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Speed Reading


berkshire101
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It was either Todd or Ted who said they read 500 pages per day.  Or week.  I'm not sure.  But the question I have is, how do you go about increasing your reading speed?  I'm sure they're not reading 500 pages word for word.  There has to be some sort of method to their madness.

 

I implemented these two techniques into my reading and it really helped. I can maybe finish a whole book (usually 200-300 pages) in a day or two.  But it's no where near 500 pages. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g_hh0i6PML8

 

Any thoughts or advice?

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It was either Todd or Ted who said they read 500 pages per day.  Or week.  I'm not sure.  But the question I have is, how do you go about increasing your reading speed?  I'm sure they're not reading 500 pages word for word.  There has to be some sort of method to their madness.

 

I implemented these two techniques into my reading and it really helped. I can maybe finish a whole book (usually 200-300 pages) in a day or two.  But it's no where near 500 pages. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g_hh0i6PML8

 

Any thoughts or advice?

 

He clarified at last years meeting that it was 500 per week. And no, they don't read word for word. After reading K's and Q's as long as they have you get pretty good at skimming over less important parts.

 

When you say 200-300 pages a day, how many hours a day do you read and what type of reading material is it?

 

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I probably spend around 1-2 hours a day reading.  And another hour after that to write down my notes.  I'm reading mostly books related to investing, business, leadership/management, personal development, health, etc.  If it's a biography, I usually read slower.  But I'm skimming and looking for the main points. 

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Speed reading is bunk.  The ability of the eyes, the brain, and short term memory conversion, to long term memory makes it unworkable.  Comprehension falls apart.  If your talking about skimming that is a different bird but then your not really reading.  I skim Financial reports all the time looking for specific things such as debt levels.  The purpose of this is usually to quickly rule something out, much like an HR person skimming resumes. 

 

http://lifehacker.com/the-truth-about-speed-reading-1542508398

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I tried to learn speed reading last year.  I recommend the book Breakthrough Rapid Reading.  I was greatly able to speed up how fast I could read things and my reading comprehension with it.  (I was *very* slow going into it though.)

 

*However*, I do think speed reading, with high comprehension, is mostly BS.  Breakthrough Rapid Reading even mentions this and uses it's own definition of speed reading throughout the book.

 

Still, if you have the time to do the exercises, I highly recommend the book, at least the first half which works on reading fast (but not "speed reading") with high comprehension.  But still expect fast reading with high comprehension to be exhausting work going forward.

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You're welcome!  It's hard work though.  Be prepared to spend ~2 hours every day for about a month on it if you want to get the most out of it.

 

And, this being said, you do not need to be able to read 500 pages a day in order to be a "good enough" investor...

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Speed reading is bunk.  The ability of the eyes, the brain, and short term memory conversion, to long term memory makes it unworkable.  Comprehension falls apart.  If your talking about skimming that is a different bird but then your not really reading.  I skim Financial reports all the time looking for specific things such as debt levels.  The purpose of this is usually to quickly rule something out, much like an HR person skimming resumes. 

 

http://lifehacker.com/the-truth-about-speed-reading-1542508398

 

I took a speed reading course early in university and doubled my reading speed. More importantly comprehension increased significantly. The training focused on reading in word groups with efficient eye movement. Practice tests proved the increase in comprehension. The course also taught to start with a quick review so you knew what to expect and it taught a useful skimming technique focusing on topic sentences and summarizing sentences found at the start and end of most paragraphs in good writing. During law school the increased speed and comprehension saved countless hours. I am glad I took the course while I was young as maybe a young and plastic mind is helpful the same way it is easier to learn a new language as a child.

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You're welcome!  It's hard work though.  Be prepared to spend ~2 hours every day for about a month on it if you want to get the most out of it.

 

And, this being said, you do not need to be able to read 500 pages a day in order to be a "good enough" investor...

 

Yeah, I bet.  With any skill, it'll take time and effort.  I'm just trying to be a slightly above-average investor.  Otherwise, it would be indexing for me haha.

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I took the famous Evelyn Wood Speed Reading Course back in college in the 1980s.  It does have it's benefits, but overall the claims are over-hyped.

 

Now, whenever I think about speed reading courses, I think of this short comedy item from an album I had in high school:

 

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Speed reading is bunk.  The ability of the eyes, the brain, and short term memory conversion, to long term memory makes it unworkable.  Comprehension falls apart.  If your talking about skimming that is a different bird but then your not really reading.  I skim Financial reports all the time looking for specific things such as debt levels.  The purpose of this is usually to quickly rule something out, much like an HR person skimming resumes. 

 

http://lifehacker.com/the-truth-about-speed-reading-1542508398

 

I took a speed reading course early in university and doubled my reading speed. More importantly comprehension increased significantly. The training focused on reading in word groups with efficient eye movement. Practice tests proved the increase in comprehension. The course also taught to start with a quick review so you knew what to expect and it taught a useful skimming technique focusing on topic sentences and summarizing sentences found at the start and end of most paragraphs in good writing. During law school the increased speed and comprehension saved countless hours. I am glad I took the course while I was young as maybe a young and plastic mind is helpful the same way it is easier to learn a new language as a child.

 

Yes, I agree Aberhound.

 

Speed reading is absolutely not bunk. (Or should I just say that reading faster with excellent or improved comprehension is not bunk.  No need to get lost in the words "speed reading".)  Anecdotally, I read twice as fast as I did previously, since teaching myself to read faster.  A lot of the claims are over hyped to be sure, but to say that you can not increase your reading and comprehension is completely wrong.  There are mechanical limits to be sure-even an Olympic sprinter is not going to beat a cheetah!  Any healthy untrained runner (reader) can learn to do better.

 

The lifehacker article proves exactly nothing.  It is an interesting data point; like saying, you are no cheetah.  Okay, that is not really interesting, and I'm not Warren Buffett.  The conclusion of the article is that the author finds it too hard.  So what. 

 

There are graduate and advanced undergraduate students at top US schools, Ivies, UC's, Stanford, etc., who don't know how to skim, read ahead, read the conclusion, etc. (private conversation with friends and colleagues who teach there).  It's a skill, it has to be learned and practiced. 

 

Interesting side note: once out of say 3rd grade in the US, no attention is devoted to teaching students how to read.  That is a travesty.

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To "quantify" what happened with me "speed reading"-wise (so that people who like data and hate anecdotes (like myself!) can be satisfied) when I first started reading Breakthrough Rapid Reading, I read at an average rate of 215 wpm (words per minute) when it came to 10-Ks.  Yes, I was slow.

 

By the end of the first half of the book (the second half probably isn't worth reading for most people and they clearly mention the difference between the two halves in the book), I was able to read most 10-K text at 800 wpm if I was working at it.  For fluff material, like most news articles, I could go as high as 1800 wpm if I was *really* forcing myself and I didn't want to enjoy the reading process at all.

 

About a year later, I'd say I'm at 400-500 wpm on average when reading most material.  So I go double the speed that I used to go.  And my comprehension is much better.  (The book also does a good job of teaching you how to think about text organization to comprehend things faster.)

 

The book also emphasizes that you need to read with intent.  For example, you're not going to, say, go through a 10-K and learn everything at the first go.  You should go fast the first time through, find the points that a relevant to your current intent, and discard the ones that aren't.  You can revisit the 10-K, going through it fast again, if you need to.

 

Also, for textbooks, doing the exercises and then reading the book as you get stuck on the exercises is going to help you learn the material a lot faster than if you just try to absorb all of the material in one long reading.

 

For new-to-me material that's somewhat complicated I still go pretty slow.  Luckily there's not too much more out there, investing-wise, that's new to me! :D

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To "quantify" what happened with me "speed reading"-wise (so that people who like data and hate anecdotes (like myself!) can be satisfied) when I first started reading Breakthrough Rapid Reading, I read at an average rate of 215 wpm (words per minute) when it came to 10-Ks.  Yes, I was slow.

 

By the end of the first half of the book (the second half probably isn't worth reading for most people and they clearly mention the difference between the two halves in the book), I was able to read most 10-K text at 800 wpm if I was working at it.  For fluff material, like most news articles, I could go as high as 1800 wpm if I was *really* forcing myself and I didn't want to enjoy the reading process at all.

 

About a year later, I'd say I'm at 400-500 wpm on average when reading most material.  So I go double the speed that I used to go.  And my comprehension is much better.  (The book also does a good job of teaching you how to think about text organization to comprehend things faster.)

 

The book also emphasizes that you need to read with intent.  For example, you're not going to, say, go through a 10-K and learn everything at the first go.  You should go fast the first time through, find the points that a relevant to your current intent, and discard the ones that aren't.  You can revisit the 10-K, going through it fast again, if you need to.

 

Also, for textbooks, doing the exercises and then reading the book as you get stuck on the exercises is going to help you learn the material a lot faster than if you just try to absorb all of the material in one long reading.

 

For new-to-me material that's somewhat complicated I still go pretty slow.  Luckily there's not too much more out there, investing-wise, that's new to me! :D

 

That's pretty funny.  You and I had almost the same trajectory, beginning, middle and end points.  I started at 220, went to 1500 and now am down to 550 or so depending on the material.  And it takes discipline to keep up the speed. I occasionally find myself lollygagging, reading an Annual Report or some psych non-fiction book as if it were Tolstoy!

 

I don't think our mirrored trajectories were due to the book, Breakthrough, which was one of the ones I used.

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it would be nice if people put as much effort into learning to write more efficiently.  Half of the fight in reading is compensating for bad writing.  Sometimes it is intentionally misleading in this field so that makes it twice as tough.

 

Next topic will be how to write better and faster!  Go!  :D

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it would be nice if people put as much effort into learning to write more efficiently.  Half of the fight in reading is compensating for bad writing.  Sometimes it is intentionally misleading in this field so that makes it twice as tough.

+1

 

Well said. There is a world of difference between the owner operators that like to explain things (think Buffett) and the ones that spend a lot of time making sure you do not understand what they are writing.

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