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Reading for the Rushed (fogus.me)
28 points by llambda on Mar 1, 2012 | hide | past | web | favorite | 7 comments

I've taken a speed reading course through Groupon (Iris) and it has increased the amount of books I consume by 100x. Good for Amazon. :)

Speed reading might be broken into two parts. There's the part where you train your brain+eyes to consume more words faster (stop vocalizing words, better peripheral vision, etc.)

But the most important part for me isn't what people typically think of when you hear "speed reading".

It's better skim reading.

The technique I learned was read each chapter 3 times...

Start your chapter. Read the first paragraph or two at your normal reading pace. Get a handle on what the chapter is going to be about. Then, skip to the last paragraph of that chapter. Consume it at your normal reading pace. Go back to the beginning of the chapter and read the first sentence of each paragraph in the chapter at your normal reading pace. Now, you have a great outline in your head on what this chapter is about. Now go back through it a third time, and speed read the crap out of it :) Try and read it as fast as you can. Because of the first 2 reads you'll have much better control on what paragraphs can be skipped, which need a little attention, and which need to be memorized.

It's not perfect, and you probably wouldn't read your best fiction this way, but it's helped me a ton.

To me... Reading any fiction at all like this, seems ridiculous. I'm not reading stories with the intention of learning the plot as quickly as possible.. Or else I'd just look up a summary online.

I gave up on speed reading because I didn't see the point. My reading of most technical texts is more limited by the speed of my understanding than my actual reading speed.

Am I looking at it the wrong way? Is it actually a skill I should try and master?

similar reaction here. I just don't see the merit in reading fiction, even less in speed reading it, if it's not for your own entertainment. I figure a lot of people feel like there's some sort of intrinsic, intellectual merit to the act of reading, no matter what (as long as there aren't a lot of pictures...), but i believe this stems from a time where reading fluently was a skill not so widely distributed as it is today.

I agree that speed reading is not ideal for reading fiction. I think speed reading is especially great for skimming through articles online.

I'm reminded of a Woody Allen quote: "I took a speed reading course and read 'War and Peace' in twenty minutes. It involves Russia."

One of my best investments/buys last year was an Audible platinum membership - basically buying 24 credits/audiobooks for roughly $9 each. Especially since a credit gets you even brand new books, irrespective of length, it's an insane value - almost like getting CDs for $3 or new video games for $10. I was never into audiobooks when they required lugging CD cases around but with Audible's iPhone app, they're actually the most convenient book form, since you can even "read" while driving, walking, doing housework, etc.

my experience with audio books have not been enjoyable. My speed of reading is much faster the narrator's which leaves me a little impatient. and books of depth require your complete attention, in which case it easier to sit down and focus on them ( so no parallel house work..)

One possible solution (which I have used and like) is to play the audio book back at increased speed. iDevices have this feature for anything properly tagged as an audiobook; Android has options too.

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