Book Challenge

What’s a little book challenge among friends?

Last January, my good friend Pastor David Hansen made a personal decision to increase his reading. As an avid reader, I felt the urge to out-read him. I couldn’t help myself.

What impressed me about David’s goal is that he set a lag metric to read 24 books. More importantly, David set lead metrics. (Read more about lag and lead metrics here.) David made the decision to read 30 minutes a day. He set a rhythm to achieve his goal and blew it out of the water! He read 41 books in 2019, almost doubling his intention. (Check out David’s book list here.)

While David set up a time marker to create space for reading, I took a different tactic. I decided to read 10 books in each of my personal growth areas. Note: our metrics fit our motivation and learning styles! The more I read in each area, the hungrier I got for more knowledge. Books begot books and the competition was on!

My personal growth areas for 2019:

  • Adaptive Leadership
  • Racism, Diversity, Inclusion and Healing
  • Inspiration, Theology and Spirituality
  • Relaxation

The biggest surprises?

  1. 101 books in 2019! (For comparison, I read 66 books in 2018.)
  2. 23 books were re-reads! I am definitely curating a core library that I return to over and over.

And the winner? David Hansen! 925% increase over 2018!!!

Yes, I read more books, but my increase from 66 to 101 (53% increase) was nothing compared to his increase from 4 to 41! Way to go David for proving that lead metrics are effective for changing behavior. I am grateful and honored to be your partner in ministry!!

And for 2020? I have already cleared my book case (sort of) to make room for the new reading. Truly there are some core books I will read again, but I am excited about adding new books to the library.

Click here if you want to join David and me in reading. We will gladly share what’s on our lists and check in each quarter. Let’s read together. And who knows, you may out read both of us!

1 reply
  1. Caren Carney
    Caren Carney says:

    Dear Peggy,

    Happy New Year! I just finished reading “Talking to Strangers: What We Should Know About The People We Don’t Know” by Malcolm Gladwell. A security guard for our local Congressman (who was giving a talk to our group) was standing by and I struck up a conversation–he recommended it. I then encouraged one of my friends to keep reading because she couldn’t get past the first few pages discussing the case of Sandra Bland. (This happened to me many years ago when I first read “The Color Purple” by Alice Walker.)

    Gladwell explored why we often get it so wrong about people we meet for the first time. He recounted how the warnings about people like Adolf Hitler, Bernie Madoff, and Jerry Sandusky were ignored. There are similar but less famous stories he shares, including the accused terrorist Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, a lesser-known Cuban double agent, and Amanda Knox. He also recounted the task of judges to assess defendants. When compared to a computer algorithm used to predict behavior, the judges didn’t fare so well.

    I found your article interesting, Peggy, for the number of books you intend to re-read. Gladwell’s book, “Talking to Strangers” is on my list to reread soon. It was a deep, interesting, and dense read.

    Kind regards,


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