Reading For Life (Part 5)

by Patrick Liew on September 21, 2011

“You have been given a reading list. If you want to be a leader, we have an unwritten policy.

“You need to read at least two books every month.”

Although I love reading, that was the first time I was ‘forced’ to read.

These words came from Dr. Donald Chia, one of my earlier mentors in life.

He ‘ordered’ a group of us who were serving in a youth organization to cultivate a habit of reading. Many of them have gone on to do well in life and reading has played a huge part in their success.

At that point in time, there was an undercurrent of peer pressure to prove our worth. Many of us wanted to rise up the rank-and-file of the organization.

At a young age of 17, much as I would not want to admit it, I must have secretly desired to be respected. I wanted to stand in front of a crowd as a leader and be admired, especially by young girls.

So, I had to pressure myself to read – and it turned out to be another one of the turning points in my life.

I learned that I should not only read what I wanted to read, but also the books that I don’t feel like reading because it would help me in my life.

I must turn what I don’t think I will enjoy reading to being able to loving and enjoying them.

I discovered this lesson through a hilarious experience.

When I received the reading list from Donald Chia, I chose one of the thinnest books. I wanted to achieve my quota of reading two books in the fastest – and easiest – way.

I chose to read ‘Pollution And The Death Of Man,’ by Dr. Francis Schaeffer. It was one of the most profound, complicated, and difficult books for me to read – even until today.

Dr. Schaeffer was one of the foremost philosophers, theologians, and apologists in the world.

You can imagine the hard times I had to go through in trying to read his book.

While many of my friends finished reading their two books, I was struggling – line by line – to understand the meaning of the bombastic words. I had to contemplate over the imponderables in ecology.

I am eternally grateful for this experience. It helped me to develop a discipline for effective reading.

I realized long ago that I first read the book. Then, I would have to read about the applications for myself in the book.

I would have to live out the wisdom of the book.

Finally, wisdom must live with and through me.

The final ‘chapter’ of the book is the chapter I have to craft for my life. The true ‘ending’ of a book is what I will make out of my life.

A good book continues forever.

I endeavor to live my life such that I can be read like an open book. I want to live wisely, transparently, and responsibly.

There is nothing that can be compared to sitting alone with authors from almost every background and walk of life, and letting their words of wisdom soak into my mind.

They reveal truths to me that I may never be able to discover in my life.

What oxygen is to my life, words of wisdom are to my soul. They are like stars that navigate my life.

My books are beckoning me…


I hope this message will find a place in your heart.

By the way, I have also recorded other reflections.

Please go to ‘Notes’ found below my profile picture.

Visit my Inspiration blog at

Visit my Transformation blog at

Please read them and continue to teach me.

Life is FUNtastic!


Question: How can we discipline ourselves to have an effective reading programme?


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