Productivity Hack: Speed Reading

“Leaders are readers,” says Jim Kwik, the author of Limitless. I totally agree. I like reading about the lives of successful people. And one thing I find they all have in common is that they are avid readers. Some are unbelievable readers, in fact. According to a Netflix documentary, Bill Gates reads around fifteen books a week! Crazy! And very inspiring at the same time:)

I also remember that when I was doing my exchange program in Japan and living with a host family, the father of the family would always put five new books on the table on Monday mornings. Well, he used to commute on the train for 2 hours every day, so he always managed to dedicate that time to reading.

Now, most of us think that we do not have much time to dedicate to books. While that may be true, I think reading at least a book a week should be manageable for anyone. It requires organizing our priorities, but it is totally doable. I’ve mentioned a couple of times about the fantastic app Blinkist, which helps people get into the habit of reading more. Even if it consists of reading book summaries.

I also think that those super readers, such as Bill Gates, or the father of the Japanese host family I stayed with, use some other tricks to read huge volumes of information. And I think it is called speed reading:) So, why do we need speed reading?

If you are a regular reader like me, you may have noticed that you subvocalize every word on a page that you are reading. Subvocalizing has the same speed as talking. So, if you can say 100 words per minute, that means you can read around 100 words in a minute. Experts think that the habit of subvocalization slows us down. One method Jim Kwik suggests is to count “1, 2, 3….” while you are reading to silence subvocalization.

I’ve just started this technique, and I am surprised to find out I can retain what I read. Because usually, if I start daydreaming when I’m reading, I do not retain any information at all:) I don’t know why counting has a different effect. Does counting speed up my reading? Not yet. I think I need to practice this for a couple more weeks to see the results.

What are your tips for speed reading?

Dear Reader, did you find this article useful? If yes, I’d really appreciate it if you could share the link with your network. Thank you:)

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