Keven DeYoung has a good blog post about why Pastors should read over their heads. I think it is good for people that are not pastors as well.
I know I try to read above my head quite often. I am not always successful. There are many books that I know I only get part of the content. Sometimes I just shoot too far above my head. But even among books that are often too far above my head, I can usually get something from.
What DeYoung doesn’t say, but I think is important, is that when you read above your head, do not try to read straight through and give yourself permission to quit.
DeYoung’s blog post:
Whenever I talk about reading I try to throw in a lot of disclaimers. Reading is my “thing.” It’s what comes easily to me (more easily than, say, personal evangelism). So I always want to be careful that I don’t impose my passions on everyone else.
But even with that caveat, I encourage pastors to regularly read over their heads. This will mean different things to different men, but what I have in mind is the reading of academic writing. Well-meaning people sometimes call me a leading theologian or a scholar, but I’m not anything close to either. I write books, and hopefully my theology is pretty careful and pretty sound, but none of this means I do what real scholars do.