Essential Reading Tools

I read incessantly.  Maybe it has something to do with the fact that, according to Strengths Finder, I’m a “learner.”  I enjoy the process of getting more information, uncovering new concepts, and learning from others.

And I do a lot of reading over the holidays as I’m sitting around, relaxing with family.

And when I read, I have to have certain things with me.

Essentials when I read

  1. Pen and paper. If I read, I’ve got to take notes.  90% of what I read is non-fiction, and I feel like I’m wasting my time if I don’t capture my thoughts through the book.  And what I love about the Kindle is that I can take notes right on the device, and view them later at my personal Kindle page.  (you can set yours up HERE)
  2. My computer. Not so that I can check emails and process my Excel spreadsheets…but because I want to interact with others as I read.  I don’t have it open the whole time, but I like to have it handy so that I can process things out loud with a broader community, and read reactions from others who have read the book as well.  If I don’t have my computer, my iPhone works well.
  3. Background noise. I can’t listen to music while I read (because my mind starts singing along), but I don’t like to read in a room all by myself.  I like to have a bit of noise, of some sorts, in the background.
  4. Natural light. I much prefer natural to artificial light…which makes me just like 99% of humanity.  Sitting outside, or by a window, is a prime reading spot for me.
  5. Coffee. This doesn’t even need an explanation.

The only problem I’ve got right now is that I’m reading so many books at once.  Currently, here’s what’s on my Kindle and active:

  1. The Purple Cow, by Seth Godin
  2. The Next Christians, by Gabe Lyons
  3. The Me I Want to Be, by John Ortberg
  4. E-Myth Revisited, by Michael Gerber
  5. The Barbarian Way, by Erwin McManus

What are you reading right now?

What are your reading essentials?

Are the holidays a good time for you to read?

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Ben Reed is the small groups pastor at Long Hollow, a multi-site church in the Nashville, TN, area. He holds an Mdiv from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. Ben is also an avid coffee drinker and CrossFitter, but not at the same time. Catch up with Ben at In his book, "Starting Small: The Ultimate Small Group Blueprint," he helps leaders through the process of putting a small group ministry together and creating a place where people belong so they can become.