Is your "to read" backlog longer than 100 books? Is there more books than you can read in one year? Mine too!
Solution? Pick top 20, and remove the rest?
That's one way to go, but there is also another one: speed reading.
I decided to learn a little about speed reading in order to get to some books that I'm curious about, but...not enough to devote a month of reading for them. There are some books I just want to just know what's in there.
Speed reading is also useful for articles. How many times your friends send you things that take 20 minutes to read, and then you are like "meh...I wish I spent this time by going for a walk"?
How many times you decided that you want to read something because you are very interested in particular topic? How many times you ended up in reading it, and concluding: "if I could go back in time I wouldn't read it" or "content was not what I was expecting"? How many times you read something and you think: "Yeah, it's good, but it can be summarized in 1 paragraph"?
Resources to get started
Here is a list of good resources I went through to get familiar with speed reading:
- Book: Speed Reading: The Comprehensive Guide To Speed Reading - good quick read, 100 pager overview of speed reading
- I Was Wrong About Speed Reading: Here are the Facts - good overview of speed reading, and useful tips
- Skim Before You Read
- Improve Your Fluency to Improve Your Speed
- know what you’re trying to get out of a text before you read it
- highlight things you want to remember
- How To Double Your Reading Speed
- Read Classics In The Morning
- Have An End Goal In Mind
- Read The Right Books (classics, how-to, biographies)
- Trick Your Brain To Think Of Reading Like Working Out
- Nap After Reading To Retain Memory
- Skimming And Scanning: Two Important Strategies For Speeding Up Your Reading - this article talks about two essential techniques of speed reading: scanning and skimming
- Free Speed Reading Video Course (~45 min)
- Speed Reading by Nathan Kontny - tl;dr - skimming is the key
- Scientific Speed Reading: How to Read 300% Faster in 20 Minutes (Tim Ferris) - very structured approach to learn how to quick read
- [FREE] Free Speed Reading Fundamentals Course - my results:
- First test: 339 (1m)
- Second test: 581+187 (2m)
- Third: 581+180 (1m30s)
- Text2: 269 (1m)
- How to speed read by Tim Ferris
- focus on reading middle of each line - ignore 1 inch of beginning and 1 inch of end of the line (watch video for details)
- use pointer (finger or pen) to follow
- fast read as exercise, then read in normal speed - this should increase reading speed!
When I see something that interests me I do not read it from back to back anymore. I skim first, and if it's good I read it more carefully, or do another, more comprehensive skim. If it's a book, I read table of contents first.
Sometimes I also read summary at wikisummaries, fourminutebooks or blinkist.
Another heuristic that helps me to make a decision about reading books is to check GoodReads score. If it's above 4 then it's promising. Around 4.5 usually end up being very good, worth reading back to back.
For storytelling books, like biographies, I usually pick up an audiobook on Libby or Audible. Then I listen to it while making breakfast or home errands.
For articles, I usually start with summary/conclusion. Many times that's where I stop...
It's all about skimming.
If you want to read fast: skim the words, read first sentence of every paragraph, or even just headers or book/article.
Faster reading = worse comprehension. The art of speed reading is to find the sweet spot of how much comprehension you are willing to sacrifice for speed of reading.