Why I’m Reading “Less” in 2018

Less is Often More

It’s that time of year.

I’m setting goals.

You may be doing so, as well.

Yippee.

Good for us.

Here’s one I’m going for:

This year, I’m going to reverse the tide of reading and input in my life. I’m going to read less, and read better things. I will read less news and more classics. I will read less and reflect more—and will be highly selective about what I read.

For the past few years, I’ve been reading a lot of books that offer shorter vignettes, and are oriented toward business and productivity. I made virtually no room for fiction, even during the summer, when I’ve traditionally done so. It hurt my imagination. I’ve also concluded that many (not all—especially not this humble blog :)) writings are brief simply because they have little to say. Others are short because they assume the reader has virtually no attention span.

So, they write short things directed to distracted people. They will blow away with tomorrow’s paper. So, why not master the classics—that have survived centuries and still impact the way we see the world?

This year, I’m going to read long, deep, Christian classic books and classics from other cultures (non-American). Some I read once but have since forgotten. I’m choosing longer, classic books this year.

As always, I’ll take my annual pilgrimage through the Bible, cover-to-cover, as I’ve done each year since I was sixteen. Every other book is of secondary importance.

Having said that, the first ten books I’ve lined up for this year, in no particular order.

The Imitation of Christ – Thomas a Kempis
Holy Living and Dying – Jeremy Taylor
A Serious Call to a Devout and Holy Life – William Law
A Pilgrim’s Progress – John Bunyan
Musashi – Eiji Moshikawa (a very long, rich book about samurai)
The Master and the Margarita – Michael Bulgakov
The Brothers Karamazov – Fyodor Dostoyevsky
The Emperor’s Handbook – Marcus Aurelius
The Prince – Niccolo Machiavelli (I read it this year—but did so too quickly)
Don Quixote – Miguel de Cervantes

I will begin with The Imitation of Christ, and then take it from there.

But…

This year—no rushing. No hurry. Only listening, savoring, and reflecting. Some of these books are quite long. So, if they are all I read this year along with the Bible…I’m great with that.

I’m sure there will be more. I’ll probably venture out into leadership/business land—it’s hard for me not to. But, I resolve to simply read the way reading is supposed to be done.

I will not nibble or gorge myself on a book like it was a basket of chips at happy hour. I will eat it like fondue and drink it like a fine glass of wine…like I have nowhere else to be.

No checklists.

No comparisons.

No self-imposed deadlines.

No race.

Only me, and the book.

Aaaaaaahhhh…now that sounds good.

Dr. Tim Spivey is Lead Planter of New Vintage Church in San Diego, California. He is the author of numerous articles and one book, "Jesus: The Powerful Servant." A sought after speaker for events, Tim also serves as Adjunct Professor of Religion at Pepperdine University. Tim serves as a church consultant, and his writings are featured on ChurchLeaders.com, Church Executive magazine, Faith Village, Sermon Central, and Giving Rocket.

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