Question: How Do I Read Faster?
Recently, it seems as though everyone is obsessed with reading faster.
I always get questions on my Instagram from people wanting to know how to speed read, how to get through books quicker, and if I have any 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 are just assuming that I am a fast reader because I have read a lot of books.
They think I know of a secret reading hack they don’t.
They see my bookshelves and the photos 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?
It’s important that we cover why it is that you want to read faster in the first place.
You’ve obviously heard of the many benefits that come from reading books, including
- increased knowledge
- possible increased bank balance
- great member on a pub quiz team
- better at managing stress
- increased productivity and efficiency
- be a better entrepreneur/employee/husband/wife/parent/ect
- be happier and healthier
- and many more…
Even though you are aware of the infinite number of benefits you get from reading you’re still struggling to read, so you’re on the lookout for a way to hack the system so you can get through more books quicker and easier than anyone else.
…but here’s the problem
In order 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 comfortably read at.
If you try to speed read, skim the pages, or even just try to read quicker, when you get the end of the book you won’t have retained any of the information.
In which case, what’s the point?
It’s important to note that even if you do read the book at your normal pace, yes 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 it is that 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 had speed read all those books, or just looked at book summaries of them (which I also dislike and here’s why) then I would remember EVEN LESS from the book because I didn’t invest the time into cementing the information into my brain in the first place.
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 of the reading workbook that I created, My Book of 100 Books (titled that because it holds the notes of up to 100 books!)
This workbook allows you to keep all of your reading notes and key takeaways in one handy place.
As mentioned above, it’s impossible to remember every bit of information from a book, especially when a lot of time has passed. 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.
Get good reading habits
Going to back to the whole point of this post, instead of focusing on trying to read faster, my advice is that you should instead 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 a lot quicker than you ever realized.
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.
This isn’t speed reading, or skimming, or trying to read faster. It is your natural reading speed where you are able to digest as much information as possible, and the more you read, the quicker it will become.
Stop trying to read faster and instead focus on getting good reading habits.
Reading a little bit every day will soon get you to 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.