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  • - 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."