Book Summaries Strengthen Reading as a Discipline for Critical Thinking

Underneath the surface of every successful leader is a reader.

Reading provides the best regimen for establishing and nurturing the information necessary to lead others. Reading provides a constant stream of intelligence, ideas, and information that enables the leader to act from a foundation of knowledge.

A survey of the typical leader’s desk, workspace, or briefcase includes a stack of books, a pile of magazines, and at least one personal electronic device with access to a vast digital library of resources.

Having the right information is not as big a problem as much as having too much information!

Enter SUMS.

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For years Auxano Founder & Team Leader Will Mancini dreamed of providing a best of class and totally free book summary service to church leaders. In the fall of 2012, Mancini and his team launched just such a service, called SUMS – a biweekly book summary service.  

>Why Auxano created SUMS

Like many church leaders, Will loves reading, and appreciates book summaries. But he took it to the next level by creating a team who was serious about selection of books for church leaders, designed something great to look at, and created applications for the world church leaders live in every day. As Vision Room Curator, I get the privilege of leading that team – and I love it!

After a two-year run, SUMS underwent changes, including moving to a subscription-based platform which launched last January.

Beginning in 2015, we took the SUMS tool to a whole new level. Every other week subscribers receive not ONE, but THREE book “summaries” all focused around solving a practical church leadership problem. It’s called SUMS Remix.

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That’s 26 issues of SUMS Remix – addressing the ministry problems you encounter at your church – delivered to your inbox every two weeks.

In a nutshell why is SUMS Remix better?

  • You need content that solves the challenges you face every day
  • You want to scan more information in less time to find the best content
  • You will to achieve more with more credibility as well-read leader
  • You have ready-to-use staff action steps in each issue

For example, the first of four free introductory SUMS Remix focused on the problem, “We want leadership development to be happening all of the time, not just at special events.” To solve this problem we looked at Noel Tichey’s Leadership Engine, Aubrey Malphur’s book (co-authored with Auxano founder Will Mancini), Building Leaders, and Dave & Jon Ferguson’s book, Exponential.

Check it out for yourself and see if you would agree that this is an incredibly innovative content tool for the church. Here are the first four free introductory issues of SUMS Remix:

SUMS Remix 1 We want leadership development to be happening all the time, not just at special events.

SUMS Remix 2 It’s difficult inspiring my team to be more productive.

SUMS Remix 3 I communicate a lot, but don’t consider myself a great storyteller.

SUMS Remix 4 My stomach goes into knots when I think about preaching on the subject of giving.

Click here to subscribe to SUMS Remix. Imagine – an entire year of the gift of insight, delivered to the your inbox – for the low price of $48. 

Think of it as creating a personal leadership and innovation literacy program.

Reading Requires Deliberate Practice

Researchers are clear about this point: It doesn’t matter whether it’s in sports, music, medicine, computer programming, mathematics, or other fields. Talent is not the key that unlocks excellence.

You need a particular kind of practice – deliberate practice – to develop expertise.

In honor of SUMS Remix, the best-of-class book summaries for leaders, I want to paraphrase authors James Kouzes and Barry Posner’s discussions in their book The Truth About Leadership on deliberate practice and apply them to reading.

Five Elements in the Deliberate Practice of Reading

  • Design a reading discipline to specifically improve your performance – if you want to become an expert, you must have a methodology, a clear goal, a way to measure success, and a specific process for accomplishing the goal.
  • Reading has to be repeated a lot – sloppy execution is not acceptable to top performers. Read far and wide in your chosen field with sustained effort.
  • Feedback on your results must be continuously available – every learner needs feedback. As you are reading, make it a practice to share your insights, comments, and questions with a group of peers, a mentor, or some other third-party to help you analyze how you are doing.
  • Reading is highly demanding mentally – developing expertise requires intense concentration and focus. Reading sessions need to be free of those daily interruptions that are commonplace in everyone’s day-to-day routines.
  • Sometimes reading isn’t all that fun – while you should love what you do, deliberate reading practice is not designed to be fun. The knowledge that you are improving and getting closer to your dream of superior performance should outweigh the sacrifices you make.

The best leaders are the best learners.

The best learners are the best readers.

Want to join me on the “practice” field of reading?

 

 inspired by and adapted from The Truth About Leadership by James M. Kouzes and Barry Posner

The Truth About Leadership

 

>> Discover SUMS Remix, best-of-class book summary service for leaders here