Header4It was Buckminster Fuller who is credited with creating the “Knowledge Doubling Curve”; he noticed that until 1900 human knowledge doubled approximately every century. By the end of World War II knowledge was doubling every 25 years. Today things are not quiet as simple, given the fact that different types of knowledge have different rates of growth. For example, nanotechnology knowledge is doubling every two years and clinical knowledge every 18 months. But on average human knowledge is doubling every 13 months.  According to IBM, the build out of the “internet” will eventually lead to the doubling of knowledge every 12 hours. Wow! So, with all that information flowing… how do you know what to take in and what to ignore. When it comes to reading, Tip #3 will help a bit.

TIPS# 3: Give yourself Permission… For years I felt that once I began reading something, I was compelled to complete it, even if it was horrible. I’ve had people give me books or tell me about a book and say, “you won’t be able to put it down”— But I could! Not all-reading material connects with us in the same way. What inspires one person may do absolutely nothing for another. I found great freedom years ago when I began to give myself permission to put a book or article down if shortly into it, it did not capture me either with its message or content. I generally give a book 60 to 70 pages to pull me in. If the author has not presented a compelling direction, theme or message by then, it is unlikely that he will capture me with the material he/she is writing. So I give myself permission to lay it aside. On a few occasions over the years I have come back to a book that I had previously laid aside and found that due to circumstances or some new season of life it suddenly became insightful and compelling. But that is the exception, not the norm for me, but it does happen occasionally. I’ve also learned to give myself permission not to read an entire book or extensive article. By that I mean there are times when I take a book, look over the table of contents and select specific chapters that I wish to read, read them and I’m done. I also give myself permission to simply skim some books and articles. The point is, there is so much to read today that if you are going to become a better reader you are going to have to learn to be a selective reader—and that means you are going to have to give yourself permission regarding what and how you read. Now let me say, don’t use “giving yourself permission” as an excuse for not reading fully most of what you take up. I read fully almost everything I begin… but I am more selective today than ever before about what I begin. Permission to put aside or not read something you start is more about selectivity and discernment than it is about giving yourself a pass. Mastering this tip is one of the most powerful principles to revolutionizing your reading, removing guilt, and enhancing  the joy of growing through reading.

More tips to come next post…


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