Leadership Bites: Reading Outside Your Tribe

In today’s Leadership Bites (6 minute leadership podcast), Andy Jones and I talk about the kind of reading that causes growth in our lives.



QUESTION: What are you currently reading?


I am a husband, father, pastor, leader & reader. I love God, love people & love life.

5 Comments to Leadership Bites: Reading Outside Your Tribe

  1. Chelsea B

    I like this a lot Brian – thanks for stretching and growing and encouraging me to do the same.

    I gravitate to the NYT or blogs for a quick escape, either into someone else’s reality or someone else’s imagination. I don’t make enough time for reading.

    This past year I have been reading books that have been gifted …by me..to others. As in, books I haven’t read. Books I have just thought, ‘Oh, that looks like something ______ would really enjoy.’ I’m always thoughtful with my selections but for some reason I always find these ‘thoughtful gifts’ gathering dust.

    My new, very simple rule : I have to read a book before I gift it.

    Books I’ve gifted in the last three years that I’ve read in the last year:

    The Box: How the Shipping Container Made the World Smaller and the World Economy Bigger – Marc Levinson

    The Happiness Project: or why I Spent the Last Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean my Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun – Gretchen Rubin

    Uncommon: Tony Dungy

    And lastly, this one I finished last night:

    Fresh Start with God – John Siebeling

    What I’ve found is that by reading books, perhaps outside my comfort zone, I’m able to engage in better conversation. I’m able to keep the conversation going. I’m able to create a connection with others by relating to their interests. I like that.

  2. Fr. Patrick Beno

    I had bookmarked your blog some months ago and just took some time today while on vacation to look at it again. I liked this little audio on reading outside your tribe. It took awhile in my life before I gave myself permission to do that and in fact began to see how necessary it was both for me and for my preaching. Along with your point that we will only be nodding our head in agreement to reading the same things and same authors we always have, I had come to realize that there are untold benefits for my preaching if I read widely. I gain other voices, my vocabulary expands, I pick up stories and humor, and will hopefully be more appealing to a wider span of people in the church by reading and thinking outside of my own interests.

    I am a Catholic priest and so have tended to Catholic authors but currently am reading a wonderful book by Frederick Buechner, a Presbyterian minister and very accomplished writer, called “Speak What We Feel~Not What We Ought To Say. Four Who Wrote In Blood” It is a short four chapter book about Gerard Manley Hopkins, Mark Twain, G.K. Chesterton, and William Shakespeare.

    Also I decided to read a novel by Jodi Piccoult which is about the last thing I ever thought I’d read. But I thought to myself, I have never read a novel of a contemporary popular woman and Piccoult is surely someone a lot of people are reading.

    • Thank you Fr. Beno for sharing. I love reading Buechner! Have you read Fr. Gregory Boyle’s book Tattoos On The Heart? It’s in the top 5 books I’ve read in the past few years.

      I recently became friends with Fr. Ed White from St Stephen’s in Renton (the church is quite literally across the street from mine). He gave me Jesus of Nazareth Pt 2 by Pope Benedict and The Imitation Of Christ by Thomas à Kempis. I’ve been enjoying both.

      Perhaps having friends outside your tribe is just as valuable as reading outside it. :)

      • Fr. Patrick Beno

        I haven’t heard of Tattoos On The Heart but I’ll look into it. Thanks for the recommendation. I finished the Buechner book and loved it. The four chapters were all really good. I especially enjoyed the section on Twain since I knew very little about him, ended up using some of it for a sermon.
        I’ve read a few books by Pope Benedict and enjoy very much the way he wrote. I heard it said that people would come to the papal audiences during Pope John Paul II’s time to ‘see’ John Paul but during Benedict’s time they came to ‘hear’ Benedict. It’s just a generalization of course but the point was that JP was a charismatic man but his addresses were often dense and philosophical. Benedict was theological for sure but had a flavorful way of writing/speaking.
        The Imitation Of Christ by Kempis is a (medieval) spiritual classic that seems to turn up frequently in the lives of the saints. You’ll read how so-an-so read only two things- the Bible and The Imitation of Christ.
        Me- I’m no saint. Got a ways to go. And I have thousands of books. Hope to spend more time checking out your blog too.

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