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In so far as I have had "success" with speed reading it has been to force myself to run over the words more quickly and so interpret the commonly seen structures as single units. This means that if a piece is written in a very formulaic style then I can get through it fast because most of the stock sentences read like single words with only the unique modifiers jumping out of the page.

Think about when you look at code and automatically chunk the bits you have seen a million times before but are somehow magically able pick out the needle in the haystack which tells you what is special in this instance. The layout of code helps enormously for us, but I find the effect is the same with reading if I go quickly and with specific purpose to reformulate the information as it is scanned. And the more you do it the better you get because you have more data to draw from when identifying structures. It gets to the point where often I want an author to be formulaic rather than stylish and idiosyncratic because it makes it much quicker to reorganise and internalise.




> Think about when you look at code and automatically chunk the bits you have seen a million times before but are somehow magically able pick out the needle in the haystack which tells you what is special in this instance.

I guess the real solution is to use a denser language?


> It gets to the point where often I want an author to be formulaic rather than stylish and idiosyncratic because it makes it much quicker to reorganise and internalise.

Hence legalese, and bureaucratese, and any number of other things that get laughed at and railed against in equal measure.


Excellent point. I rarely think of those as standardised structural conventions for clearly and efficiently conveying meaning to those acquainted with the terms and, to my shame, usually write them off as obfuscating functions to mislead or confuse. Not so!




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