Sun 08 July 2018

~ 3.5 Minute Read.

One of the more fas­ci­nat­ing skills that I start­ed to ac­quire is “Speedread­ing”.

As the name sug­gests, this is about read­ing fast, but al­so about get­ting the in­for­ma­tion to stick bet­ter! I orig­i­nal­ly got in touch with this still sur­pris­ing­ly ex­ot­ic top­ic be­cause a friend of mine—Erik Traise—rec­om­mend­ed the “Speedread­ing” book by Tony Buzan 1.

In­spired by the book we took a sem­i­nar at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Kon­stanz where Eri­ka Mag­yarosi drilled us in four days to in­crease our read­ing speeds two to four­fold.

If you’re in doubt, a rough out­line on why this works: like most of all of us, in school you may have been tought to read by vo­cal­iz­ing the let­ters and read­ing them out loud. Lat­er you were told to keep silent now, turn­ing the “vo­cal­iza­tion” in­to “sub­vo­cal­iza­tion”, i.e. you still read out loud to your­self, but in an in­ner voice.

Since you learned how to read you like­ly don’t ac­tu­al­ly re­quire this voice any­more, it is al­so called “au­di­to­ry re­as­sur­ing”, your brain al­ready knows what you just read, you just have a weird urge to make sure what you un­der­stood was cor­rect. Speedread­ing teach­es you a cou­ple of tech­niques in ad­di­tion to this: ex­pand­ing your pe­riph­er­al vi­sion dur­ing read­ing, read­ing ry­thm, avoid­ing jump­ing back and reread­ing por­tions of the text, or even to start us­ing a read­ing aid again.

The most asked ques­tion about speed read­ing: how can you still get in­for­ma­tion out of the text at high speeds? One of the ideas here is that read­ing a text fast twice is way more ef­fec­tive than read­ing it slow­ly once. With the first time you ac­quire a con­text that then al­lows you to con­nect the dots on the sec­ond round. But even when on­ly read­ing once, you will pick up the most im­por­tant points and for more sim­ple (non­fic­tion) lit­er­a­ture, that is usu­al­ly suf­fi­cient.

You would ob­vi­ous­ly not speedread any­thing you are try­ing to en­joy on a lit­er­ary lev­el (like this blog for ex­am­ple 2 ), but to get in­for­ma­tion out of text, this is amaz­ing.

My read­ing speed since dropped dra­mat­i­cal­ly 3 as I don’t read enough to “stay in shape”, but ev­ery now and then I take a book and read it. Back when I read at ~200 WpM 4 I found it too cum­ber­some to ac­tu­al­ly pick up a book; that sem­i­nar changed that. So if you’re still not con­vinced that this would be worth learn­ing more about, but have a sim­i­lar prob­lem, see it this way:

I’d rather just take away 50% of a book than 0% be­cause I nev­er read it.

And fi­nal­ly, I made a vir­tu­al re­al­i­ty speedread­ing game to­geth­er with my team at Vhite Rab­bit and if you’re in­ter­est­ed in sup­port­ing us, you may have a chance to ac­ci­den­tal­ly learn speedread­ing by play­ing that game—it has a slight­ly steep learn­ing curve, though. Get it via this coupon for 80% off.

“Speedread­ing” by Tony Buzan (Eng­lish | Ger­man)
I’m jok­ing of course. I know there is still a long way of writ­ing skill ac­qui­si­tion ahead of me. Which is why I time in­vest in­to this blog.
Rough mea­sure­ment for this blog post: ~360 WpM.
Words per minute.

Writ­ten in 45 min­utes, ed­it­ed in 5 min­utes.