must read

I’ve GOT to start reading more.

Reading has always been one of my very favorite things to do, but I also like earning a living, and lately I’ve spent all my time writing words for others and not reading the words of others.

And I’m worse off for it. As Michael Hyatt writes, leaders are readers. (Sure, he’s CEO of Thomas Nelson, but he’s still right.) I can’t think of a better way to learn about the past and understand today than by reading. On a Kindle, an iPad, a laptop, or even (gasp!) holding the pages of a newspaper or novel—there’s simply too much going on not to make the time.

For instance, I really need to finish J.M. Roberts’ A Short History of the World. Although I received a good liberal arts education in college, I have huge gaps in my understanding of historical time periods and how they fit together. I plan to finish this book soon, along with Church History in Plain Language—my grasp of that topic is even sketchier.

Then I have to read Denialism; the subtitle is “How irrational thinking hinders scientific progress, harms the planet, and threatens our lives.” Enough said.

A friend gave me The Hole in Our Gospel, which is changing the way some Christians are thinking about their faith. Why? I’d know if I read it. Yancey’s got a new one coming out. Another friend recommended Einstein’s God, and I’ve had Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer on my bookshelf for months. Then there’s the weekly influx of magazines and the dailyness of the daily news. I also subscribe to some blogs, from the professionally helpful (like Hyatt’s) to the simply silly (People of Walmart, anyone?).

I’ll still read for fun, but I’m starting to understand reading is not just an activity after I’ve finished my work (which never happens). It’s an important part of my work. How can I comment on the world around me if I’m not constantly learning more about it?

I’m going to start reading at least an hour each day, and you all can hold me to it—next week I’ll review a great new book and even give away a signed copy. In the meantime, help me out: what books, websites, blogs, and magazines are most helpful to you? What do I need to check out?