The summary’s summary of “10 Days to Faster Reading”

Do you have a to-read list of books with more than 50 of them? Would you like to have more time to read?

A picture by Clem Onojeghuo

Like I mentioned in an earlier article, I’m using Blinkist to read books faster. Way faster. But still, I need to read some books that are not in Blinkist, and I also have to read articles. I’m sure you do to. And I’m pretty sure you would like to read faster too.

So I read the Blinks for “10 Days to Faster Reading”, and I got some nice tips. And both as a reminder for my own future self, and to give you some insights on the book, here are my summary of the summary (or at least some notes).

NB: I edited the summary below on the 26th, December, to make it more useful.


First, double-check what and why you are reading. To help with this, ask yourself these 2 questions:

  • Why am I reading this?
  • Why do I need this information?

If the reading is confirmed, start by “pre-viewing” the content. In average, 40% of the information is obtained and memorized after this first overview.

Another way of speeding your reading is to fix some bad habits most of us have while reading.

Be more focused

Transform passive day-dreaming (i.e. thinking to something else, randomly) that may occur while reading, into active day-dreaming, where you connect your readings to related thoughts. This works as glue between ideas and will help you memorizing.

Being focused may be tiring, so do not hesitate to use the Pomodoro-rhythm for reading too (25 minutes reading, 5 minutes resting).

Beware of regressing

Be conscious about your regressions (going back a few lines), and only regress if you need it for understanding. A simple tip to help with that is simply to do like your were a child: use a pen or you finger to follow your reading cursor.

Do not subvocalize

Subvocalizing (speaking the words in your head while you read) is drastically reducing your reading rhythm: about 150 words per minute, while without subvocalizing, you may reach about 400.

But stopping subvocalizing may be hard, so here are a few tips:

  • Only read the 60% at the center of the text, ignore the 20% left and 20% right. Your peripheral vision will fill the gaps and keep the text understandable. (Bonus tip: train your peripheral vision by glancing at phrases and trying to repeat them.)
  • Focus your gaze at the white space between two lines. You will still be able to understand the text but this should increase your scrolling speed and help with reducing subvocalizing.
  • Focus on keywords and do not subvocalize the words that do not carry meaning (like pronouns).

Other advices

Reading smart is also memorizing. For every worth reading, you should try and write notes, highlight parts of the book, or just like this article, write your own short summary. This is a necessary process for long-term storage (and it’s a good way to retrieve the information later if you forgot!).

Conclusion

The Blinkist already contains nice tips to get you started with increasing your reading speed. Shall you need more, have a look at the book and tell me if it’s worth it!

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