How To Read 8 Books A Week
Accelerate Team here again, with part 2 of Ryan’s story.
Real quick, there are officially 9 days left before Earlybird ends. Secure access to unlimited summaries for only $8.33/month for life! Learn more here.
Alright, now back to the story ↓
Today we’re picking up where we left off yesterday. ( If you haven’t had a chance to read Ryan’s story and why he made a goal to read 8 books every week, you can catch up here. )
“I tried reading 8 books a week”
It was 5 a.m and still dark.
With a cup of black coffee in hand, Ryan struggled to stay awake.
In front of him was a list of 8 book titles with the following categories listed in a column to the left that read:
- Devotional: For The Love of God by D. A. Carson
- Apologetics: The Problem of Pain by C. S. Lewis
- Leadership: The Conviction to Lead by Al Mohler
- Theology: The Institutes by John Calvin
- History: Turning Points by Mark Noll
- Best Sellers: Hillbilly Elegy by J. D. Vance
After spending some time researching how great leaders read so many books, he discovered a method he’d call the 15-Minute Reading Block Method — a method he created based on the similar habits of many great leaders.
The 15-Minute Reading Block Method
This method required Ryan spend only 15 minutes reading a book before moving on to a different book. This would allow him to get through 4 different books in an hour in the morning and another 4 books in an hour before bed.
The idea was that after 15 minutes, the average reader loses focus. Switching to a different book at that point would allow Ryan to refocus. Additionally, having such a short time frame would discourage Ryan from drifting off, knowing he had to make the most of each minute.
With this method, Ryan could now grow in 8 different areas that he felt were crucial to growing as a leader.
Albert Mohler, president of Southern Seminary, exhorts Christian leaders to pay close attention not only to their physical diet, but also their reading diet. With this method, Ryan could finally have a well-rounded reading diet.
With the exception of two books that he had to purchase on Amazon, he already owned most of the books and started the method right away.
Ryan kept this method up for a few months, consistently reading 8 books at a time daily.
While in many ways the method worked — it surprisingly did help him retain focus for the whole hour — it ultimately proved to be unhelpful in the long-term.
After 2 months, while he could proudly say he read 10 entire books, he struggled to retain everything that he learned.
I Remember Reading About That!
It was 10:30am.
He was at the Starbucks a mile away from his office at Grace Assembly.
Across from him sat M.J., a young skeptic who couldn’t possibly be over twenty-one. Donning a blue baseball cap, he was friendly and inquisitive; but not interested at all in God or Christianity. In fact, the only reason why they were meeting was because his mother had arranged a meeting to “straighten him out.”
Ryan was just glad the conversation wasn’t as awkward as he had anticipated it being.
After a few minutes of small talk, the conversation led to the topic of pain and suffering.
“The main issue I have with Christianity is the existence of suffering,” M.J. said. “If there was a God, there shouldn’t be suffering.”
Ryan had heard this argument before and was poised to respond when he suddenly remembered an excellent insight C.S. Lewis’ The Problem of Pain — a book he finished last week. Ryan had highlighted an entire section responding to this objection.
But what was it?
It was something about our illusions of sufficiency — but C. S. Lewis had explained it much more clearly. Ryan struggled to remember exactly what the insight was, a difficult task as he tried to mentally sift through all the information he had gained in the past month alone. Not wanting to leave M.J. hanging, Ryan smiled and responded by reminding M.J. that we simply didn’t know all God knew.
M.J. shrugged and changed the topic.
Book Summaries Are For Cheaters
After getting in his 2005 Honda Civic Ryan groaned in frustration.
He was frustrated that he couldn’t remember the insight from Lewis’ book. And he was frustrated that it felt like all the reading he was doing seemingly served no purpose.
What’s the point in reading if I can’t remember what I read, let alone allow the truth the actually impact my life?
When he arrived home, he flipped open the Problem of Pain and quickly reread the section he had highlighted.
Of course. Pain is one tool God uses to disintegrate our illusions of self-sufficiency.
He took out his journal and wrote that down, determined to remember that the next time.
**His phone buzzed.**
His friend James, a fellow pastor, tagged him in a Facebook comment. The comment read: “Yo Ryan. New tool that just launched. Check them out and let me know what you think?” It was an ad for a new program called Accelerate Books.
Curious, Ryan spent a few minutes on Accelerate’s website but wasn’t convinced.
He was greeted with their mission statement:
“Accelerate Book Briefs keep Gospel Practitioners sharp and effective for mission”
Book summaries? Something didn’t feel right about that. It felt like that was cheating — another microwave shortcut to try to grow in godliness. Before leaving the site, he decided to download the free sample summary of You Are What You Love by James K. A. Smith.
He actually had that book sitting on his desk, reminding him daily that he had only finished reading half of it. He started it last year and remember pausing constantly to process the book’s profound insights (insights he admittedly couldn’t recall immediately).
He opened Accelerate’s book summary and began reading.
Immediately the feeling of conviction filled his heart as he was reminded of the insights he had read last year.
With the way Accelerate’s summaries — or Book Briefs — were designed, the summaries started with the 3 key insights readers ought to take away from the book. Ryan was pleasantly surprised at how helpful the Book Brief really was.
He was reconsidering Accelerate…
But he was still unsure — he had a few objections and some questions before he could be convinced that Accelerate would be worth it:
- What did their mission statement even mean? Too vague.
- Would Accelerate detract from his commitment to learning deeply?
- If not, what place would these book briefs even have in his schedule?
He pulled out his phone and texted James: “Looks cool. Not sure tho. Hbu?”
Stay tuned for tomorrow’s email because:
- Tomorrow, we’ll also give you the Free Book Brief he requested of The Problem of Pain by C. S. Lewis
- PLUS: we’ll send you screenshots of our conversation with Ryan. We did our best to tackle all of his questions! (He really did feel like book summaries were cheating) You’ll find out why he decided to try Accelerate out for 30 days.
( To get the post sent straight to your inbox, sign up here: )
LASTLY: Free Book Brief of You Are What You Love
And before we leave you for the night, feel free to download our Book Brief of You Are What You Love by James K.A. Smith if you haven’t already! For those who haven’t read it, this brief will give you the key insights and outline of this phenomenal book (warning: it’ll give you the sudden urge to jump out of your chair and run to the nearest bookstore to purchase it). …And if you’ve already read this book, this brief will serve as a resource for your library and a way to easily re-access the main insights of the book.
Onward for the Gospel,
The Accelerate Team
P.S. – There are only 8 days left to save a spot in Accelerate’s Earlybird deal and secure for life: Unlimited access to our growing library of Book Briefs for only $8.33 a month. Learn more.
P.P.S. – Do you lead a team? Help your team stay sharp with 50% off our Group Plans — rates as low as $1 per member. (Ends Jan 31st)
P.P.P.S – Totally random but if y’all want to see something awesome on guitar, check out this video