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5 Great Speed Reading Tips

Jennifer Goddard's picture

Speed Reading It's a well known fact that many of the most successful people in the world are highly effective readers, that is, they read strategically. 

"President John F. Kennedy is perhaps the most_famous speed reader. This is because he emphasised his intelligence and mental capacity during his campaigns and made it publically known that, having been a normal reader whose speed was approximately 284 words per minute, he had studied speed reading.

It became widely known that he worked at the skill until he had reached speeds of over 1000 words per minute. He also developed the ability to read a a great range of speeds, allowing him exceptional flexibility to vary his rate on the very different kinds of material he was obliged to read every day."*

Here are five simple tips to help you Manage Information Overload.

  1. Read Strategically - which means be clear on what you want to learn, why it's important and then determine the best way to read it.  Did you know there are at least 6 different ways to read something?
  2. Rip and Tear Magazines - we all have piles of magazines we like to read, but they have a way of sucking us into the most useless material.  Instead quickly look over the entire magazine and rip out articles you want to read, then recycle what's left.  Think about it, have you been distracted by ads and other nonsense you really didn't want to read?
  3. Power Browse Books - there are thousands of new books written each day, so you cannot read them all.  Instead learn to do a 10 minute power browse in the book store to see if it's really worth buying/reading in more detail. How many books do you have piled up - unread?
  4. Consider Book Summaries - many good business books have a professional summary that succinctly summarises the key learnings for you.  This is a great way to get to the heart of good material.  How fast would your knowledge base improve if you could read a book a day, in less than 45 minutes?
  5. Overview and Delete Emails - it may not be possible to only check your emails 3-4 times each day, but when you do check them do a quick overview by having your viewer set in Preview Mode, and immediately delete emails you know you just won't get to today.  Don't keep them, as they'll draw you in later and you don't have time for that.

Following these simple tips will give you back extra time each day that you can then spend on making other improvements in Managing Information Overload.


We run regular courses on Mind Mapping and Speed Reading around Australia, and design and facilitate special programs for business clients.  Email us for information info[at]mindwerx[dot]com. 

* The Extract on John F. Kennedy is  from page 85 of The new Speed Reading Book