Recommended Speed Reading Books?

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24 June, 2012 - 08:02
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thealchemist wrote:

I tried almost all speedreading programs out there including PhotoReading, Howard Berg's program, etc. and gave them at least 6 months each of testing. But after a couple of years, I decided to quit.

Too bad that you quit. I tried all programs too (except PhotoReading) and they seem to work for me.

My reading speed went from 200 wpm to about 1000 wpm. Mind you, my reading speed depends on familiarity with the material, sleep and a lot of other things

thealchemist wrote:

There's a lot of factors when it comes to reading speed and comprehension, which makes it difficult for speedreading programs to work for a lot of people. Here are some factors:
1) Your knowledge base
2) Sleep
3) Focus
4) Eye control
5) Sentence construction
6) Having English as a Second Language - I even talked over the phone with Howard Berg and I explained how his program might not work with people who don't have English as their native language. He said that it can be done through practice.
7) Slower construction of mental images that go along with the words
8) And many more.

English is my second language. Dutch is my native language. However, 95% of all texts I read are in English.
I read over one book of English text per week.

I agree with your list and I also agree with Howard Berg, who in your point 6 says that it can be done.
In any case I am living proof that it could be done.

thealchemist wrote:

As for PhotoReading, I'm skeptical about the hypnosis part of it that gives you a little bit of overconfidence that you can read and retain the material quickly. Yes this program has a lot of expert testimonials, but it's unknown whether it really works/ed for them. These experts are indeed successful, but correlation does not imply causation.

I am also skeptical about PhotoReading. I have the book here at home, but never had any success with it.
To be honest, I never gave it a serious try for lack of believe in the system.

thealchemist wrote:

I might wait for a couple of years more and see if they will develop a scientific-based method that will increase our reading speed and comprehension. Also, I'm sticking to my normal reading speed after seeing a study on the internet wherein they say that your retention of a material increases if you read it with your eyes and hear it at the same time (subvocalization).

There is a way for everybody on this forum to reach a higher reading speed.
I recommend 2 websites with programs to help you reach a higher reading speed.
One is http://www.zapreader.com the other http://www.spreeder.com.

What I do is copy/paste a text I want to read into the box and read this at my highest reading speed and maximum chunk size (is amoutn of words to display at the same time).

Then, I double this speed and read the text again. Since I just read the text at my highest speed, I know what the text is about. So even though I miss a lot of words on reading with double speed, I still get the gist of the text.

Then, I triple my speed and read the text again. Now most of the text goes by too fast, but I still try to hang on as much as possible. this will get your brain accustomed to higher reading speeds.

Then I read the text again. Usually I find that my reading speed has improved.
With zapreader one can use the keyboard to move the speed up and down.
This is handy for seeing where one's maximum speed is.
I guesstimate my highest speed and go up or down until I find a speed that gives me maximum comprehension.

Here is some basic background info if one wants to get into this:
http://artofmanliness.com/2009/10/18/how-to-speed-read-like-theodore-roo...
http://ezinearticles.com/?Why-Eliminating-These-3-Habits-Can-Improve-You...

24 June, 2012 - 09:38
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Long, rambling rant ahead. Be warned.

Has anyone done a double-blind experiment on the subject of speed reading?

Someone mentioned how speedreading helped with "Sway." a book that was similar to Freakonomics. I don't want to sound high-handed here, but Freakonomics isn't really a particularly tough read, and it had some significant flaws (google). Sway, as well, is criticized, mainly for being a regurgitation of things other books had already said. I found a very telling bit on the amazon.com page. "One of the psychological forces you’ll read about in Sway is our tendency to place a higher value on opinions from people in positions of prominence, power, or authority."

No. You'll be reminded of it. Stanley Milgram covered the whole thing almost 50 years ago (google). There was actually a fairly good movie made about it (with William Shatner, if I recall correctly). Milgram's experiments have been reported widely. Not only did he cover the authority-has-power-over-us angle, it's been an understood phenomenon for centuries. Milgram wasn't trying to confirm what everyone already knew -- that if you give someone a uniform, they start to take charge -- he was trying to understand the mechanisms that caused that to occur. Con men have used the same appeal-to-authority ruse for centuries (google the dropped wallet scam). How unexposed to the world would one have to be to not figure this out on one's own?

Publishing works by the same principle as most businesses: bring in the bucks. A couple weeks ago, Robert Caro finished the latest installment on his series of books on Lyndon Baines Johnson. He's been writing it since 1982, and it's up to about 3,000 pages. And for all the literate gruntings and posturings, a very small number of people will buy the latest book. Those who do, and who actually read it, will take weeks probably to get through it. Caro's work contains many names, places, events, AND the interconnections between those names, places, and events.

A publishing industry based on works such as Caro's would go bankrupt. There simply are not enough people willing to expend the amount of time and intellectual effort necessary to read such a book. Yes, all the publishers would LIKE to publish stuff like Caro's. Long, thoughtful, well-researched books about the world we all live in, but they are businessmen and realize that the staff has to get paid and the lights have to stay on.

So out comes Freakonomics, Sway, Who Moved My Cheese?, Chicken Soup for the Soup Nazi Soul, and so forth because they can be cranked out with ease. The editors of these books need no depth of knowledge. The factcheckers (if there were any) are probably fresh out of college, with two years of experience, and have not had a chance to learn any of the deeper ways of spotting flaws. But that's okay because no one legitimately thinks these books are deserving of better treatment. People read them, feel good about themselves because they read a book, and, because it was so easy to read the book, come back for another. It's the same business model that made McDonald's a global power: the food requires no effort, it activates the pleasure centers of the brain, it's cheap, so you can have a lot of it, and you can stop there every day.

And the people in publishing know this. They crank out shlock, and the occasional great book, because no other model would enable them to continue to make a living. And, regardless of how full-of-moral-indignation publishers get, that's what they're in it for: continuing to get a pay check. They want to make a living, and the way to do that is to keep the shelves full of simple, easy-to-read, flawed-logic books that the masses can read and smirk to themselves about. The people who produce these speed reading programs are the same. They aren't going to one day stand there and say, "Yeah, you caught us. This junk doesn't work. But people THINK it works, and who are we to tell them it isn't so? Do you think I want to go back to selling double-paned windows?"

Until some double-blind experiments are conducted, I'm sticking to Carl Sagan's maxim about extraordinary claims requiring extraordinary evidence. Let's have these speed readers assemble. Some appropriately arcane and dense books can be assembled, and we can start getting some hard data.

24 June, 2012 - 15:44
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Alex wrote:

Long, rambling rant ahead. Be warned.

Thanks for the warning.

Alex wrote:

Has anyone done a double-blind experiment on the subject of speed reading?

Don't know.

Alex wrote:

Until some double-blind experiments are conducted, I'm sticking to Carl Sagan's maxim about extraordinary claims requiring extraordinary evidence.

This is true - extraordinary claims requiring extraordinary evidence.
As much as I know that claims exist of 10,000 - 25,000 wpm, even 2,000,000 wpm (sic - here: http://www.selfgrowth.com/articles/panzo1.html ), I consider such outrageous claims bulls**t.

My maximum speed is a 1,000 wpm on a sunny day when I am rested and I am fairly familiar with the subject.
I usually read slower though.

Having said that, I would love to break my personal speed barrier!

5 August, 2012 - 15:53
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did anyone ever see paul mckenna do the photoreading i never found anything but the reference in the photoreading
also hypnosis will may you relaxed this make you stay in the alpha wave.also thing like steping into the character like a suit of clothes can drasticaly change a learning curve because you are really analyzing what they do so musicians play the scale or pianist play the scale and lets say three notes at a time descending the scale in different ways then using two notes and so on and keep going to lower octaves (this is just to show you could build dexterity and some lite skill quickly without any lessons maybe google to seem brilliant for a few seconds in maybe a day. you could even accidently sound out the scale like i did because you play the notes and hear a weird sound that doesn't fit in.like how tom delounge makes riffs using a changing bass note.but he is still a great guitarist because he is original and does other cool things on guitar) also the extreme boost of confidence helps.there is a link to something similar on this site by dale.

http://www.nsf.gov/news/news_summ.jsp?cntn_id=122523&org=NSF&preview=false
this is really the same thing in my opinion but with some feedback.again if i'm wrong please tell me so i'll know

23 September, 2012 - 16:06
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I just left a contrasting rant on the Speed Reading thread. Perhaps our great admin could forge a link for us.

I'm also tired of books which turn out to be magazine articles in hard cover. That's what the library is for. Nothing new in publishing or anywhere else for that matter.

My last blurb was about my experience in the EW speed reading classes I took in the 70s. They were terrific. The only comment I could offer is that you would have to have the two readers compete after one practiced the speed reading technique of their choice while the other just read every day. Even then the double-blind experiments would be one of apples against round red fruit.

EW was great at speeding up your ability to read. But then the text still mattered. If it was fiction or light stuff you'd fly along. Real math texts (my current area for 30+ years) cannot generally be read with such speed. Though I did speed read my diffey que book and loved the class.

P

23 September, 2012 - 23:46
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Here's the other, related thread: Does Speed-reading Work?

30 September, 2012 - 02:05
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Hi,

I find useful this app: http://www.heku-it.com/reading-trainer/

Rapid recognition of numbers, letters and words
Flexible eye movements
Improved ability to concentrate
Increased vision span

3 October, 2012 - 14:17
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The app looks interesting. I added it to the wiki page on Speed Reading.

9 October, 2012 - 10:27
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Hi

Guys, these are great resources you listed. I will spend the whole evening reading it. Has anybody actually used any of the courses? any success? What is you speed of reading after the course? How many days, weeks or months did it take you to master it?

Regards
Mike

9 October, 2012 - 13:11
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Hi Mike,

Which courses do you mean?

I just learned it from the books I wrote about.
Most books contain the same info though and are based on the Evelyn Wood system.

9 October, 2012 - 14:24
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I am asking because I went on the course some time ago but I did not see any results.. To be fair I did not practise much but what I practise I could not remember later on so I gave up after a while.

So how fast can you rad?
Are you actually understand what you are reading/
Are you reading fiction or non fiction fast
Do you remember anything from non fiction?

regards
Mike

13 October, 2012 - 09:55
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Mikeproject2009 wrote:

So how fast can you rad?

My current limit is 1000 wpm. Keep in mind that this is with familiar material, when I am rested and with bright light. I test this on a computer using Spreeder.com or Zapreader.com.

Mikeproject2009 wrote:

Are you actually understand what you are reading/

Yes. If not, I slow down.

Mikeproject2009 wrote:

Are you reading fiction or non fiction fast

Only non fiction. Usually books about psychology, self-help and similar stuff.

Mikeproject2009 wrote:

Do you remember anything from non fiction?

Yes. I read books because i actually want to learn the contents.

I you are interested in computer aided speed reading, start here:
http://lifehacker.com/194332/improve-your-reading-speed-with-zap-reader

If you want to train, here is what I do.
I read a text at maximum speed, then read it again (a couple of times) with double the last speed, then triple (also a couple of times).
Then I read the original text again and find that my maximum speed has increased.

I don't always read at 1000 wpm. It is my maximum, and I cannot find ways to go much faster without decreasing my comprehension. If anybody has suggestions, I would love to hear them.

13 November, 2012 - 00:42
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Hi Kinma,
Are you able to read actual paper books (not on the computer) at that speed?
I find that when I use zap/spreeder I can read much quicker, but for some reason that method of grouping and pacing doesn't carry over well to paper books.
I have read quite a bit about speed reading and tried all the techniques and exercises, but when it comes down to it I usually find myself taking my time to make sure I don't miss anything.

9 December, 2012 - 05:24
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Hi Jontsef,

Yes, I can. Try to break through your comfort zone.
Read a page, then read that same page with double speed, then with triple speed, then read the next page at your highest speed.
You will find that your speed has gone up.

7 May, 2013 - 23:01
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hey can anyone suggest a nice book for memory palace...

12 May, 2013 - 16:43
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red wrote:

hey can anyone suggest a nice book for memory palace...

Quantum Memory Power by Dominic O'Brien is good. Also check out the Memory Techniques Wiki and the search box at the top of each forum page. :)

13 May, 2013 - 02:01
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red wrote:

hey can anyone suggest a nice book for memory palace...

I was thinking about this recently as I want to get back into memory training, and I thought that maps would be useful.

I was thinking in particular of 3d style 2d maps. So a "normal" paper map but with some of the important buildings drawn as in 3d.

From here I'd make a journey around the map and have each of the important buildings / landmarks as a point (or points) on the journey.

20 May, 2013 - 09:50
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Dont waste your time on any books...imho just buy either EYEQ program or another great one by EREFLECT.
Its what took me from around 375 to 4200wpm at my peak (easy to read/non-techinical) after 6 months.
Its all about pushing your eyes taking in larger and larger chunks of info by working on your peripherals and also finding a pattern that works for you the best. Dont worry about the technicals, just focus on pushing faster and faster and you'll automatically find your own rhythm.

Photoreading is the biggest pile of dog**** . In fact, that stupid informerical i've seen on youtube should be used as a sat. night live skit..lol.

20 May, 2013 - 10:27
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This is a long comment, so strap yourself in.

First, I'll recommend a book (very short, about 32 pp.). The book is called "Reading for Survival." In the book, the author (John D. MacDonald) has two of his best-known characters discuss the role of reading in civilization. JDM, in several other locations in his books, discusses reading and learning in general. He talks about the 1960s premise of racing through college as rapidly as possible so that the students come away without feeling that they've "wasted" time in college. JDM's character, Travis McGee, observes that the point of college IS to "waste" time. To spend hours contemplating the big, hairy questions of existence.

Second, I'll recommend a technique called syncretic reading, which is just a fancy way of saying, "read a bunch of books on the same topic simultaneously." That doesn't mean one-after-another. That means you read chapter one of the first book, then the first two chapters of the second book. The third book doesn't start as far back, so you don't cover anything on that one yet. Then you go back to the first book, read the next bit, etc. The premise is that you expose your mind to the same event from multiple points of view, as they occur: a split-screen with "he said" on this side, and "she said" on the other.

Third, I'll bring up Jack LaLanne. LaLanne's "revolutionary" idea? Stop eating crap, get a little exercise. He had housewives using chairs and brooms for ersatz gym equipment at home. You didn't need to work yourself into a lather, just get a little activity in there each day. Now, seriously, how many of us "read" a book like Mortimer Adler coaches in "How to Read a Book"? More to the point, how many books are now written for that level of preliminary analysis? Most of us -- and I include myself in that -- go through a book like opening a pudding cup. Peel back the cover and dig in. There are VERY, VERY few genuinely informative books out there. Mortimer Adler covers this in great detail in "How to Read a Book."

Fourth, I'm just going to say it and be done: speed reading is right up there with facilitated communication, the ideomotor effect, and the Forer effect. It is a type of pseudo-science exploited by either the ignorant or the deliberately scheming to trick people out of money.

Now. I mix it all together to make the thesis statement: The purpose of learning (the end result of reading) is to actively and for as long as possible incorporate the concepts introduced into your conscious awareness. This is NOT accomplished with short cuts. Nor is it accomplished by quantity. Racing through college, speed-reading a million words a day, packing your brain with facts. Am I the only one who watches these television programs on compulsive hoarders?

Every book you read (with some very small areas of exception, such as math or chemistry) contains assertions and opinions that are wrong or imprecise. I swear to God, that's not a plot on anyone's part; it's just the publishing industry. Barbara Tuchman made a two-day mistake in "Guns of August" about the timeline of Russia's involvement in WWI. Does it mean the woman's completely wrong on everything? No. But she isn't infallible.

Learning, as MacDonald mentions, is a necessary component of survival, just like eating. What's the first thing you learn in a kitchen? Don't run. Don't hurry. Don't look away from the knife. There are reasons, very good ones, for why the best things that come out of a kitchen take time. You want shortcuts? Go ahead, shove that frozen tray of processed junk into the microwave. It'll be the temperature of molten lead in under five minutes and you can wolf it down straightaway so you can get back to racing through what will still be a trivially minute percentage of human knowledge by the time you're done.

Slow down. Paraphrase the Shakers: read each book as though today was your last day on Earth, and as though you had all the time in the world to finish.

I'm not trying to sound like Grumpy Old Man, but I've worked in the corporate world for 20-odd years, and the biggest, absolutely most misery-inducing thing is when someone comes along with the whiz-bang newest solution to "inefficiency." Whether it's the bullshit of Six Sigma or "Who Moved My Cheese?" or the nonsense of forbidding anyone to say there's a "problem" (it's a "challenge" or an "opportunity"), a whole lot of people continue to insist that the new way is great and the old way is crap. Sometimes, that's true. But usually, it's because the person who's telling you the new way is better has a couple thousand bottles of "new way" in a warehouse somewhere.

And I'm stepping off my soapbox.

9 October, 2013 - 16:32
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From my point of view .... speed reading works as long as you get confident about it . When you read and understand what you read , you get confident .
For example .... if you buy yourself a new car , you give it all the attention you have that day . Your mind is captured by that car , you can't think of anything else that day . But after 2 weeks , you may be interested in something else . Your car's value has dropped in your eyes , you are maybe even bored by it . That effect is also true with text . If you read something very slow for the first time ... it has some sort of energy to it . If you read only like this .... it won't get you very far , because you will get bored . You need to change the pace sometimes . To force yourself to do something new . I study German ... and I found out for example , that if I change the pace of the clip , I make much faster progress . Much much faster , because my mind will be connected to that new thing, it won't wander off . So Kinma is right . And I think , going very slow has advantages as speed reading . Photoreading also has it's advantages , but the advantages are more subtle . As long as you get confident when doing something ... it will have a positive effect on you .

13 February, 2015 - 11:12
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My recommendation is

Reading with the right brain by David Butler

Based on theories provided in Drawing with the right brain by Betty Edwards, which is available at archive.org. Drawing with the Right Brain is taught all over the country to multiple corporations searching for new techniques to improve their decision making and creative processes.

Mr. Butler attempts to convince the reader that improving reading relies entirely on two things,
1) activating the right side of the brain (which has also been identified as the diffuse thinking system by Barbara Oakley, and system 2 by Daniel Kahneman).
2) improving comprehension (accomplished mainly through creating a mental movie, similar to Ramon Campayo's technique)

the book is the best I have seen on this topic, and offers the first 1000 words of many books to practice on.

Learn memory techniques for free! Just click the "Sign up" button below to create an account and we'll send you an email with some tips on how to get started.

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