Curiosity Promotes Learning, with Dr. Karen Swallow Prior, Part 1

What if I told you that you could live counter-culturally today just by reading extra slowly?

We’ve all heard that leaders are readers, but nobody actually enjoys plunging through a long checklist of titles as fast as they can.

Outsiders, we need a new approach. It’s time to slow down and be curious again.


Welcome to Curiosity, a series of five conversations that explore the recovery and rediscovery of our curiosity, the God-given fuel behind Go Outside. In Part 1 of this first episode, Dr. Karen Swallow Prior, the author of one of my favorite books, On Reading Well, is here to help us rethink how and why we read. Together, Karen and I explain how reading well is a straight-out rebellion against our fast-paced culture but also a deeply rewarding virtue that slows us down, opens us up to notice, and makes us powerful stewards of language.  



Episode Highlights

  • [0:00] Would you call yourself curious? Why curiosity is foundational for Go Outside  
  • [0:40] Any bookworms tuning in? I share my latest curiosity: literature (and introduce a guest who’s got quite the appetite for reading herself!)
  • [1:10] “I don’t think most people dare to go that far.” Dr. Prior’s response after I ask about the most important thing we have in common
  • [3:25] A week-in-the-life: Dr. Prior talks about her chaotic schedule traveling, teaching, and living in rural Virginia   
  • [5:50] The story behind how Dr. Prior’s book ended up in my hands
  • [9:21] Do you also struggle to enjoy reading in our fast-paced world? Dr. Prior talks about the time, patience, and attention it takes to read well
  • [11:10] “Reading good literature is a radical, rebellious act against our culture.” What Dr. Prior says a counter-cultural mindset towards reading should look like and feel like
  • [13:31] Reading is a virtue? Dr. Prior gives us a refresher on what it means to live in tension between having too much and not enough
  • [17:00] Karen Prior shares her 4 favorite virtues (as of today, at least)
  • [18:55] The young adult novel that inspired both me and Dr. Prior
  • [20:45] Christians should read more than self-help books? Dr. Prior explains why she chose the books she did for her top 100 reading list  



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