Originally published at: https://blog.12min.com/10-days-to-faster-reading-summary-pdf/
MicroSummary: We are addicted to books (did you ever imagine that?) here. Abby Marks-Beale’s 10-day quicker book is an excellent guide for anyone who wants to finish up that long-awaited reading list, or Kindle and, of course, the 12min summaries. The goal is to read at high speed while maintaining high levels of reading comprehension. That’s why, dear reader, I believe you will like this book. We compile our favorite ideas from the original text. Have a good time! Reading word for word may not be the best idea. The purpose of nonfiction reading is not to read every word on every page - it is to extract useful information from the material.
Zip Through Books, Magazines, and Newspapers – Understand and Remember Everything You ReadHave you ever glanced through a library catalog before borrowing a book on a certain topic? If so, you must have felt utterly distraught at the very sight of it!
Thousands and thousands of articles and books written by hundreds of authorities, and each of them covering a certain aspect of the subject you’re interested in! How would you ever find the time in this life to read even a tenth of them?
Now, if we’re completely honest, no book or skill can answer this question. But there are some books, which recommend and elucidate some skills, which may make things easier for you.
“10 Days to Faster Reading” is one such book. And our summary will help you read it faster.
Who Should Read “10 Days to Faster Reading”? And Why?News flash:
It’s the 21st century and humanity is moving at warp speeds!
If you’re able to find some time and quiet to scrutinize your must-read books Victorian-style – a hat tip to you! You must tell us your secrets.
If, however, you’re like the rest 99,9% of us, you’re probably reading this on the bus or while crossing the street to make it to your next meeting!
Because simply put, there’s just not enough time!
“10 Days to Faster Reading” is advertised as one sort of solution for you. It’s not only concerned with reading faster, but it’s also interested in teaching you how to remember better. On the whole, the perfect way to prepare for that exam you’re dreading.
But, try it even if you’re not a student. After all, the only prerequisite is for you to want to read faster.
About Abby Marks-Beale
Abby Marks-Beale is one of the world’s foremost experts in techniques for fast reading.
In addition to “10 Days to Faster Reading”, Marks-Beale has authored “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Speed Reading” and “Success Skills: Strategies for Study and Lifelong Learning.”
10 Days to Faster Reading SummaryYou think you know how to read?
When it comes to reading, education has failed you! True, we’ve been here before, but we guess it’s no wonder we’re writing about the same thing once again. You know what they say: great minds think alike!
So, much like Adler and Van Doren in “How to Read a Book,” Marks-Beale starts off by claiming that you only know how to read in the most fundamental manner. To her, reading faster is not a superpower. In fact, if you perceive it as such, it’s probably your school’s fault.
Still not convinced?
Then, ask yourself one simple question: are you trying to remember everything written in this summary?
Your answer is probably “yes.” And this is because you were expected to remember everything written inside your schoolbooks. For some teachers, even the footnotes counted!
Fact: this is not how your brain works!
Studies have shown that, by now, you’ve probably forgotten about 90% of what you needed to remember in order to get passing grades. It was all lodged in your short-term memory.
And, obviously enough, it’s your long-term memory which actually counts. As far as it is concerned, most of the things you read are insignificant. Their essence is the only thing which is really accepted. It’s nice to think of your long-term memory as a fertile ground for important data.
To widen the analogy: reading faster basically means picking out only the important stuff from the page.
It’s easier than you think!
Start off by understanding the purpose of reading. “10 Days to Faster Reading” suggests doing this by asking two simple questions:
- Why am I reading this?
- Why do I need this information?
Once you’re done with the questions, move on to inspecting the book. Once again, Marks-Beale looks as if she has read “How to Read a Book” by Adler and Van Doren. They spoke of inspectional reading, and Marks-Beale speaks of “pre-viewing.”
It’s the same thing, really!
Skim through the contents, inspect the style, see what you like and what you don’t. Even at this stage, you may come across some titles and paragraphs you won’t like. More importantly, you may already get a pretty good idea of what the book is really about.
Now, it’s finally time for the big guns!
One Day (Or Book) At a TimeMost of us have too many things to read. Between books, newspapers, magazines, email, Kindle and blog posts, our reading pile quickly overflows and while no one invents the time machine, we must choose what to read.
Sorting helps you read the most critical materials first: you may have a large stack of books, but some materials will always be more valuable than others.
Having clarity about what you are trying to do is necessary for efficient screening.
If you’ve taken the time to set your goals, it’s much easier to identify if reading specific materials will help you find the information for which you’re looking.
What Do I Expect From This Read? The Power Of FixationYou can multiply your reading efficiency by taking a few minutes before you start, to decide first, why you're doing it.
It is important to determine the reason, i.e., decide what you want to learn from the material.
Determining what information would help you, what questions you want to answer, and how you want to apply that material will be much easier to recognize useful information when you find it.
The best way to determine goals is to write questions that you hope to answer before you open the book. It effectively programs your brain to look for the information you are trying to find - a very important concept called “pre-activation effect.”
The Value of Mental IndexationPre-activation is the act of "programming" your brain to perceive factors about your environment. Your interest changes the filters, so you realize when they appear. The pre-activation effect happens unconsciously, but you can control it if you are aware.
Motive fixation works because it gives you the opportunity to consciously “prioritize” your filters and note information related to your interests.
When you are sufficiently focused, you can quickly read a book until your brain recognizes something that is interesting or important.
As you read, you instinctively find your eyes stopping at the part of the text that is related to what you are looking for.
It sounds magical, but it’s just your brain doing its job. Before you start reading, do not skip the two main sources to determine the importance of the book: the list of contents and the index.
The first tells you about the structure, content, and order of the book. The second, besides being a useful reference tool, is essentially a frequency map of terms that are keywords in the book.
Your Brain Is Faster Than Your MouthWhen you learn to read, learn to repeat, speak mentally what is being read. It is useful and easier to learn to read like this but to read faster, this is an obstacle, especially since most people do not realize they are doing it, which makes them read slowly because they "pronounce" in their mind the words before understanding their meaning.
A good way to break this habit is to read faster, without vocalizing the content, because from a certain point you will be reading faster than you can “mentally pronounce” and then the habit will be rewritten in your brain.
Breaking this way of reading, you’ll be impressed by the amount of information you can understand and retain, and you can dramatically increase your reading speed.
Here are some more great tricks to becoming a better reader: One way to overcome the habit of reading aloud is to focus on the white space just above each line.
That way, you can still see the top half of the letters and can thus easily understand them without obsessing over the words themselves.
The idea here is to move through words without getting stuck on each one. You can do this more effectively if you are not looking directly at them.
Another strategy is the so-called Retreat Method, which involves the use of your peripheral vision. Instead of putting your eyes at the beginning of each line, try pointing them 1 centimeter inside the left margin, then stop reading 1 centimeter before the right margin.
You will still be able to see the beginning and end of the line using your peripheral vision. As you do not have your gaze on every word, you reduce the number of potential starts and stops that occur while glancing at the lines.
10 Days to Faster Reading
If your eyes are stopping seven or eight times per line and you can only reduce one stop, your overall speed can increase by more than ten percent!
To help you get accustomed to this exercise, start with one line, then increase to one page: draw vertical lines about half an inch inside both sides.
This way, you know exactly where to start and stop eye movement.
You Can Read More Than One Word At a TimeInstead of sticking to each word, picking groups of 3 or more words at a time can maximize your reading speed without harming your comprehension.
Learning to read more than one word at a time is a matter of training. One tip is to create a constant movement, with a pen pulling your reading to the next line because the eyes naturally follow the movement.
Similarly, pointing and moving your fingers can orient your eyes more quickly through a text.
Simply place your finger to the left or right of a line, and after viewing the entire line, move your finger slowly even firmly toward the bottom of the page. This will make you faster and read in larger blocks of words.
Read Without DistractionsReading quickly requires intense mental concentration and effort; it demands your full attention, challenges your skills and requires focus.
If the phone is ringing, email alert whistle and co-workers constantly interrupting you, it’s best to find a quiet and pleasant place where you can focus for longer periods of time.
According to Marks-Beale, reading fast is mostly about four things:
- Looking for keywords. This, essentially means reading only the things which the author really wanted to write about. They are usually longer than three syllables, are repeated throughout and are inserted in the headline.
- Reading between the lines. Reading between the lines means reading while not stopping at any of the words. If you can’t understand something at first reading – don’ reread it. Just skip it. If it’s important, the author is bound to go over it again.
- Indenting. Indenting means using your peripheral vision. You lose time by moving your eyes along the lines. However, if you concentrate exclusively on the central part of the line, you will still be able to see the beginning and the end of it. In time, you can train your eyes to read the whole line by not moving across. And if you
- Use hand, pen or a business card. When reading, it’s good to force your eyes not to wander. And since they are naturally accustomed to the following movement, give them what they want. Use your finger or a pen to guide them. Also, when you use a business card, use it wisely. Don’t cover the part you’re about the read, but the part you’ve read. Like this. You’ll see how much this may help you to concentrate.
Fast reading is also about concentration. You can’t expect to be focused all the time. So, don’t be afraid to take a 5-minute break every 20 minutes.
There’s a great technique for this.
Key Lessons from “10 Days to Faster Reading”1. Linear Reading is for Beginners 2. Speed Reading Is Just Another Habit 3. Reading Is Merely the Beginning
Linear Reading is for BeginnersQuite literally!
You learn to read linearly because your school demands that you remember everything you read. There’s no way out: you can’t skip anything. Even though, you’ll only need some of it.
Unfortunately, until some radical change occurs, schools will not change. But, once you leave your formal education behind, you can change. And you should!
So, start reading only the things which really interest you. And only the ones you really need!
Speed Reading Is Just Another Habit
You’re a Creature of HabitsFor better or for worse, this is a double-edged sword. On the one hand, it means that it is difficult to leave some habits behind. On the other, it means that it will be the same with the new habits you’ll acquire.
Speed reading is a habit. Or, better yet, a set of habits. You can pick them up and develop them gradually. Soon enough, you won’t be able to go back to linear reading.
Not that you will want to.
Reading Is Merely the BeginningSpeed reading or slow reading – that’s merely the beginning.
We said that you read your schoolbooks to learn the things that will get you a good grade. There are no grades after you get your diploma.
So, why do you read then?
It’s simple, in fact: you read because the things you’ll obtain may help you in life. If they can’t, then you’re reading for no reason at all.
So, start applying what you read. And start reading to apply.
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“10 Days to Faster Reading” Quotes[bctt tweet="Think of this book as a key that enables you to jumpstart your reading abilities and test-drive a whole new set of skills and techniques." username="get12min"]
[bctt tweet=“In reading, your engine is your eyes and brain. Though your hands are helpful, they are not necessary.” username=“get12min”]
[bctt tweet=“Concentration is the art of being focused, the ability to pay attention. Unskilled readers try hard to concentrate but frequently daydream instead.” username=“get12min”]
[bctt tweet=“You can train your eyes to pick up keywords. Learning to ‘swing’ your eyes helps them become more familiar with the efficient eye movements necessary for faster reading. With a little practice, you develop a smooth reading rhythm.” username=“get12min”]
[bctt tweet=“One sure way to avoid going into any reading situation completely blind is to first tap into your background knowledge.” username=“get12min”]
[bctt tweet="Effective reading is an exchange of ideas, not a one-way conversation. " username=“get12min”]
[bctt tweet=“You are the one who converts your reading relationship from a monologue, where you are the passive recipient of the author’s words, to a dialogue, where you actively ask questions and look for answers.” username=“get12min”]
[bctt tweet=“Knowing your purpose and applying pre-viewing are the key factors for determining your overdrive speeds: skimming, scanning or skipping.” username=“get12min”]
[bctt tweet=“If you have always read slowly, it doesn’t mean you will read slowly your whole life — unless you choose to.” username=“get12min”]
Our Critical Review“10 Days to Faster Reading” is an engaging book whose goal is to replace your bad reading habits with good ones. The title promises to do this in 10 days. We beg to differ! Acquiring a good habit takes a lot more than this. Breaking a bad habit is even more difficult.
So, Marks-Beale’s doesn’t really deliver on the promise from the title. But, she does have some good points on how to become a better reader. Regrettably, these do not amount to much. So, if you can and want to read this book, speedread it!
Also, we think we’re good at zipping 300 pages into 2. So that you can read 5-hour books in 5 minutes. If that’s not fast reading, we don’t know what is!
Take note, Abby Marks-Beale! We think we’ve deserved a chapter in the second edition of your book!
Chapter 1: “Speed reading is reading summaries.”