In a world where time seems to be a commodity that most of us have less and less of, wouldn’t it be nice to be able to read the collected works of Shakespeare in about half an hour … and remember what you read … and retain some of the inner world created by the reading experience. But is it possible?

Reading for me is an enjoyably slow process. Listening to the dialogue as I read it, creating the author’s world piece by piece, moving at the pace of the events that are unfolding. It seems that speed reading would be like watching your favourite movie in fast motion or listening to your favourite singer sounding like a chipmunk on steroids. Would you lose more than you gained with speed reading? The raw information in any text is only part of it – the rest is experience.

While I was ‘googling’ I stumbled on an article about the ‘World’s Fastest Reader’, Howard Berg (happy face on the right) – this is what they say about him:

‘Howard Stephen Berg is widely acclaimed as the World’s Fastest Reader. His Howard_speedreader accomplishments have been recognized in The Guinness Book of World Records, recorded in major newspapers across America, and demonstrated on more than 600 radio and television programs nationwide.

Realizing while a college student that he had never been taught how to learn, Mr. Berg pioneered a revolutionary reading system that incorporates powerful psychological methods as well as traditional mechanical techniques. The result is increased speed with dramatically enhanced comprehension and retention.

These methods have enabled Mr. Berg to read over 25,000 words per minute and write more than 100 words per minute. He is also known for advanced problem-solving strategies.

Trained in psychology, Mr. Berg served for 10 years as an officer in an electrical construction corporation and for 10 years as an educator. For the past 18 years, he has been a highly acclaimed and greatly demanded speaker at schools, corporations, and government facilities, motivating and teaching individuals how to reach their true potentials.’

So at least it seems to pay!

For reading reports, emails, newlsetters and technical manuals I can see that this would be a great benefit. I recently bought a new 300 page web design ‘bible’ and I’d love to be able to chew my way through that in about 10 minutes. But when it comes to poetry and novels I’m not so sure.

I’ll get back to you on this one after I’ve tried Howard’s ‘fail safe’ method!

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