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10 Days to Faster Reading (by Abby Marks Beale)


As you might have guessed by now, I love reading. It’s never enough; I only stop reading because I must do something else, not because I’m tired of it. I mainly read non-fiction because I’m curious about the world and have an insatiable appetite to learn. I read every day, but the more I read the more I want to read. So, I looked for something that could help me read faster without compromising comprehension.

Based on my research, this book came up as the most recommended. Ironically, I read this book very slowly because I wanted to apply the advice to my actual reading and see if there was progress. I used it as a training guide. In fact, it’s a practical book that gives exercises and advice. The techniques it suggests apply more to non-fiction than to fiction, where you read more for the experience than to learn something. It was occasionally a bit repetitive, but perhaps that’s good when considering its training purposes.

From the beginning, the author clearly states that not all of methods she proposes work for everybody, so one must try them out and see which one works best. I did this and was happy to find one that looked good for me. 

I found that I had already applied many of the suggested techniques, which I had developed through experience. In fact, during my university years and, mainly, during my bar exam, I had to read, understand, and memorize, tens of thousands of pages within a very limited amount of time.

Does it work? It seems to work for me, and my understanding of the text doesn’t seem to be compromised. However, when I want to read a non-fiction book efficiently, I need to be in a distraction-free environment, fully concentrated, and with a highly alert mind. If I’m tired, or if my surroundings are noisy, then fiction would be my choice, because I allow my mind to build pictures while I read, which requires time and thus slows down the reading speed.

The book contains some interesting facts, such as the French ophthalmologist Louis Émile Javal being the first person, in the late 19th century, to record eye movements while reading.

In conclusion, faster reading is a skill that needs to be trained. Specifically, you need to train your eyes to move more effectively while your mind is highly active. This can be more energy-consuming than reading the same text over a longer period of time.

Overall, the book was okay, it certainly helped me improve my reading speed a little bit, but it didn’t have any “aha” moments, which I was secretly hoping for.

Finally, when at the end of the book the author discussed how she became involved in the business of faster reading, she mentioned that her husband told her that “the universe has a plan for you. Just look for the signs” (which sounds heavily inspired by the book “The Alchemist” by Paulo Coehlo). That same night, she opened a Chinese cookie that said, “The road to knowledge begins with the turn of a page,” which she thought was a sign she had to start this business. This is her story, and obviously it is as it is, but I don’t believe that the universe has a plan for the individual human. Instead, I think that our brain is always searching for evidence to support what it already believes. It has nothing to do with such a significant thing as the universe’s plan.

Recommended For:

Anyone who wants to improve their reading speed without sacrificing comprehension. It is particularly useful for people who read a lot of non-fiction material and need to extract information quickly. It is also suitable for people who are preparing for exams or need to read large amounts of material in a short period of time.

Title: 10 Days to Faster Reading – Zip Through Books, Magazines, and Newspapers. Understand and Remember Everything You Read!
Author: The Princeton Language Institute and Abby Marks Beale
Year First Published: 2001

From Goodreads:

Jump-Start Your Reading Skills! Speed reading used to require months of training. Now you can rev up your reading in just a few minutes a day. With quizzes to determine your present reading level and exercises to introduce new skills quickly, 10 Days to Faster Reading will improve your reading comprehension and speed as it shows you how to:

Break the Bad Habits That Slow You Down
Develop Your Powers of Concentration
Cut Your Reading Time in Half
Use Proven, Specially Designed Reading Techniques
Boost the Power of Your Peripheral Vision