How Busy People Can Read More

Leadership, Personal Development

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Warren Buffett reads 4-5 hours per day—he considers it an important part of his work. Bill Gates reads an average of one book per week, which is equivalent to what the average CEO does. Rick Warren starting reading two books per week at age 14, and says that at one point in his life he was reading a book per day.

Many of the most successful people in the world swear by reading.

They are committed to personal development and reading is one of the easiest ways to make that investment. Warren says “The people you hang out with and the books you read will determine your future.”

Most of us intuitively know that that is true. We also look at it and think “when can I possibly do that?” Nobody I know wakes up and wonders what they are going to do with all their extra time! Reading feels like a luxury in a world as busy as ours. 

One of the things that Rick Warren suggests is reading book summaries.

Instead of reading 200-400 pages, you can get the main ideas and key content in 12-15 pages. The average reader takes 6-10 hours to read a whole book; the same reader will take 15-30 minutes to read a summary. That’s a significant time savings!

With that in mind, Carnegie Mellon published an interesting study several years ago. They found that people who read summaries actually remember more of what they read than people who read the whole book. If you want to turbocharge your learning and up your reading volume, reading summaries is a great way to do it. 

Personally, I discovered the power of reading summaries many years ago, when I was a bi-vocational church planter. Both time and money were tight (to say the least!), but I knew I had to be reading in order to keep growing and developing personally. The only summaries I could find were written for business executives, but I found that I could still benefit from some of the titles. 

If you are committed to personal development but are crunched for time, try reading summaries.

Now there are publishers like Leaders Book Summaries that are specifically geared towards pastors and other Christian leaders, so you won’t have a bunch of the summaries not apply to your leadership. 

Leaders are readers! That’s still as true today as when it was first written. But sometimes we need to get creative in how to actually make that happen.


Dave Frederick is a church planter and pastor, and publisher of Leaders Book Summaries and Conservative Book Summaries. He’s passionate about helping leaders reach their potential and seeing the church have the impact God intends it to have. Dave and his wife live in the Wheaton, IL and are enjoying adjusting to being empty-nesters.

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