SYC_1.JPG Living an intentional and focused life in alignment with God's purposes and unique wiring will help you finish well.  To do so you will need a compass, a map, and a guide. The compass explains the importance of orienting your life in accordance with established biblical compass points.  The map defines the trajectory you are to follow based on how God has wired you.  The guide stresses the importance of being mentored and mentoring others.  Guidelines are provided to help you develop a Personal Alignment Plan, a Personal Life Mandate, and a Personal Mentoring Strategy - all of which will inform, condition, and establish your journey forward until God calls you home!

index.jpgTired of living in the misty lowlands of mediocrity? Have you forgotten how to soar like an eagle?  Are you seeking a compass that will help you navigate an ever-darkening world?  Lasting transformational change is accomplished from the inside out.  Your central beliefs establish your values, your core values inform your attitudes about life, your perceptual attitude energize your behavior, and your behavior reflects the health of your ‘heart.’  This resource will help you tune your heart to the heart of God and prepare you to live a honorable and noble life of meaningful significance.

Papas Blessing 2.JPGEvery human being longs for the affirmation, acceptance, and esteem of someone who matters to them. Sadly, most of us never hear the words we long to hear-words of appreciation, esteem, recognition, and value.  The importance of blessing is established. eight essential components of a meaningful blessing are identified, multiple examples of blessings are provided, how to administer a blessing is described, the legacy of blessings is explained, and a worksheet for developing and giving a blessing is included.

heart.png     Heart of a Warrior Blog Website

SYC_1.JPGMy latest book is available at the following locations--Amazon.com, BarnesandNoble.com, and iUniverse in hard cover, soft cover, and e-book for Kindle.

God is very clear about His purposes for you. If you want to live a meaningful life, it must be aligned with His purposes. The first step is to calibrate your heart to the heart of God so that you will be able to navigate the journey ahead.  The second step is to determine your unique map that will set the trajectory ofyour life. You have a unique purpose to fulfill, a committed passion to embrace, a role to perform, unique methodologies-a personal toolkit-to employ, and an ultimate contribution to make. The final step is to brings others alongside to help you stay on course.  They might include mentors who will help build foundations into your life, mentors who will build skills and competencies, and mentors who will offer guidance.

In Setting Your Course, I seeks to help you set your course, find focus for your life, engage in God's journey for you, and finish your journey well. I employ a three-part process to influence you to live all-out for Christ-the compass, map, and guide

The compass explains the importance of orienting your life in accordance with established biblical compass points.

The map defines the trajectory you are to follow based on how God has wired you.

The guide stresses the importance of being mentored and mentoring others.

Setting Your Course helps you formulate a deliberate strategy for determining your purpose; assists you in aligning your life according to God's plan; encourages you to become a proactive partner in fulfilling God's purposes and redemptive activity; and exhorts you to leave a worthwhile legacy in the lives of others.


What drains your barrel?  Depending on one's life stage and current circumstances certain activities drain one's barrel - some legitimate, others not so much. 

Each of us has a finite amount of physical, emotional, and spiritual energy.  This energy is dissipated at a rate equal to the responsibilities we hold, the obligations we have, and the load we carry.  For the most part, this 'drainage' is normal and common to every man.  The rate of dissipation increases when we expend our energy on things that could have been avoided such as bad disicisions, dysfunctional behavior, personal weaknesses, and sin.

What fills your barrel?  What actions do you take to fill your barrel?  Such activities as a vibrant devotional life, prayer, worship, and fellowship can fill your barrel.  Meaningful engagement with friends and loved ones can fill your barrel.  Exercise and healthy entertainment can fill your barrel.  I have recently taken up cooking - it fills my barrel.  Anything that gives 'life' to your life can fill your barrel.

If the outflow exceeds the inflow your barrel will drain to levels that will produce anxiety, fear, paranoia, and ultimately, shut down healthy functioning.  When your life becomes hectic the tendency is to focus on outflow and put inflow on hold.  When live becomes hectic we must ensure that healthy inflow is maintained to manage the rate of dissipation. 

I encourage you to conduct a personal audit using the resource Barrel Exercise.  The goal is to eliminate unhealthy outflow, recognize legitimate outflow, and manage the dissipation rate by adding positive inflow activities.

Resources for Men

Men's Ministry Resource Books

  • Effective Men's Ministry editor Phil Downer
  • How to Build a Life-Changing Men's Ministry by Steve Sonderman
  • Men's Ministry in the 21st Century: The Encyclopedia of Practical Ideas by Group Publications
  • Mobilizing Men for One-on-One Ministry: The Transforming Power of Authentic Friendship and Discipleship by Steve Sonderman
  • No Man Left Behind: How to Build and Sustain a Thriving Dicsiple-Making Ministry for Every Man in Your Church by Patrick Morley, David Delk & Brett Clemmer
  • Pastoring Men: What Works, What Doesn't, and Why It Matters Now More Than Ever by Patrick Morley
  • Why Men Hate Going to Church by David Murrow

Men's Issues

  • A Life of Integrity editor Howard Hendricks
  • A Rattling of Sabers:  Preparing Your Heart for Life’s Battles by Greg Bourgond
  • Being God’s Man in the Face of Temptation by Stephen Arterburn, Kenny Luck, and Todd Wendorff
  • Bondage Breaker by Neil T. Anderson
  • Daily Disciplines for the Christian Man:  Practical Steps to an Empowered Spiritual Life by Bob Beltz
  • Every Man Series Bible Studies by Stephen Arterburn et al
  • Every Man, God’s Man by Stephen Arterburn and Kenny Luck
  • Every Man, God's Man:  Every Man's Guide to Courageous Faith and Daily Integrity by Stephen Arterburn and Stoeker
  • Every Woman’s Desire: Every Man’s Guide to Winning the Heart of a Woman by Stephen Arterburn & Fred Stoeker with Mike Yorkey
  • Man in the Mirror:  Solving the 24 Problems Men Face by Patrick M. Morley
  • Man to Man by Charles R. Swindoll
  • Papa’s Blessing:  The Gift That Keeps Giving by Greg Bourgond
  • Renovation of the Heart:  Putting On the Character of Christ by Dallas Willard
  • Revolution of Character:  Discovering Christ’s Pattern for Spiritual Formation by Dallas Willard
  • Seven Promises of a Promise Keeper editors Al Janssen and Larry K. Weeden
  • Seven Promises of a Promise Keeper, Revised Edition by Max Lucado, Gary Smalley, Bill Breight
  • Seven Seasons of the Man in the Mirror by Patrick M. Morley
  • Soul Detox: Clean Living in a Contaminated World by Craig Groeschel
  • Spiritual Warfare: Christians, Demonization and Deliverance by Karl Payne
  • Strengthening Your Grip by Charles R. Swindoll
  • The Barbarian Way:  Unleash the Untamed Faith Within by Erwin McManus
  • The Four Pillars of a Man’s heart:  Bringing Strength Into Balance by Scott Weber
  • The Man God Uses by Henry Blackaby
  • The Man in the Mirror by Patrick M. Morely
  • The Measure of a Man by Gene A. Getz
  • The Measure of a Man:  20 Attributes of a Godly Man by Gene A. Getz
  • The Secrets Men Keep: How Men Make Life and Love Tougher Than It Has to Be by Stephen Arterburn
  • The Walk of Repentance by Steve Gallagher
  • Uprising: A Revolution of the Soul by Erwin McManus
  • Victory Over Darkness by Neil T. Anderson
  • Waking the Dead by John Eldredge
  • When Men Think Private Thoughts by Gordon MacDonald
  • Wild at Heart:  Discovering the Secret of a Man’s Soul by John Eldredge

Sexual Purity

  • At the Altar of Sexual Idolatry by Steve Gallagher
  • Every Man's Battle:  Winning the War on Sexual Purity One Victory at a Time by Stephen Arterburn and Fred Stoeker with Mike Yorkey
  • Out of the Depths of Sexual Sin by Steve Gallagher
  • Pure Desire by Ted Roberts
  • The Dirty Little Secret:  Uncovering the Truth Behind Porn by Craig Gross and Carter Krummrich
  • When Good Men Are Tempted by Bill Perkins

Focused Living

  • Beyond Halftime: Practical Wisdom for Your Second Half by Bob Buford
  • Chasing Daylight:  Seize the Power of Every Moment by Erwin McManus
  • Decision Making and the Will of God by Garry Friesen
  • Finishing Well: The Adventure of Life Beyond Halftime by Bob Buford
  • Focused Living Resource Kit by Terry Walling, Gary Mayes, Steve Hoke, and Julie Becker
  • Halftime:  Changing Your Game Plan from Success to Significance by Bob Buford
  • Identity Theft:  Reclaiming Who God Created You To Be by Mike Breaux
  • In Search of Balance: Keys to a Stable Life by Richard A. Swenson
  • Margin:  Restoring Emotional, Physical, Financial, and Time Reserves to Overloaded Lives by Richard A. Swenson
  • Please Understand Me II: Temperament, Character, Intelligence by David Keirsey
  • Rest of Your Life by Patrick Morley
  • Second Wind for the Second Half by Patrick Morley
  • Seizing Your Divine Moment:  Dare to Live a Life of Adventure by Erwin McManus
  • Starting Well--Building A Strong Foundation for A Life Time of Ministry by Richard Clinton and Paul Leavenworth
  • Strategic Concepts That Clarify a Focused Life by J. Robert Clinton
  • StrengthsFinder 2.0 by Tom Rath
  • Stuck! Navigating the Transitions of Life and Leadership by Terry Walling
  • The Common Made Holy: Being Conformed to the Image of God by Neil T. Anderson
  • The Man God Uses by Henry and Tom Blackaby
  • The Map: The Way of All Great Men by David Murrow (2010)
  • The Overload Syndrome: Learning to Live Within Your Limits (Guidebook) by Richard A. Swenson
  • What You Do Best in the Body of Christ: Discover Your Spiritual Gifts, Personal Style, and God-Given Passion by Bruce Bugbee
  • Winning the Values War In A Changing Culture by Leith Anderson

Spiritual Disciplines

  • A Man’s Guide to the Spiritual Disciplines by Patrick Morley
  • Boundaries:  When To Say Yes and When To Say No by Henry Cloud and Townsend
  • Celebration of Discipline by Richard J. Foster
  • Disciplines of a Godly Man by Nancy Gibbs and Michael Duffy
  • Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life by Donald S. Whitney
  • The Heart of a Godly Man: Practical Disciplines for a Man's Spiritual Life by E. Glenn Wagner
  • The Life You’ve Always Wanted by John Ortberg
  • The Practice of the Presence of God by Brother Lawrence
  • The Spirit of the Disciplines by Dallas Willard

Apologetics (Defending the Christian Faith)

  • Evidence that Demands a Verdict by Josh McDowell
  • Handbook of Today's Religions by Josh McDowell
  • Know What You Believe by Paul E. Little
  • Know Who You Believe by Paul E. Little
  • Know Why You Believe by Paul E. Little
  • Mere Christianity by C. S. Lewis
  • The New Evidence that Demands a Verdict by Josh McDowell

Discipleship & Evangelism

  • A Long Obedience in the Same Direction: Discipleship in an Instant Society by Eugene Peterson
  • Becoming A Contagious Christian by Bill Hybels
  • Counterfeit Gods: The Empty Promises of Money, Sex, and Power, and the Only Hope that Matters by Timothy Keller
  • Devotions for the Man in the Mirror by Patrick Morley
  • Disciples Are Made Not Born by Walter Henrichsen
  • Discipleship Essentials: A Guide to Building Your Life in Christ by Greg Ogden
  • Discipleship for the Man in the Mirror by Patrick Morley
  • Discipleship: The Road Less Taken by Greg Laurie
  • How to Give Away Your Faith by Paul Little
  • If You Want to Walk on Water You’ve Got to Get Out of the Boat by John Ortberg
  • King's Cross: The Story of the World in the Life of Jesus by Timothy Keller
  • Knowing Scripture by R. C. Sproul
  • Spiritual Discipleship: Principles of Following Christ for Every Believer by J. Oswald Sanders
  • The Complete Book of Discipleship: On Being and Making Followers of Christ by Bill Hull
  • The Divine Conspiracy: Rediscovering Our Hidden Life in God by Dallas Willard
  • The King Jesus Gospel: The Original Good News Revisited by Scot McKnight
  • The Kingdom Life: A Practical Theology of Discipleship and Spiritual Formation by Keith Meyer and Bill Thrall
  • The Master Plan of Evangelism and Discipleship by Robert Coleman
  • The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren
  • The Reason for God: Belief in an Age of Skepticism by Timothy Keller
  • Too Busy Not To Pray: Slowing Down to be with God by Bill Hybels


  • Courageous Leadership by Bill Hybels
  • Developing the Leader Within You by John C. Maxwell
  • Developing the Leaders Around You by John C. Maxwell
  • Emotional Intelligence by Travis Bradberry
  • Follow Me:  Experience the Loving Leadership of Jesus by Jan Hettinga
  • Having A Ministry That Lasts--By Becoming A Bible Centered Leader by J. Robert Clinton
  • How to Build a Life Changing Men's Ministry by Steve Sonderman
  • Lead Like Jesus: Lessons from the Greatest Leadership Role Model of All Time by Ken Blanchard and Phil Hodges
  • Leading from the Inside Out: The Art of Self-Leadership by Samuel Rima
  • Leading from Your Strengths: Building Close-Knit Ministry Teams by Eric Tooker, John Trent, and Rodney Cox
  • Living and Leading Well by Richard Clinton and Paul Leavenworth
  • Overcoming the Dark Side of Leadership: How to Become an Effective Leader by Confronting Potential Failures by Gary McIntosh and Samuel Rima
  • Principled Centered Leadership by Stephen Covey
  • Reframing Organizations by Lee Bolman and Terrence Deal
  • Spiritual Leadership: Moving People on to God's Agenda by Henry & Richard Blackaby
  • Spiritual Leadership: Principles of Excellence for Every Believer by J. Oswald Sanders
  • The Bible-Centered Leader Workbook: A workbook for Younger Emerging Leaders by Paul Leavenworth
  • The Making of a Leader by J. Robert Clinton
  • The Power of Team Leadership by George Barna
  • The Situational Leader by Paul Hersey
  • There’s No Such Thing as Business Ethics by John C. Maxwell
  • Transforming Leadership: Jesus' Way of Creating Vision, Shaping Values & Empowering Change by Leighton Ford
  • Upside Down: The Paradox of Servant Leadership by Stacy T. Rinehart

Marriage and Family

  • The 2:52 Ultimate Devo for Boys: 365 Devos to Make You Stronger, Smarter, Deeper, and Cooler by Ed Strauss
  • A Husband After God’s Own Heart:  12 Things That Really Matter in Your Marriage by Jim George
  • Being God’s Man in Leading a Family by Stephen Arterburn, Kenny Luck, and Todd Wendorff
  • Bringing up Boys by James Dobson
  • Every Man’s Marriage by Stephen Arterburn and Fred Stoker
  • Finishing Strong:  Going the Distance for Your Family by Steve Farrar
  • His Needs Her Needs by Willard F. Harley, Jr.
  • His Needs, Her Needs by Willard F. Harley
  • If Only He Knew by Gary Smalley
  • If Only He Knew:  Understanding Your Wife by Gary Smalley
  • Point Man, Revised and Expanded by Steve Farrar
  • Point Man: How A Man Can Lead His Family by Steve Farrar
  • Raising a Modern Day Knight:  A Father’s Role in Guiding His Son to Authentic Manhood by Robert Lewis
  • Real Family Values:  Leading Your Family into the 21st Century with Clarity and Conviction by Robert Lewis         
  • The Demise of Guys: Why Boys Are Struggling and What We Can Do About ItT by Philip Zimbardo and Nikita Duncan
  • The Family Book of Christian Values by Stuart Briscoe
  • The Five Love Languages: How to Express Heartfelt Commitment to your Mate by Gary Chapman
  • The Meaning of Marriage: Facing the Complexities of Commitment with the Wisdom of God by Timothy Keller
  • The Young Man in the Mirror:  A Rite of Passage into Manhood by Patrick Morley
  • They Call Me Dad: The Practical Art of Effective Fathering by Ken Canfield
  • What Wives Wished Their Husbands Knew About Women by Dr. James Dobson


  • As Iron Sharpens Iron:  Building Character in a Mentoring Relationship by Howard & William Hendricks
  • Connecting:  The Mentoring Relationships You Need to Succeed in Life by Paul D. Stanley and J. Robert Clinton
  • Eternal Impact: Investing In The Lives of Men by Phil Downer
  • Mentoring:  Confidence in Finding a Mentor and Becoming One by Bob Biehl
  • Spiritual Mentoring:  A Guide for Seeking and Giving Direction by Ken Anderson and Randy Reese

Time & Personal Management

  • Halftime by Bob Buford
  • Margin: Restoring Emotional, Physical, Financial, and Time Reserves to Overloaded Lives by Richard A. Swenson, M.D.
  • Mid-Course Correction by Gordon MacDonald
  • Ordering Your Private World by Gordon MacDonald
  • Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey
  • Strategy for Living by Dayton and Engstrom
  • The Overload Syndrome: Learning to Live Within Your Limits by Richard A. Swenson, M.D.
  • Tyranny of the Urgent! by Charles E. Hummel

Work and Leisure

  • First Things First by Stephen Covey
  • In His Grip: Foundations for Life and Golf by Jim Sheard
  • Work & Leisure in Christian Perspective by Lyland Ryken
  • Your Work Matters to God by Doug Sherman and William Hendricks

Devotional Resources

  • Confessions by Augustine
  • Fearfully and Wonderfully Made by Philip Yancey and Paul Brand
  • God Has Spoken by J.I. Packer
  • In His Image by Philip Yancey and Paul Brand
  • In Times Like These by Vance Havner.
  • Knowing God by J.I. Packer
  • Mere Christianity by C. S. Lewis.
  • Pilgrim's Progress by John Bunyan.
  • Salt and Pepper by Vance Havner.
  • The Cost of Discipleship by Dietrich Bonhoeffer
  • The Great Divorce by C.S. Lewis
  • The Imitation of Christ by Thomas a' Kempis.
  • The Knowledge of the Holy by A. W. Tozer.
  • The Practice of the Presence of God by Brother Lawrence.
  • The Pursuit of God by A.W. Tozer.
  • The Screwtape Letters by C. S. Lewis.
  • Your God Is Too Small by J.B. Phillips

Bible Study Guidelines

  • Basic Guide to Interpreting the Bible: Playing by the Rules by Robert Stein
  • How to Read the Bible in Changing Times: Understanding and Applying God's Word Today by Mark Strauss
  • How to Study the Bible by John F. MacArthur
  • Living By the Book Workbook: The Art and Science of Reading the Bible by William Hendricks and Howard Hendricks
  • Rick Warren's Bible Study Methods: Twelve Ways You Can Unlock God's Word by Rick Warren
  • Studying, Interpreting, and Applying the Bible by Walter Henrichsen
  • The New How to Study Your Bible: Discover the Life-Changing Approach to God's Word by Kay Arthur, David Arthur, and Pete De Lacy
  • Understand: A straightforward approach to interpreting the Bible by Walter Henrichsen

Bible Study Resources

  • Manners and Customs in the Bible: An Illustrated Guide to Daily Life in Bible Times by Victor Harold Matthews
  • Nelson's Complete Book of Bible Maps and Charts, 3rd Edition by Thomas Nelson
  • Nelson's New Testament Survey: Discovering the Essence, Background & Meaning About Every New Testament Book by Mark Bailey and Tom Constable
  • Nelson's Old Testament Survey: Discovering the Essence, Background & Meaning About Every Old Testament Book by Charles Dyer and Gene Merrill
  • NIV Bible Study Commentary by John H. Sailhamer
  • The MacArthur Topical Bible: A Comprehensive Guide to Every Major Topic Found in the Bible by John MacArthur
  • The Strongest NIV Exhaustive Concordance by Edward W. Goodrick and John R. Kohlenberger III
  • Zondervan Atlas of the Bible by Carl Rasmussen
  • Zondervan Illustrated Bible Dictionary (Premier Reference Series) by J. D. Douglas, Merrill C. Tenney and Moises Silva

Key Websites for Men

Church for Men http://churchformen.com/

Every Man’s Battle http://newlife.com/emb/

Heart of a Warrior Ministries  www.heartofawarrior.org

Man in the Mirror Ministry  http://www.maninthemirror.org/

Men of Integrity  http://www.menofintegrity.org/

Men’s Fraternity http://www.mensfraternity.com/

National Coalition of Ministries to Men  http://ncmm.org/

No Regrets Ministry  http://www.menwithnoregrets.org/

Promise Keepers  http://www.promisekeepers.org/

Pure Desire Ministries International  http://www.puredesire.org/

Top Gun Men’s Ministries  http://www.topgunministries.org/

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Posted by greg


I hope you have enjoyed the 27 posts I have submitted since last October.  I encourage you to revisit the posts listed below.  I am concluding the posts until September 2015 when I will pick up where I left off.  I would enjoy hearing from you regarding the posts you enjoyed and why they caught your interest.  Until September I bid you farewell.


#1 - Being a Leader

#2 - Leadership

#3 - Finishing Well

#4 - Key Characteristics

#5 - Major Barriers

#6 - Enhancements

#7 - Budding Leaders

#8 - Concerns versus Influence

#9 - Hills to Die On

#10 - Boundary Events

#11 - SMART Goals

#12 - Time Management

#13 - Decision Filters

#14 - Clock or Compass

#15 - Mentoring Insights

#16 - Mentoring Dynamics

#17 - Mentoring Needs

#18 - Mentoring Types

#19 - Mentoring Guidelines

#20 - Mentoring Contract

#21 - Unrealized Potential

#22 - Wise Decisions

#23 - Reframing

#24 - Interview Technique

#25 - Too Much to Read

#26 - Too Little Time to Read

#27 - Reading What Is Important

Leadership and Formation #27: Reading What Is Important

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Posted by greg

stick_figure_books_ladder_400_clr_9130.pngThus far we have covered four approaches for Reading on the Run, Continuum Reading Concepts:  scan reading, ransack reading, browse reading, and Pre-reading.  See the last two posts for details on these methods.

The last and more detailed reading methods include In-depth Reading and Studying a Book.

In-Depth Reading

According to J. Robert Clintion (and in his own words) you do an in-depth reading of a book when you have determined from scanning, ransacking, and browsing that it is worth pre-reading and actually reading in-depth.  An in-depth reading of a book is a detailed approach to the evaluation of a book which involves pre-reading followed by detailed reading of all parts of the text in order to affirm, deny or modify the pre-reading analysis and to produce six evaluation statements.

Reading a book is a serious detailed approach to the understanding of what the author is saying.  It is an approach which says the book deserves to be read in a detailed enough way so you are able to give evaluation statements about the book as a whole.  When you have read a book you have an overall grasp of the book and can discuss it motivationally with a potential reader.  You will be able to discuss six kinds of evaluation statements which are described below.  You will have, if appropriate…

  1. Shown where the author is uninformed in his/her writing, (i.e., examples from the book where the author draws conclusions without considering all the facts).
  2. Shown where the author is misinformed in his/her writing, (i.e., instances/examples from the book in which the author draws conclusions based on false information).
  3. Shown where the author is illogical in his/her writing (i.e., examples from the book in which the author uses faulty reasoning in arriving at conclusions).
  4. Shown where the author’s analysis or account is incomplete in terms of his/her statement of purpose in writing the book (i.e., an evaluation of the author’s accomplishment of purpose in writing he book.)
  5. Shown the author’s strengths in his/her writing, (i.e., reference to useful quotations, point out any strong arguments or explanations, and point out concepts which can be transferred to your own experience).
  6. Shown the relevance of the book to today’s needs, (i.e., application to various life-situations to which the book can be applied.  You can point out the kind of reader who will profit the most by the book).

Studying a Book

Studying a book requires the most detailed kind of reading.  Studying a book is a special in-depth approach to the reading of a book which involves pre-reading, reading, and background research on materials and ideas used in the book.  It involves the ability to do comparative evaluation and original research on materials and ideas used in the book.

Six Results

When you have studied a book you will…

  1. Have done the four pre-reading statements.
  2. Have arrived at appropriate evaluation statements from the six evaluation statements normally considered in detailed reading.
  3. Be able to discuss the book analytically with another reader.
  4. Be able to evaluate the other reader’s analysis for clarification, modification, etc.
  5. Have researched original materials quoted in the book for evaluating accuracy.
  6. Be able to compare the book with other books dealing with the same major subject so as to show similarities, differences, unique contributions, etc.

I hope the information on continuum reading concepts will inform your reading practices going forward.  I strongly recommend you acquire this handy guide by purchasing Reading on the Run: Continuum Reading Concepts by J. Robert Clinton, 1999, Barnabas Publishers.  There is much more detail including examples of each reading method as well as feedback on each method.  There is also information in this valuable resource for writing a book review using reading continuum concepts.


Leadership and Formation #26: Too Little Time to Read

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Posted by greg

stick_figure_run_clock_400_clr_7435.pngIn the last post I introduced you reading on the run; continuum reading concepts.  Not every word of every book or article requires reading.  What you read and how much you read depends on the material being read.  As J. Robert Clinton declared, “One can read different books (articles) differently and obtain useful information without having to read every word of every book (article)….Continuum reading concepts teach one how to pick and choose which words, paragraphs, pages, chapters and sections are to be read, and how to read them for information without having to read every word.”

Six reading intensities were identified in the last post, the first two of which were explained in greater detail – scanning, ransacking (see the previous post for more detailed information on these first two levels), browsing, pre-reading, in-depth reading, and studying.  Let’s pick up where we left off again in the words of the original author.

Browse Reading

Browsing id dipping into certain portions of a book to study in detail some discussion of a topic in its contextual treatment.  Having scanned a book you may decide that you are relatively familiar with the material and want to explore in some detail a given topic of interest.  Detailed reading of an extended portion (or portions) of a book is what is meant by browsing.  Often you will discover browsing material when ransacking for a new idea (concept, strategy, process, principle, methodology, etc.)

Three Results

When browsing prepare evaluation type questions on a limited portion of the book you are reading organized around the concept, strategy, process, principle, methodology, etc. you are seeking to explore.  The following questions are helpful to browsing…

  • What did the author actually say on the subject of interest?  Resist initially to read into what the author is saying.
  • How well did the author say it (what definitions, examples, figures of speech, cogency of argument, substantiation) was employed?
  • What did the author leave unsaid?  What lingering questions remain in the mind of the reader that should have been addressed?
  • How does what is said by the author compare to what you have read or learned elsewhere? How does the material differ or contrast with what has been said elsewhere?
  • How useful is the information?  What new insights are gained?  What new perspective has been achieved?  How will what has been learned be operationalized?


Pre-reading a book is a special kind of survey of a book which involves drawing implications from various portions of the book as to the thematic and structural intent of the book.  Pre-reading a book indicates a serious intent to understand an entire book.  When you pre-read a book, you are seeking to find out the overall thematic content of the book and to see how the author is structuring the material to develop the thematic intent.

Structural intent refers to a recognition of how the author uses each portion of the book to contribute to the subject or major ideas of the book.

Thematic intent refers to a single statement that weaves together the main subject of the book and each major idea developed throughout the book.

You pre-read a book when in your scanning, ransacking, and browsing you determine that the book is well written and has developed an important topic in and organized manner.  In pre-reading a book, you will be doing your best to identify a single statement of what the author is saying without reading the entire book.  It is a special kind of survey which requires careful thinking and extrapolation based on a limited amount of information.

The skills to do this are developed only with practice.  After you have pre-read several books and then have followed with reading (the entire book) and discovered how well your pre-reading agrees or disagrees with your reading, you will develop skill and confidence in your ability to pre-read.

Four Results

When you have pre-read a book you will have tentative statements describing…

  • The kind of book being pre-read.
  • The author’s intent and methodology.
  • The author’s thesis which involves the major subject and supporting major ideas.
  • The intent of each major section (or minor where necessary) and how they contribute to the thesis statement.

The last two levels (in-depth reading and studying) will be covered in the next post.


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Leadership and Formation #25: Too Much To Read

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Posted by greg

sitting_on_books_reading_custom_book_md_nwm.jpg“Of making many books there is no end, and much study wearies the body (Ecclesiastes 12:12).”

Have you ever felt there is not enough time in the day to read what needs to be read?  Emails, postings, articles, studies, and books clamor for our attention.  How can a leader possibly expect to stay abreast of the hurricane of information relevant to one’s calling or profession?

“Leaders need to be able to process large amounts of reading materials since the leadership field is so broad and so much requires comparative skills.”  J. Robert Clinton

My mentor, J. Robert Clinton, introduced me to Continuum Reading Concepts – “useful to direct a reader to process vast amounts of information at some level of acquisition and lesser amounts at more in depth levels of acquisition and evaluation, with an ultimate view of identifying and using concepts in one’s own leadership.”

“Most people learn to read by reading every word on every page.  The Reading Continuum is based on the assumption that one does not have to read every word in order to benefit from the information.  One can read different books differently and obtain useful information without having to read every word of every book.”

Slide1.JPGThe continuum has at the right the most detailed level of reading – called Study.  At the left is the lightest kind of reading called Scan.  In between are various kinds of reading each increasing (in terms of depth, intensity, time invested, amount covered) as one moves to the right.  Each level to the right includes the various features involved in all reading levels to the left.  The ability to read various kinds of books differently is a valuable skill and almost necessity for anyone involved in leadership and leadership training.”

“The Reading Continuum is not related to speed reading skills. Speed reading programs teach one how to rapidly scan words.  A person can be a very fast or very slow reader and still use continuum reading concepts…these concepts teach one how to pick and choose which words, paragraphs, pages, chapters and sections to be read, and how to read them for information without having to read every word.”

Six levels of reading are proposed; scan, ransack, browse, pre-read, in depth reading, and study.  The remarks that follow come directly from Reading on the Run:  Continuum Reading Concepts by J. Robert Clinton (Barnabas Publishers, 1999).

Scan Reading

Scan Reading allows one to survey the potential value of reading a book without having committed to much time to it.  It is the initial approach to reading a book.

Scan reading is an overview approach to reading a book.  This involves a careful reading of the table of contents, introductory information, “dust cover” remarks, along with any information on the author which will allow at least a cursory understanding of what the book is about and how it is organized with a view toward determining what further level along the continuum the book should be read.

Scanning also includes “thumbing” through the book to note any conclusions, summary statements, charts, tables, possibility of useful quotes, illustrations, etc.

Some books can be scanned in as little as 15 minutes.  Some books may take as much as 2 hours.

Six Results

When you have scanned a book you will…

  1. Know who wrote the book.
  2. Have identified the author’s perspective.
  3. Know how the book is organized.
  4. Recognize what the author is trying to accomplish.
  5. Have identified further assessment reading possibilities (ransacking/browsing).
  6. Have made a decision concerning evaluative reading (whether to do: e.g. will do now, will do in future, will not do, decide after ransacking or browsing, which level to do (pre-read, in depth read, or study).

Ransack Reading

When you are relatively familiar with certain topics you may not need to read every chapter in a book but may choose to read very selectively.  That is, you may read given portions to see if they add any new ideas or ideas different than those you are already aware of.

Close Ransacking refers to reading while only looking for a pre-selected topic of interest…refers to rapid reading to compare or contrast what is said with some already known idea or ideas in mind.

Open Ransacking refers to reading while looking for new ideas…refers to rapid reading to see if there is some new idea or new slant on an idea concerning some specific area of interest.

Ransack Reading refers to the technique of looking through a book in order to see what it says concerning a specific topic of interest or combing through a book on relatively familiar material to see if it has any new ideas not known to you.

Six Results

When you have ransacked a book you will have…

  1. Noted a new idea on a pre-selected topic of interest to you.
  2. Noted a contrasting or differing idea on some pre-selected topic of interest to you.
  3. Determined that the book has nothing to add to your pre-selected topic of interest.
  4. Gained something worth noting which is of interest to you on any topic.
  5. Determined that nothing of interest to you can be gained from the book.
  6. Made a tentative decision concerning pre-read, in depth reading, or study (e.g. will do now, will do in future, not necessary to do, decide after ransacking or browsing).

More to follow…Browse, Pre-Read, In Depth Read, and Study.  Stay connected.

Leadership & Formation #24: Interview Techniques

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Posted by greg

five_way_puzzle_people_400_clr_4877.pngWhile at General Electric many years ago I was identified as a HiPot (High Potential).  The practice at that time was to select HiPots and send them to GE’s Leadership Development School located in Crotonville on the Hudson for a week if intensive training.  Young managers were invited from GE’s 13 core businesses.  One hundred managers gathered and taught key leadership practices. 

One of the lessons was how to interview potential employees.  Questions were presented under four categories (AAII) and were used to assess candidates:  analytical skills, accomplishments, initiative, and innovativeness.  These questions have served me well over the years.  I have used them repeatedly to assess potential employees.  Not all the questions are asked.  The interviewer selects several under each category.

These questions can also be used to prepare for an interview when you are seeking a position.


Typically, these will be follow-up questions to determine how the candidate thinks through/solves problems.  The problems themselves are best surfaced via other lines of questioning.

  • How did you approach …?
  • Were you able to foresee any of the obstacles you encountered, and if so, what did you do in anticipation of them?
  • When dealing with . . . (situation) . . ., what kinds of information did you seek?  From what sources?  How did you organize it?
  • When planning an approach like . . . (situation) . . ., how do you separate the important from the trivial – how do you set priorities?  What kind of contingency plans do you develop (or how do you develop contingency plans)?
  • When faced with a problem like . . . (situation) . . ., what steps do you typically go through to develop an effective approach?
  • Tell me about (walk me through) your thinking process as you dealt with …


  • When you think about some things you’ve done well over the last (few years/year), what are you most pleased about?  Did that involve other people, or did you do it yourself?  Why do you think you were able to get those results?  What obstacles or problems did you overcome?
  • What was it about doing . . . that gave you particular satisfaction?  What was it that turned you on?
  • How do you compare your accomplishments with those of other people in the same area (class, work group)?
  • Could you describe some of the things you’ve done well during school – as a part of your regular academic program or extra-curricular work?  Were there some obstacles and how did you get around them?  Describe the work or projects that you feel show that you know how to get the job accomplished?
  • What have you learned about your strengths from working on . . .?
  • Did you get any clues about your development needs as a result of . . .?
  • Since we have only a limited amount of time to discuss your strengths, which strengths do you think stand out?
  • Why do you believe you’ve been able to be effective; what personal characteristics/skills/special knowledge has been of particular value?
  • How do you handle obstacles when they get in your way and can you give me some examples of how you did it?
  • For each of the important pieces of your work (of your assignment) would you highlight an activity or accomplishment that would demonstrate your ability to get a job done?
  • How would other people you have worked with describe your accomplishments; how would they describe your strengths and the reasons you have been effective?


Accomplishments that resulted from initiatives will generally be salient and will likely be mentioned.  Probes about how a project got started, etc. will help you get at some of this indirectly.

  • Would you describe a project or activity at school or work where you were responsible for getting the ball rolling?  What was the situation, what did you have to do, and how did people respond?
  • Give me some examples of where you have taken the initiative and what led you to do it?
  • What kind of information do you like to have before you start on a project?  What kinds of sources of such information do you find most valuable or useful?
  • Can you give me an example of a project or activity where you started off by yourself because there was no other interested person or because if you didn’t do it, no one else would?
  • What leadership characteristics do you have – would you describe them and give me some examples of how you have acted on them, or used them? How would others perceive you in this regard?

Initiative frequently is evidenced where someone has to deal with obstacles or make an extra effort to reach an objective. 

  • Why did you continue in the race of . . .?
  • Why did you think it was important to . . .?
  • What was so important about . . . ?


  • Tell me about some of your best ideas and what stimulated them?  How did you develop them and how did you implement them?
  • Tell me about something that you have taken special pleasure in developing, like a new way to do something, a change in a policy or procedure, or a better way to do anything?
  • What kinds of situations prompt you to look for new approaches or better ways of doing things?
  • Could you describe a situation at work or at school where you took a risk?  What prompted you to take the risk, and how did you evaluate it ahead of time?
  • Can you give me some examples of risks you have taken and why you took them? Describe the outcomes.
  • Under what conditions do you take risks in an organizations setting?  What was the biggest such risk you’ve taken in the past year or two, and what was the outcome?
  • What obstacles have you encountered when you tried to improve something or do something differently?  How did you deal with them?
  • When is it appropriate to look for better ways of doing things?
  • Are you more effective when you have a set of procedures to guide you or when you have to develop your own way of doing things?  Can you give me some examples of this?
  • When you started . . . (or, took over such and such) . . . what kinds of changes, if any, did you feel the need to make?  Why did you feel that way, and how did you go about making the changes?
  • At what point do you settle for a solution instead of continuing to look for a better way?
  • What kind of work environments encourage and/or discourage you from exploring new ideas or different way of doing things?

I hope you find these questions helpful as you hone your interviewing technique.

To be continued…


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