Subtitles section Play video Print subtitles - Hey friend, welcome back to the channel. Let's talk about reading today, and specifically how and why to read faster. So we'll talk about why being able to read faster is a useful skill to have in your pocket. And then I'll share (bubbling) five tips that I've found really helpful for increasing my own reading speed so that I can absorb more stuff from the books that I read. So why bother reading fast? Like isn't reading supposed to be one of those things that you take it slow, you enjoy the process, and you gain a lot of insight from the book? I think that's sometimes true, but it's not always. And I kind of think of it like riding a bike. So it's like sometimes when you're riding a bike, you wanna really enjoy the journey and you wanna smell the roses along the way. So you wanna go at like three miles per hour so you can breathe it all in. But sometimes when you're riding a bike, your objective is to get from A to B. And let's say you're running late for work, for your lectures. You actually don't really care about smelling the roses on the way there. You just wanna get there as quickly as possible. And I think of reading in the same way. Like if a book is really good, then I will read it slowly and take my time, and take loads of notes throughout, and like smell the roses on the way there. But the problem is that most books and most non-fiction books these days tend to be like big idea books where it's like one central idea. And then the rest of the 400 pages of the book is just example after example after example kind of bashing you over the head with examples to explain that one idea, which you got from the introduction or from the first few chapters. And so in those cases, if I've got the main idea from the book or if it's just not capturing my interest very much, often I would just blitz through the rest of the book. Yes, you could say that once you've got the main idea, then you might as well just abandoned the book. And in general, I'm a very big fan of treating books less like hallowed objects and more like blog posts, which is like, if you get halfway through a book or even 20% of the way through a book and it's not capturing your attention anymore, then it's fine, it's okay to abandon it. But even though theoretically I believe that, and I will fully subscribe to that mindset, in real life I often get a feeling of FOMO that I'm missing out on like some gold dust that might be sprinkled in the book maybe halfway through or maybe three quarters of the way through. And so in general, even if I've got the main idea from a book, I will prefer to just kind of blitz read it very, very fast rather than abandon it completely. So reading faster helps with that. But if you know how to read faster, then your own default reading speed just improves without sacrificing any comprehension. And so for me now, it's actually reduced the time and emotional investment needed to read a book. Like if someone recommends a book to me, I know it's not gonna take me six months to read the book. I know it will take me a few hours to read the book because I can read pretty fast if I want to. And therefore, I'm far more likely to pick up the book that someone recommends and read it. And I've discovered so many good books and so many average books through that recommendation process. So that's why reading faster can sometimes be helpful. I'm not saying you should do it all the time. I'm not saying you should speed read like a proclivity grease monkey. I'm saying it is a useful skill to have in your pocket for when you need it. All right, so tip number one for reading faster is to try and reduce subvocalization. And subvocalization is what it is when we're sort of, we've got that voice in our heads that is reading as we go along. This is controversial. Like if you look at the evidence behind speed reading and ways to improve your reading speed, there are some people that say that subvocalization is legit. There are some people say that it's not legit. I am not commenting on the evidence here. I'm commenting anecdotally, and anecdotally I know that for me, when I'm reading faster, I read visually. Like I see the words and I don't sound them out in my head. Whereas when I'm reading slowly, or I'm really enjoying a book, or if I'm really savoring it, or if it's a very difficult topic, then I'll be doing the subvocalizing in my head. I'll be reading in my head as I go along. That obviously means that I read more slowly, but it does increase my comprehension. Anecdotally as well, when slow readers ask me how I read fast, and I tell them the subvocalization thing, it blows their minds because they just think that that is just how you have to read. You have to read by having this voice going along in your head. In my opinion and in my experience, you can reduce that amount to increase your speed of reading. There is some evidence about this. Like there was some studies where they do functional MRI scanning of people's brains, and they have fast readers and slow readers. And the fast readers have less activation in the bits of the brain that are responsible for speech. And that may be some evidence that reducing subvocalization is actually legit. But whatever the evidence says, I think that if you wanna increase your reading speed, just try and reduce that voice in your head and kind of see what happens. It will start out very uncomfortable and you'll kind of be like blitzing through the text and not quite understanding it, but with enough practice, this will become second nature. And then you'll think, "Huh, why do people read "with a voice in their heads when it's just so much faster "to just look at the words, "and to not have the voice in your head?" Point number two for reading faster, you actually don't have to read the whole page. You can kind of read a little bit in from the page on either side. And I picked up this tip from Tim Ferriss's (whooshing) "The 4-Hour Workweek." He's also got a YouTube video about it. (whooshing) And I hadn't figured it out before, but when I started applying this, I did notice, anecdotally again, my own reading speed started to increase. And there are apparently speed readers around the world who swear by this method. Basically, the idea is that because when we look at a word, (whooshing) our peripheral vision can like see the words around the word. And so really, normally we look at the very first word of a line, but then we're wasting (popping) peripheral vision because there's empty space to the side. Whereas if we start a little bit in, and we kind of track our eyes, not from the start of the text (popping) to the end of the text, but like a little bit in, we can actually still see all the words and visually read without wasting that space. (whooshing) So again, this is something that I find that if I'm actively trying to read faster, then I will do this. Normally, I don't remember. Normally, I just kind of read naturally, but if I'm actively trying to read faster, what I do is kind of shift my eyes from the page almost as if there's like a ruler on the end of the page. And so I'm only looking, I'm only allowed to look in between those areas. And I found that that improves my reading speed. Again, this is somewhat controversial. Like there are some studies that show that this effect, it does not exist. Anecdotally for me, and for Tim Ferriss, and for Nelson Dellis, who's another guy who reads fast, who interviewed on my channel, it does sort of work. So maybe try it, see if it works for you. I find personally that it works for me. Thirdly, if you wanna read faster, (whooshing) what you can do is you can take a pointer and you can just kind of scan your finger across the page. This works a lot better when you're not reading on a screen or when you're not reading on a Kindle that has a touch screen, but if you're reading a real book. The way it works is that because when our eyes move, they actually don't move in smooth. And in fact, so if you look at my eyes right now, I am gonna try moving them smoothly from left to right. Back again. But it's actually impossible. So eyes move in terms of saccades. And so it's like bang, bang, bang, bang, bang, bang. The only way eyes can move smoothly is if they're tracking something. So if I, if you now look in my eye, now it's moving smoothly because it's tracking my index finger. Whereas if I remove my index finger, there is no way I can force my eyes to move smoothly. And because our eyes move in that kind of psychotic way, usually when we're reading, we're not following smoothly one line to the next line to the next line. We're sort of kind of saccading back and forth. And that in theory, wastes a lot of time while you're reading. So if you wanna improve your reading, what you can do is you can take a finger and just kind of scan it along the line as fast as you want. And you kind of force your eye to follow your finger. And that means that you're not wasting any eye time (laughing) in doing saccades back and forth between bits of the same line. I haven't found any studies that talk about this in-depth, but there's this dude called Howard Berg, who is like world record holder (whooshing) for speed reading. And he says that just by using a pointer, you can increase your reading speed by 10 to 20%. So I think that's pretty good. Point number four, something I find helpful is to kind of gamify the whole reading faster thing. So normally when I'm reading and I'm reading a good book, like I said, I will read slowly, I'll take my time, I'll take notes, all that kind of stuff. But if it gets to a point where I'm losing interest in a book, or if it's a fiction book and there's just loads of description that I don't wanna read about 'cause I'm just so engrossed in the storyline, or if I just wanna kind of blitz through the rest of the book, I will kind of treat it as a bit of a game for myself to see how quickly I can read without sacrificing too much of my comprehension. And especially with nonfiction books. What I do is that I think to myself, "Okay, this book is getting boring now. "Let me turn this into a game. "And I'm gonna see how quickly I can read "while still understanding the gist of the chapter."