Slow Reading

The Benedictine monks have a practice of taking an important text, and deliberately reading it slowly, to extract and ponder the layers of meaning.  It’s the opposite of speed reading.  My texts are not theirs, but I like the idea.  Some things ought to be read fast, some not at all, and some slowly.  Here are some books that I have found to be worth slow(ish) reading.

As a rule, you can get them on Amazon, and in some cases my review is there, for you to approve, contradict or ignore.  When some stuff is sorted out, I’ll make these titles into links to Amazon for your convenience.

Black and white photo of key and open book

Leadership for the Disillusioned — Amanda Sinclair of the Melbourne Business School. Amanda does a great job of deconstructing the usual leadership psychobabble, and showing its hidden connections to narcissism and fascism.  Then she proposes a more authentic approach to leadership.  Some of the examples have dated a bit — time for a new edition, Amanda? — but it’s a refreshing, honest and thought-provoking book.

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People — Stephen Covey (the late).  An oldie but a goodie, and you can certainly still get it in various formats.  I’ve come back to this again and again when I’m floundering.

Mindfulness Meditation for Everyday Life — John Kabat-Zinn.  I’ve read this hyper-slowly, a short chapter a day, about four times now.  This is the guy who for many years has used meditation for healing at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, where he is Professor Emeritus of Medicine.

Crucial Conversations — Kerry Patterson et. al.  A good, honest treatment, with suggestions, of “talking when the stakes are high”, as the jacket puts it.  The kind of highly exposed, potentially dangerous conversations where people freeze up, collapse, or bluster, are actually critical points of leverage.  You can achieve immense good by handling such conversations well.

Do What You Love, The Money Will Follow — Marsha Sinetar.  Another oldie and goodie, also still available, including a Kindle edition.  Reading this years ago was a turning point in my thinking about work.  Suddenly I knew it was possible to deliberately achieve a working life that was joyful and satisfying, without taking a vow of poverty.  Unlike some more recent books, this is not about have fun, chill out, riches will fall into your lap.  This is about creating and earning a good working life.

The Work We Were Born to Do — Nick Williams.  This is a workbook for finding your path to your own meaningful work.  I found it very valuable to work with in a time of transition.

3 thoughts on “Slow Reading

  1. Matthew

    Excellent, I love the idea of slow reading. I’ve only ever consciously done that once, that was with De Bono’s classic about coloured head furniture. I will have to find a copy of “Mindfulness Meditation for Everyday Life” from the library.

    Thanks for the post.

  2. Annabelle

    Thanks for sharing Iain. I love that you have included this page. I have just re-read Paulo Coelho’s ‘Alchemist’ as a very slow read because for me he has such profound wisdom encrypted in every page! Gosh there are many layers to so many things. I also loved ‘The E Myth’ book by Michael Gerber which changed my thinking about business but also life in general. Thankyou for your kind recommendation on my Linked In page Iain. Hope you are going well and that your message helps others who may be questioning business ethics in the world right now. You might enjoy my recent blog post by Solara An-Ra,
    Sending love,
    Annabelle x

    1. The Author Post author

      Many thanks Annabelle. I’m not familiar with ‘Alchemist’, but will check it out. Thanks for reminding me about Gerber and the E-Myth – I’ll add that to the list of slow reading. That’s another book about purpose and clarity and not deluding yourself! I heard him speak in person some years ago, and he is irreverent and fun. Thanks for the link to your blog, and I hope your work is going well.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *