The Divided Brain – Asymmetry of the Brain and Human Meaning & Why Are We so Unhappy? – by Dr Iain McGilchrist, the author of The Master and His Emissary: The Divided Brain and the Making of the Western World and The Divided Brain and the Search for Meaning – Why Are We so Unhappy? (only £0.99 – but is very short too and it kind of answers the question: why are we so unhappy? Spoiler: because we use our left brain too much – kind of…)
Toby L’Estrange speed reading review of Harry Potter the Cursed Child
10-year-old speed-reader Toby L’Estrange’s review of The Cursed Child
“Phew. Just finished speed reading the new Harry Potter book. My score on a scale of 1-10? I think it’s a 6. My favourite is still Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire – it had lots of fun challenges and you got the best glimpse of Hogwarts).This one’s a bit different from all the others.
Firstly it’s the script for a play, so it’s quite different from reading a novel. The whole story is told through what the characters say to each other – plus some stage directions. But once you get over that, you read it just the same as the others – except the play is in two parts, so the book is too.
How to speed read Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (or anything else)
Toby L’Estrange is the 10-year-old Spd Rdr in the newspapers who was asked by Amazon to read the new Harry Potter book on their new Kindle device. Toby was taught speed reading by his Grandma – Susan Norman – one of the authors of Spd Rdng: The Speed Reading Bible.
WATCH TOBY L’Estrange talking about speed reading the new Harry Potter and the Cursed Child below
Toby will download ‘Harry Potter and the Cursed Child’ as soon as possible after midnight very first thing on Sunday 31 July (Harry Potter’s birthday!) and as soon as he’s read it will put up a review on Amazon. At 1000 words per minute it should take him about two hours.
You too can learn how to speed read Harry Potter…
Summary Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare (1564-1616)
(from Passing Time in the Loo: Volume 1 – Summaries of All-Time Great Books)
Type of work Romantic tragedy
Setting Verona, Italy; 15th century
Romeo, son of the house of Montague
Juliet, daughter of the Capulet household
Benvolio, Romeo’s cousin
Mercutio, Romeo’s friend
Tybalt, Juliet’s cousin
Lady Montague, the clan’s matriarch
Lady Capulet, Juliet’s mother
Juliet’s ribald nurse
Friar Lawrence, a Franciscan Monk
For a very long time the Capulets and the Montagues had been feuding. Harsh words often led to violence between the two houses, who were sworn as deadly enemies. Prince Escalus of Verona happened upon one such bloody brawl and angrily pronounced, “If ever you disturb our streets again, your lives shall pay the forfeit of the peace.”
Shortly after this, Romeo and his cousin Benvolio met on the street, and Romeo sadly confessed his unrequited love for an aloof and indifferent young woman. “[Give] liberty unto thine eyes; Examine other beauties,” was Benvolio’s curative. But Romeo was unmoved: “Thou canst not teach me to forget.”
How to speed read the Chilcot report
The full Chilcot report consists of 12 volumes and contains 2.6 million words. Thank God, a 150-page (Chilcote report 2016) executive summary is be published as well and that’s where I would start to get the overview of the whole document.
Once I’ve got the big picture and overview of the whole document and how it’s structured (hopefully it’s well laid out with good TOC/table of content and index, etc) I would ask myself some basic question such as: What specifically do I want to know? and What will I do with this information?
It’s about 4.5 times bigger than War and Peace (587,00 words) and about three times bigger than the Bible (775,00 words) and the complete works of Shakespeare (885,00o words).
Speed reading is information extraction so there is no point of reading the Chalcot report, from cover to cover – just for the sake of it. It would take a long, long time. Just think, if an average, educated person reads about 240wpm (word per minute) – it would take about 180 hours to read it from cover to cover (that is about seven full 24-hour days of non-stop traditional reading).
Summary of Does your Family Make You Smarter?: Nature, Nurture, and Human Autonomy by James R. Flynn
James R Flynn in his book ‘Does your Family Make You Smarter?: Nature, Nurture, and Human Autonomy’ states that “Intelligence has always been thought to be static. However, the new evidence shows that this is wrong. The brain seems to be rather like a muscle – the more you use it, the stronger it gets. That means you can upgrade your own intelligence all through life.” And your environment, especially your family plays a big part in it. This summarises the whole premise of the book, ie you can improve yourself and your IQ, and the surrounding environment has a significant effect on your intelligence.
Speed Reading Technique 10 – Take your awareness to your concentration point
Focus on a point about 15 cms above and slightly behind the top of your head (your concentration point) – take a deep breath in and relax your eyes as you breathe out. Then start reading.
Many people can increase their reading speed simply by taking their attention to the concentration point about 15 cms above and slightly behind the top of the head. Many notice a different quality to their reading, saying the text is ‘clearer’ and ‘easier to understand’. Their ability to concentrate is also enhanced.
TEST YOURSELF …
… before and after doing this technique to see the difference it makes to you – see QUICK TEST
Pbook Comeback – Paper books are making a comeback
For the first time since the advent of ebooks, we’re beginning to see the comeback of ‘pbooks’ (as published/paper books are coming to be known in the industry). The CEO of Waterstones admitted that the chain came within hours of collapse and that their 11th hour turnaround was as a result of a renewed focus on the retail experience, rather than just selling books. In addition local managers throughout the country have been released from following a ‘company line’ and given autonomy to buy stock relevant to their local market and display it as they see fit.
The ebook revolution has also forced publishers to completely rethink their products and there is now much greater emphasis on design and publishing books that you want to hold and enjoy, so that they genuinely compete with ‘soulless’ ebooks.
Check out the full report by accessing ‘What Britain Buys’ with Mary Portas, 9pm Monday 9 May, Channel 4
“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.
Speed Reading Technique 14: Get in a good state for reading
Summary Having a relaxed, alert, questioning, purposeful mind is the ideal state for reading if you want to understand and remember information. Many of the other spd rdng techniques are also designed to get your mind and body in an optimal state for reading.
The optimal state for understanding and taking in information is to be alert, relaxed, positive, purposeful and questioning and many of the techniques in this book are about getting into a good state for reading: Continue reading
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.”