Think Before You Read ~ Steve Laube

Steve Laube, a literary agent and president of The Steve Laube Agency, has been in the book industry for over 31 years, first as a
bookstore manager where he was awarded the National Store of the Year by
CBA. He then spent over a decade with Bethany House Publishers and was
named the Editor of the Year in 2002. He later became an agent and has
represented over 700 new books and was named Agent of the Year by ACFW.
His office is in Phoenix, Arizona.

Think Before You Read 
by Steve Laube

I collect books. I graze through them like I’m at an all-you-can-eat
buffet. I sample this tidbit and that. Eventually I get enough to eat or
have found the right morsel to consume until it is finished.
It helps make me an eclectic sort. But there are days, even weeks,
where I must discipline myself to become immersed in extraordinary
writing. It is there where the soul can be fed and nourished.

I came across a quote from the great Charles Bridges, a well respected pastor in the Church of England whose Exposition of Psalm 119 (published
1827) is a masterpiece. A couple years later he wrote a book directed
at those in the ministry. But I thought it applicable to everyone who
reads. Especially in our modern era of content consumption without
digestion.

Ardent minds wish, and seem almost to
expect, to gain all at once. There is here, as in religion, “a zeal not
according to knowledge.”— There is too great haste in decision, and too
little time for weighing, for storing, or for wisely working out the
treasure. Hence arises that most injurious habit of skimming over books,
rather than perusing them. The mind has only hovered upon the surface,
and gained but a confused remembrance of passing matter, and an
acquaintance with first principles far too imperfect for practical
utility. The ore of knowledge is purchased in the lump, but never
separated, or applied to important objects.


Some again need discretion in the direction of their study. They study
books more than themselves. They lose themselves in the multiplicity of
books; and find to their cost, that in reading as well as “making books
there is no end; and much study is a weariness of the flesh.” Bishop
Wilkins observes, “There is as much art and benefit in the right choice
of such books, with which we should be most familiar, as there is in the
election of other friends or acquaintances, with whom we may most
profitably converse.” No man can read everything; nor would our real
store be increased by the capacity to do so. The digestive powers would
be overloaded for want of time to act, and uncontrolled confusion would
reign within. It is far more easy to furnish our library than our
understanding.

May you be inspired to think about what you are reading and why you are reading it.