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Discussion on: How to read more in less time?

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Eden Jose • Edited

There's reading to cover as many topics as possible, then there's reading to understand. For sure there are speed readers that can do both kinds of reading simultaneously, but that isn't usually the case.

I tend to read slowly to understand something, but if a particular section is something I've read from another article or book, I tend to breeze through it.

Like for example, self-development books tend to reference similar stories and concepts like the 10,000 hours rule or the power of grit and resilience. Since I've gone through Malcolm Gladwell's Outlier book (where the 10,000 rule was popularized), when I read about the 10,000 rule again on another book, I feel I've got a grasp on what that is so I just breeze through that section.

Also, there's actual techniques for speed reading which I've read somewhere, and I think those techniques deserved to be mentioned here as well:

  1. Time is an important factor. You're at your fastest on reading during your wakeup time or when you just had you early morning coffee. If you take advantage the huge amount of willpower you have in the morning to practice fast-pace reading, then you'll surely develop a habit of it.

  2. When reading sentences or paragraphs, put your pointing finger under the word then read the words as your finger moves through it. Eventually your finger will move faster and you'll improve on reading faster.

  3. Another technique is to utilize your peripheral view. I've read somewhere (and tried to practice it myself) where a single line should be able to fit or viewed by your 120-degree vision. This one I'd let you do the research because I'm a bit fuzzy on how this is done. :D

  4. Now if you've improved on reading faster, the next challenge is to actually maintain it for longer periods. Remember that reading faster still takes up willpower even though you've developed a habit of it. Personally, I can keep up a quick pace for 30 mins, but after the 30 mins, my pace tends to slow down, then after 1 hour, I tend to re-read sentences. But of course, this is just for my case.

I do agree on your #1 and #5. Checking the back of a book for the summary or simply checking youtube for reviews of the book usually saves time. If its recommended by a lot then it's something I might consider reading. Of course I'll also check what are the negative reviews.

As for #5. I believe this falls under the 2nd type of reading I mentioned at the beginning: reading to understand. I don't think is helpful if you'd like to read more with less time since doing a write-up of what you just read would requires you to sit down, open a Word, notepad, or simple write on a paper what your understanding of the subject matter is. BUT it is definitely a way to measure if you've understand what you read. As what I always tell myself, if I can tell the concept in my own words and explain it to other people in a way they can understand, then I definitely understood the subject.

Now, what I mentioned are general tips, but I would say it's helpful if you're going through books of any kind. If it's for technical stuff and documentation, simply covering more with less time isn't enough as you need to practice and apply it, make mistakes, and then fix it by going through the documentation again. :)

Anyway, that's my two cents! :)