“Brevity is the soul of wit.” said William Shakespeare himself. So read summaries of all his works in this compact volume:
Spd Rdng = State + Purpose + Download + pReview + Detail + Notes + Gist
• Get in a good state for reading. Take a deep breath. Smile and open your peripheral vision – so you can take in more information at one time
• Change your mindset from reading to information gathering. Don’t worry about how many books you’ve read (you can do the 5-minute preview) – just look for information you need now (eg to prepare for a lecture or seminar, or to write an essay).
• Speed up your brain and eyes. Sit back from the text and look through it much faster than you can consciously comprehend – follow your finger with your eyes. After a few pages when you begin to see words and phrases, you are ready to start reading ‘at your best comprehension speed’.
Rhizomapping, Rhizomaps, Rhizomatic Learning – New ways to take and make notes and learn more effectively with mindmapping and rhizomapping – Speed reading tip 17: Take notes with mindmaps and rhizomaps
Speed reading technique 17: Take notes with mindmaps and rhizomaps
Summary Taking notes is the first step to fixing information in your memory. Mindmaps and rhizomaps are more memorable and lead to greater creativity than linear notes. If you’re away from your desk, then write notes (on post-its) in your book.
A tried and tested way of helping you remember what you read is to take notes. It engages your mind which makes it easier to take in information – you have to think critically to decide which notes to write. Noting which ideas are important to you helps fix them in your brain – and therefore helps you remember them. Also the physical act of writing itself helps form memories, since it brings into play additional parts of the brain and helps embody the information.
If you’re watching BBC One drama War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy and want to get a quick overview or summary of the plot (to enjoy it more as research suggests), here it is 587,287 words of the book summarised in just 1,945 words (which is 0.33% of the total book which means you can read this summary in about 5-10 minutes as opposed to an average of 32 hours for the whole book):
WAR AND PEACE – SUMMARY (from Passing Time in the Loo COMPACT CLASSICS – SUMMARIES OF ALL-TIME GREAT BOOKS)
by Leo Tolstoy (1828-1910)
Type of work Epic and romantic Russian novel
Setting Russia; the Napoleonic Era
Prince Andrey Bolkonsky, a cynical, intellectual soldier-prince
Pierre Bezuhov, a sensitive nobleman and seeker of truth
Natasha Rostov, Pierre’s beautiful and well-to-do lover
Nikolay Rostov, a soldier, Natasha’s older brother
Sonya, a relative of the Rostovs who falls in love with Nikolay
Anatole Kuragin, a womanizing, high-ranking officer
Tolstoy’s purpose in writing his 1600-page War and Peace was to present a historical account of the French invasion of Russia and also to provide himself a forum for his own intellectual and spiritual insights and theories. He accomplishes this through the characters’ searches for identity as well as in the volume’s two extensive epilogues.
Tolstoy fought in the Crimean War, adding to the realism of his accounts of the Napoleonic struggle. Soon after, he experienced a religious conversion, gave up all his material wealth, and lived out his remaining days in the simple life of a peasant.
Put your e-books on a shelf with Digital Library Wallpaper
The Future of the Professions: How Technology Will Transform the Work of Human Experts by Richard Susskind and Daniel Susskind – Summary of the book in video format
If speed reading there are many ways to get the information in – usually from books but videos and audio presentations are valid ways of getting useful information (TED is a good example). If you don’t want to read the book (Kindle suggests that most non-speed readers will take 7 hours and 14 minutes to read this 362-page book) The Future of the Professions: How Technology Will Transform the Work of Human Experts by Richard Susskind and Daniel Susskind watch this presentation (1 hour and 28 minutes – so you’re saving almost 6 hours) for Oxford Martin School and University of Oxford where they explain the key concepts behind their book. One line summary: whatever your profession is – it may not be safe – it can be automated, done by an algorithm or computers much better in the near future. Read about How computers are writing books and articles
Get the overview before the details – with timelines – Speed Reading Technique number 25
When learning a new subject, make sure you understand the overview, the big picture, before you look at the details. Since most books are written sequentially (ie detail following detail), this usually means starting by previewing and looking at chapter and section headings and first and last chapters for a general understanding. Syntopic processing is excellent for getting an overview of a new subject.
This technique is the key to getting a good purpose (spd rdng tech 4) and can make the difference between success and failure when putting other techniques into practice. When you are learning something new, the brain learns most easily if it starts by getting an overall picture of what the subject is about before you go into detail.
Talk about what you read – to remember – Spd Rdng Technique number 19
Summary: Talking about what you read helps crystallise your understandings in your mind – which is the first step to remembering. Do it twice:
1) as you read, summarise the information to yourself – it keeps you actively engaged.
2) after reading, tell someone what you’ve read – it helps you understand and remember it better.
Although reading is traditionally viewed as a passive activity, it is important to engage with the material if you want to learn and remember things from it. Verbalising is an important part of clarifying, consolidating and retaining information you read.
Research is now backing up what we’ve been teaching for over 14 years
Canadian researchers (Alexis Lafleur and Victor Boucher)suggest that those who talk to themselves or others may have better memories than those who don’t. So if you want to remember something talk to yourself our loud or share it with others. Professor Victor Boucher of the University of Montreal in Quebec states that by increasing the number of aspects to the information (i.e. the effort of talking and moving lips) we make it more memorable. This links to the speed reading technique number 16 (remember by doing something) which states that the more things you do to remember information the more likely you will recall it later. The research paper (The ecology of self-monitoring effects on memory of verbal productions: Does speaking to someone make a difference?) published in the Journal of Consciousness and Cognition states: “The simple fact of articulating without making a sound creates a sensorimotor link that increases our ability to remember, but if it is related to the functionality of speech, we remember even more. The added effect of talking to someone shows that in addition to the sensorimotor aspects related to verbal expression, the brain refers to the multisensory information associated with the communication episode.”
Summary of The Brand Flip: Why customers now run companies and how to profit from it by Marty Neumeier
Branding is evolving. Marty Neumeier’s new book (and previous ones) is a good testament of that. Marty starts with acknowledging (like all good writers) the function of any factual book – that is to communicate ideas in the most profound, efficient and direct way. To read The Brand Flip, using traditional reading methods, will take you about two hours to get the key messages. Unless you start at the end and read the key messages first – which is always a good idea to prime and give your mind a big picture – you can finish it in about 20 minutes. Read those key messages below. I do recommend going through the whole book though. If you’re new to branding, you’ll get a good understanding of how branding evolved over the last century and what branding is and isn’t. There are practical branding tips – for example, how much your logo is worth (a price of a good car – but you need to decide what kind of car). If you think branding doesn’t apply to your life, think again. We are all personal brands now and social media platforms are our market places.
“Any effort to get customers is marketing. Any effort to KEEP THEM is branding.”
Top 10 Most Read Books in The World are: The Holy Bible, Quotations from Chairman Mao Tse-Tung, Harry Potter, The Lord of The Rings, The Alchemist, The Da Vinci Code, The Night Saga, Gone with the Wind, Think and Grow Rich, and The Diary of Anne Frank (according to writer James Chapman who created a list of the most read books in the world based on the number of copies each book sold over the last 50 years.). Read about more top bestsellers
Summary of How We Learn: The Surprising Truth about When, Where, and Why It Happens by Benedict Carey
How We Learn, written by a science journalist Benedict Carey, promises to offer well-tested techniques that help us learn more effectively with less effort. It shatters some preconceptions about the ‘enemies of learning’, such as distraction, interruption, laziness, ignorance, restlessness, forgetfulness and even quitting – all of which can actually work in your favour.
For example, forgetting is good. You would think that remembering everything is a good skill. Not so. “Using memory changes memory— and for the better. Forgetting enables and deepens learning, by filtering out distracting information and by allowing some breakdown that, after reuse, drives retrieval and storage strength higher than they were originally,” states the book. Or, as the American psychologist William James noted, “If we remembered everything, we should on most occasions be as ill off as if we remembered nothing.”
Speed reading is not only about reading faster. It’s about reading at a speed appropriate to the material and the purpose, it’s about having that purpose in the first place – in fact it’s mostly about how to think about what you’re reading so that you get from it what you want in a way which allows you to build your understanding, implement your new knowledge and remember what you need to remember.
That’s the face of William Shakespeare according to botanist and historian Mark Griffiths. He claims that a drawing of a man on the cover of a 1598 book about plants is a picture of William Shakespeare. Bard looks young and handsome here, in his prime at the age 33 (as opposed to some other less complimentary portraits).
Seven basic plots in fiction
According to The Seven Basic Plots: Why We Tell Stories (2004) by Christopher Booker (available on Kindle) there are seven types of stories or basic plots in literature:
1) rags to riches,
2) overcoming the monster,
3) the quest,
4) voyage and return,
Read the summary of The Seven Basic Plots: Why We Tell Stories
36 basic plots in fiction
In the 18th Century, Italian playwright Carlos Gozzi identified 36 plots or situations in fiction, which includes: 1) supplication (in which the supplicant must beg something from power in authority), 2) deliverance, 3) crime pursued by vengeance, 4) vengeance taken for kin upon kin, 5) pursuit, 6) disaster, 7) falling prey to cruelty/misfortune, 8) revolt, 9) daring enterprise, 10) abduction, 11) the enigma, 12) obtaining, 13) enmity of kin, 14) rivalry of kin, 15) murderous adultery, 16) madness, 17) fatal imprudence, 18) involuntary crimes of love (e.g.: discovery that one has married one’s mother, sister, etc), 19) slaying of kin unrecognised, 20) self-sacrifice for an ideal, 21) self-sacrifice for kin, 22) all sacrificed for passion, 23) necessity of sacrificing loved ones, 24) rivalry of superior vs. inferior, 25) adultery, 26) crimes of love, 27) discovery of the dishonour of a loved one, 28) obstacles to love, 29) an enemy loved, 30) ambition, 31) conflict with a god, 32) mistaken jealousy, 33) erroneous judgment, 34) remorse, 35) recovery of a lost one and 36) loss of loved ones.
Cutting edge research from neuroscientists at Georgetown University Medical Centre has shown that, ‘We are not recognizing words by quickly spelling them out or identifying parts of words, as some researchers have suggested. Instead, neurons in a small brain area remember how the whole word looks – using what could be called a visual ‘dictionary”. Read the full article in Journal of Neuroscience
You still don’t believe – read this then:
WEIRD: How cmoe yuor bairn is albe to undnertsnad tihs snetence eevn tghouh olny the frist and lsat ltetres of ecah wrod are crreoct? Aoccdrnig to rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it deosn’t mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoetnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteer be at the rghit pclae. The rset can be a total mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe. And you touhhgt taht sepllnig was iprmoetnt!
Vape is The Oxford Dictionaries Word of the Year 2014
Choosing the Oxford Dictionaries Word of the Year is a task that begins almost as soon as the previous year’s word is announced. In 2013 the choice was selfie, and as soon as 2014 began, Oxford Dictionaries staff started collecting words that might come to prominence throughout the year. Read about the runners-up to the Word of The Year 2014 which are: bae, budtender, contactless, indyref, norm core, slacktivism. Well, more words for you, since we encounter at least 100,000 words a day. More top words of the decade for you (from 2009).
Summary of Anthony Robbins book Money: Master the Game – 7 Simple Steps to Financial Freedom
The latest book by Anthony Robbins Money: Master the Game – 7 Simple Steps to Financial Freedom, as the title promises, suggests that in 7 simple steps you can reach your financial freedom and become an investor as opposed to a consumer i.e. you won’t be trading your time for money but your money machine will work for you whether you’re working or not. Anthony Robbins (who is a great advocate of speed reading and photoreading) stresses that you should follow all those seven steps in sequence. For regular readers, this 689-page book might be a daunting task. Hence, my summary here to get you started. If you’re already a speed reader or even better a spd rdr, then you know that reading summaries has been validated as the best (and legitimate) way of getting information quickly and effectively. Anthony Robbins provides a seven step checklist for success at the end of the book which in a way summaries the book. Here it is but if you want a summary of the summary – read my final comments at the end of this blog.
7 SIMPLE STEPS: YOUR CHECKLIST FOR SUCCESS
STEP 1: Make the Most Important Financial Decision of Your Life
1. Did you make the decision to become an investor, not just a consumer?
2. Have you committed a specific percentage of savings that always goes toward your Freedom Fund?
3. Have you automated it? If not, do it now: www.tdameritrade.com or www.schwab.com.
4. If the amount you’re committing now is small, have you committed to your employer to use the Save More Tomorrow program? See http://befi.allianzgi.com/en/Topics/Pages/save-more-tomorrow.aspx
FingerReader is a wearable reading device that will read any text out loud for you, slowly but surly. Finger Reader is intended for visually impaired people. According to MIT Media Lab which developed Finger Reader, “only 7% of all books are available in Braille, audio and large print. In a 2009 survey, nearly three quarters (74%, 72%) of blind and partially sighted people reported that they could not read the information provided by their hospital or their GP. In addition, things like letters, menus, reports, magazines, rarely exist in Braille.” Read more about Finger Reader and watch a video of Finger Reader in action.
Research on speed reading (a selection)
One study on skimming found that skimming a text before going on to reading it, improved comprehension in the majority of cases.
Word recognition is one of the major slowing aspects for most readers. Research suggests that subvocalisation that nemesis of speed readers, is slower on unfamiliar words. If you want to speed up reading, build your vocabulary and learn to recognize words faster and naturally you will improve your reading speed. If English is not your first language or if you want to learn another language or anything else try an intelligent flash cards system called Anki which is useful for learning new words, new terms and anything else.
NASA has built subvocalisation detection systems to pick up subvocalisation (the faint nerve impulses that are sent to the muscles when we read), using them to browse the web or potentially even control a spacecraft.
Exercises for eyes for optimal speed reading
It’s harder to read when your eyes are tired. Keep your eyes in an optimal state for reading by doing eye exercises from time to time:
Change focus / 20-20-20
Look up from what you’re reading and alternate a few times between focusing on something in the distance and on something up close. This is called 20-20-20. Your eyes need regular breaks to prevent strain. Every 20 minutes make sure that you take 20 second break from what you’re doing to focus on something 20 feet or more away.
Palm your eyes
Briskly rub the palms of your hands together to warm them slightly. Place the palms over your closed eyes and gently massage the bony areas around the eyes (not directly onto the eyeballs) with the outsides of your palms for about 30 seconds. Open your eyes under your hands, and create a seal with your palms so that you’re looking at complete darkness for a moment or two.
Clock gazing Sit comfortably with an erect spine and both feet on the floor. Imagine a huge clock face about 30 cms away directly in front of you. Without moving your head, look up to 12 o’clock – then down to 6 o’clock.
Up to 1, down to 7
Up to 2, down to 8
Right to 3, left to 9
Down to 4, up to 10
Down to 5, up to 11.
Close your eyes and rest (or palm them) for 30 seconds.
Make a fist with your thumb sticking up. Hold it out at arm’s length in front of you. Draw a figure 8 on its side – start in the middle, move up to the right, round, down the outside, up towards the middle again and then round over the top on the left, down the outside, up into the middle again. Make sure you’re going up in the middle and down round the outsides. Keep going. Keep your head still and follow your thumb with your eyes.
Eating healthy: the link between good eye health and diet is well established. Vitamin A helps maintain healthy vision. Good source of vitamin A is sweet potatoes.
Stopping smoking: Smokers are up to four times more likely than non-smokers to develop age-related macular degeneration (AMD) the UK’s leading cause of sight loss.
There are many books on how to improve your eyesight