Monday, April 20, 2020

A Simple Tip on How to Read Faster

One of the things I want to do this year is to learn to read faster. I’m a slow reader, therefore, I can’t finish as many books as I’d like to. Many successful people, however, are fast readers. Warren Buffett once said that it’s a huge advantage to be able to read fast.
I’m not going to give you detailed tips on it (Breakthrough Rapid Reading is a good book for that), but I’d like to give you one simple tip that I have found useful.
It uses something called “no-stakes practice” that Tim Ferriss mentioned in an interview. In essence, it means that in order to be good at a technique, you should practice it in a pressure-free environment. For instance, if you want to learn how to shoot in basketball, you should practice it alone when there is no fear of embarrassment from other people. That way you can focus on your technique until it becomes good.
Applied to reading skills, it means that you should practice the skills in a way that is pressure-free. What is the pressure? Well, you might have a different opinion, but for me the pressure is the need to comprehend the material. That’s the case when I read a book or article that contains ideas I can’t afford to lose.
Consequently, the first step is to find non-essential materials to practice on. The materials that fall under this category are different for everyone. In my case, I have articles that I use for this purpose. The articles fall under the “nice to know but not essential” category. Therefore, I can afford to miss the ideas.
The next step after finding the materials is to use your finger as a pacer. Move your finger throughout the text and follow it with your eyes. Since your goal is to increase your reading speed, you should move your finger faster than your normal reading speed. This technique is useful to eliminate (or at least reduce) sub-vocalization, which is an obstacle to faster reading.
Combining the two parts above, here is a tip on how to read faster: 
Find non-essential reading materials to practice finger pacing on.
I’ve tried this technique for some time now and it works. It trains my mind to comprehend the text at a faster rate without the fear of missing an important idea. I can later use my improved reading skill on “real” reading materials.
What do you think? Do you have a suggestion on how to read faster? Feel free to share it in the comments.
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