Practical book on faster readingΒΆ

Tags: personal, books

I like to read, so naturally faster reading sounds attractive to me. I always have a number of yet-unread books. I bough a book about speed reading once and came away severly unimpressed: you got a set of fixed prescriptions for faster reading. And some of them just weren't handy.

Hurray, I've now found a faster reading book that works. Abby Marks Beale's 10 Days to Faster Reading. Divided into 10 chapters, every chapter:

  • Tests your reading speed with a short exercize. You can track your progress this way. I progressed from some 350 words per minute to 600.
  • Gives a new "pointer". "Pointer" being a guidance system for your eye. Where the original book I read only prescribed one, this book acknowledges that there are multiple strategies that could work in different situations and for different persons. I've got three that I use regularly.
    • My favourite: put a finger in the right hand margin of the text, just a bit below the line you're currently reading. Slowly move it downward while reading the text. I get both a bit of rythm from this and my eye has a handy "hit point" in the right margin. (Describing it is hard).
    • Business card above (definitively NOT below!) the line you're reading. Move it down slowly. This technique makes it harder for me to jump back a line to re-read something. That's exactly the number one point that slows me down!
    • Finger in the middle of a narrow newspaper column. If you've practiced enough and if the column is narrow enough, you can spot the whole line as one chunk of text. No more horizontal eye movement. Something I need to be well-rested for. It sometimes helps me a lot in flying through a newspaper.
  • Discusses the theory of faster reading. You get background on why things work and on why certain reading strategies are (counter)productive. Every chapter also aims at different types of reading material: you might need to adapt your style to what you're reading.

One closing comment: this is about "normal" faster reading, not about "diagonal reading" or so in which certain people apparently can go through a book with only 4 seconds per page or so. No: this book is highly practical and applicable. Strongly recommended! logo

About me

My name is Reinout van Rees and I work a lot with Python (programming language) and Django (website framework). I live in The Netherlands and I'm happily married to Annie van Rees-Kooiman.

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