goal is to read what is most helpful and to retain a large part of what you read.

So what have you found helpful in reading faster with greater retention?


P.S. The next round of Church Planter Coaching starts in July and will be lead by Kerrick Thomas.  If you hare launching a church this fall or next spring, now is the perfect time to apply.  Click Here for More Information.

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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.

Nelson SearcyChurch Planting, Leadership

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