Question: How Do I Read Faster?
Recently, it seems as though everyone is obsessed with reading faster.
I regularly have questions on my Instagram from subscribers who want to learn how to speed-read, how to read books quicker, and whether I have any top tips to help them read faster.
So, in this post and video, I’m going to answer the question, ‘How do I read faster?’ But be warned, it’s probably not the answer you were looking for!
Why are you asking me?
I find it quite funny that people ask me for speed reading tips when in actual fact, I’m not a fast reader at all.
Instead, people assume that I am a fast reader because I have read a lot of books, and they think I know a secret reading hack that they don’t.
People see my bookshelves and the photos that I post on Instagram and assume I’m the female version of Dr. Spencer Reed (from the TV series Criminal Minds), and that I too possess the supernatural power of being able to digest a 500-page book in detail in under 10 minutes.
Although that superpower would be AWESOME, sadly, I do not have it!
Why do you want to read faster?
So, why do you want to read faster in the first place?
You’ve obviously heard of the many benefits that come from reading books, including:
- increase your knowledge
- perhaps increase your bank balance
- become a great member of a pub quiz team
- be better at managing stress
- increase your productivity and efficiency
- be a better entrepreneur/employee/husband/wife/parent/etc
- be happier and healthier
and many more …
Even though you may be aware of the infinite number of benefits that you get from reading, you’re still struggling to read. So, you’re on the lookout for a way to hack the system so that you can get through more books more quickly and easily than anyone else.
… but here’s the problem
To get the knowledge and information out of a book, you’ve got to READ THE DAMN BOOK! (shocker!)
… AND you’ve got to read it properly from beginning to end at whatever reading speed you find comfortable.
If you try to speed-read, skim the pages, or even just try to read more quickly, you’ll get to the end of the book only to find that you haven’t retained any of the information it contains.
In which case, what’s the point in reading the book?
It’s important to note that, even if you do read the book at your normal pace, you will retain more knowledge and information, but as time passes and you read more books and digest more content, you’ll start to forget things.
For example, I can’t tell you exactly what is in every single book that I have read and reviewed on this blog. I can only tell you what I remember.
No one will ever remember 100% of a book, especially after 12 or 18 months have passed. It’s pretty much impossible.
Now, if I speed-read all those books, or just looked at summaries of them, which I also dislike, (and here’s why), I would remember EVEN LESS about the book because I didn’t invest the time to cement the information into my brain.
The whole point of reading is not only to get from the beginning to the end, but it’s being able to read in a way that allows you to retain as much information as possible and for as long as possible.
Time for a shameless plug …
This is the perfect opportunity for me to remind you about the reading workbook that I created, My Book of 100 Books, so titled because the workbook can hold the notes of up to 100 books!
The workbook allows you to keep all your reading notes and key takeaways in one handy reference point.
As mentioned above, it’s impossible to remember every snippet of information from a book, especially when a lot of time has passed. So, instead of having to read the whole book again, you can simply open up My Book of 100 Books and look at your notes to give you a refresher.
Develop better reading habits
So, to go back to the whole point of this post, instead of focusing on trying to read faster, my advice is that you should focus on getting good reading habits.
If you can get into the habit of reading regularly, you will soon get through a lot of books, and much more quickly than you ever realized you could.
Good reading habits = faster natural reading speed
Once you get into the habit of reading every day, you are unknowingly practicing your reading skills.
And by practicing your reading skills every single day, your natural reading speed will increase.
That isn’t speed-reading, or skimming, or trying to read faster. Instead, it’s your natural reading speed, and the more you read, the quicker you will become.
Stop trying to read faster and focus instead on developing good reading habits!
By reading a little every day, you will soon achieve your reading goals, and the more you practice the skill of reading, the faster you will naturally get.
If you want to know more about how to get good reading habits, I wrote a post on the subject earlier this year. Here’s the link to it.
Let me know your experience with speed-reading in the comments box below.