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How to Read Faster

It is mindblowing when you actually stop to consider just how much you are reading words.

The data is skewed due to the variety of roles we all hold, but estimates for how many words we read per day are anywhere between 8000 and 100,000 per day. 250 words per minute is the average speed British people read. Summed, you are likely reading between one to six hours a day.

Some people can read at a pace of 1000 words per minute. I think I've only turned book pages that quickly when I was a kid looking for the pictures.

Before we whip through the tips and tricks, let me caveat this by inserting the fact that there is a three-stage structure to reading.

Stage 1; reading
Stage 2; processing
Stage 3; remembering

We may cover stages 2/3 another time. Our goal in this Letter is not just to cover ways that help us speed up reading but to do it in a way that still allows for processing.

If you could be even marginally faster at something you do for hours every day, why wouldn't you try? Let's go.

The two big concepts that move the needle:

  1. Stop the inner monologue.

When you are a kid, this is ingrained in you by teachers; "Read in your head, as I read the passage aloud". This is called subvocalisation, and it's the number one thing slowing you down. Why? Because 250 words a minute is the average speaking speed. The average reading speed is the same. It would be best if you stopped this to sprint past the shackles of your talking speed. Try listening to music or chewing some gum.

  1. Word chunking.

This is where the turbos come on: First, try reading three to four words at once. If you want to step this up, try reading the whole line on the page at once. Your brain lets you do this by utilising your peripheral vision, absorbing those words like lightning and stitching them together in real-time.

Want to keep speeding up?

- Stop re-reading. If you watch most people read, their eyes flick back and forth. It's a slow-mans habit. You can ditch this by forcing yourself to keep going, and your brain will relearn.
- Improve your vocabulary. Often we stop mid-sentence when we don't know what a word means. Apps like "Vocabulary" make for good size large widgets on your phone screen.
- Skim before you read. Skimming in a split second, looking for keywords or figures, before you start reading can lower cognitive load when you then work to process the text at top speed.
- Use an app. List here.
- Drag your finger or a pen end under each line. Your eyes will follow. Let the pointer set the pace. This helps with point (1) and is a good starting place for anyone trying new techniques.
- Do a weekend course. I did this Love Brain course in 2019 and found the techniques astonishing.

The most successful people I know don't just read—they inhale information. It doesn't need to be paperbacks. But it's almost always text.

The five pointers above aren't miracle pills; they take practice. But as Buffet says, it builds up, like compound interest.

There are world championships at this stuff, but if you want to test out where you're at today, here are two quick tests:

Reading speed test
Reading age test

Reading can be more than just the absorption of information. It can be beautiful, funny and witty.

We designed and crafted notebooks with paper so easy to write on it would make your words effortless. I hope the above speeds you up reading, but I hope you take your time writing and enjoy our products' in the process.

Best book reading hack ever? Type "{book name} summary" into YouTube and watch it in minutes.

Thank you, have a good week, Caspar.

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