Archive for the ‘read 300% faster experiment’ Tag

Speed Reading for Mental Seeding   1 comment

Since Friday i’ve read two full length novels, and I started one this evening (Saturday) and i’m almost halfway through it already. I’ve fully absorbed each of these novels stories and content as i’m working up some mental fuel to dive into another writing project. So the question is, how did I read them so fast? Last year I read something on Tim Ferris’ blog (author of the Four Hour workweek) about reading 300% faster. I didn’t take heed at the time because I thought it was something wonky and I couldn’t be bothered.

Recently though, I was reminded that one of the biggest rules in writing is “read a lot and write a lot”. When I read tons of books, my writing takes on a mind of its own. Things are clear and sharp, I have a good base of inspiration from reading tons of stories, and I’m sufficiently “fueled” to pursue whatever voice I’m trying to write in. My next project will be based in Japan, so I thought it would be a good idea to devour a bunch of well written books that could take me back mentally to a place I lived for two years. But I wanted to do it more effeciently. If I could read say, five books related to Japan in a week instead of five in a month, I would be able to flood my mind with information and get to my goal of writing fuel faster.

So a few weeks ago, I searched on youtube for “read 300% faster”. I watched the first video i saw and followed the instructions and took a reading speed test to see where I was initially. [ NOTE: i’ve embedded the video at the bottom of this blog post]

test1

as you can see my reading speed wasn’t bad by any stretch of the imagination. In fact they gave me an idea of what i could read with my current reading speed:

test2

So I followed the various instructions which essentially teach you a new way to read sort of “spatially” and rapidly from left to right. I did all the exercises and completed the test. I was pretty pleased and surprised to see my reading speed increase.

test3the time shaved off reading War and Peace is significant, a full 16 hours.

test4

It also gave me an idea of how many books I could devour based on the average battery life of my device. I own a Kindle Keyboard, so it will last about one month without a charge.

test5

I’m sure the idea of reading 16 books in a month might seem preposterous, but I disagree. Right after doing the test, I didn’t really have any books on the menu to read, but i read a few 5,000 word articles in no time flat, averaging 3-4 minutes each(which makes sense based on my word count). But I haven’t done any heavy lifting until yesterday. I picked a few Japanese books i’ve been meaning to read and put them in a collection on my kindle.

on Friday morning i read Haruki Murakami’s South of the Border, West of the Sun (215 pages) in about three and a half hours. Later that night, I started, After Dark (256 pages) also by Haruki Murakami and read half way through in say, and hour and a half to two hours (I wasn’t really timing myself as I was sleepy). I finished the book this morning after another two hours or so. Then, this evening I started In the Miso Soup (245 pages) by Ryu Murakami (not to be confused with the previous author) and i’m presently at 43% as dictated by my Kindle (and i’m not reading continuously). In fact, I took a lengthy break to finish Resistance: The Fall of Man,  a video game i’ve been playing. So let’s say in 2 days I’ve read 3 books. that means in ten days I could read 15. Or being conservative, if I read one book a day that would be ten books in ten days, which is still pretty crazy. It gets more interesting if you take it a step further, seeing that I could technically read 30 books in a month (not that i’d really want to, i’m fine with just 15 🙂 ). Even a book every other day equates to about 12-15 books. The point is, doing this makes me feel very good, because I’ve always loved reading but sometimes it feels like a chore. This way, the reading experience is closer to watching a movie with the same clarity and interest but with a purpose. i”m not sure how many novels I will need to read until I feel ready to write, but I know I can easily read eight or nine books in a week and see how I feel afterward. I highly recommend these methods to anyone trying to boost their reading speed. Also, I did the exercise weeks ago, and i doubt i’m reading at the full 1,200 word per minute, because it estimated that at my speed i’d be able to read Harry Potter and the Sorceror’s Stone (320 pages)  in about an hour and 20 minutes. So at present (after one set of exercises) I can safely say i’m at the 900+ or 1000 words per minute level.

But remember, my original reading speed was pretty fast to begin with, and now i’m way above the curve (and I hear there are people who can read even faster with more trainig).  I haven’t tested my newfound powers on a daunting, intimidating novel yet, but i’m tempted to read Stephen King’s “The Stand” (1152 pages) as an exercise to see what I can really do, but my current my focus is on Japanese novels. But taking a rough estimate of what i’ve read in three days (500+ pages) it would be pretty fair to say I could get through that monster of a book in two or three days. I’ve put the video on the method here for your viewing pleasure. Cheers.

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