Too early in the morning, that is. Research has shown that the teenage brain doesn’t wake up till 9-10am (tell us something we don’t know!) – and finally there’s a school in the UK which is hoping that exam results will improve since they decided to start a bit later. The UCL Academy in London starts at 10am and school’s not out till 5.30, but already they’re getting positive feedback from their pupils, and attendance and punctuality are excellent (according to the head). They are being supported (and closely monitored) by researchers at University College, London. Apparently the teenage ‘time-shift’ lasts till about the age of 21, but till then, they’re likely to be able to concentrate better, read better, learn better and get better exam results if they’re allowed to get that bit of extra sleep in the morning.
Kindles and other ebook readers have been included in the UK nation’s official shopping basket for the first time, which is compiled by the Office for National Statistics. The ONS report said: “E-books represent a significant and growing market, with recent increases in the number of people reading books digitally.”
Grupo Cometa (a car and motocycle dealer, Cáceres, Brazil) pays its employees for reading books. The company developed a reading programme to help employees to enhance their skills and knowledge. To encourage employees to read books the company pays them an extra one month salary at the end of the year. The main purpose of the programme is to boost professional development with books on relations, management and the company’s operations. The programme is voluntary but 80% of 1350 employees who work in 15 shops already joined it. “Some employees made comments that since they started reading, their skills improved, as well as the relations at home, and some even started to study again.” said in “Uol Economia” CEO of the Grupo Cometa, Cristinei Melo.
How are you celebrating the World Book Day today?
I’ve download a few books and will spend 20 minute speed reading them. Just got Who Owns The Future by Jaron Lanier who coined the term ‘virtual reality’. Although the word ‘virtual’ was originally coined by John Duns Scotus in the 13th century (to denote God) who develop a concentration technique for reading sometimes called ‘the duns cap’. Watch an interview with Jaron Lanier talking about the future of internet and why we should be paid for walking down the street.
German translation of the Speed Reading Bible is now available on Kindle: SchnlLsn – die Schnelllesebibel: Das Buch ds schnlln Lsns – Schnelllesebuch mit 37 Techniken, Tipps und Strategien für ultraschnelles Lesen (Speed Reading) (SchnelLesen Speed Reading Schneller lesen)
What can we learn from Sherlock Holmes in terms of speed reading and reading in general? Reading is just one part of the learning process ie getting information in and then thinking about that information makes it ours and useful. But having the right ‘speed reading’ mindset before approaching any written material will also help to get better quality of information (knowing what to look at and what to overlook – ie the previewing technique). Sherlock Holmes was a perfect example of a lifelong learner following his particular type of scientific method. Sherlock Holmes would approach his cases with a specific mindset and a goal (similar to speed reading SMART purpose). Constant feedback loop was also essential to Holmes learnings, tells Maria Konnikova, author of a new book Mastermind: How To Think Like Sherlock Holmes. Watch her talking about how to think like Sherlock Holmes.
John Seely Brown is an innovation expert shares surprising and counterintuitive insights, what surfers can teach CEOs about collaborative learning in a clip called “Accelerating the pace of collaborative learning.” Key points: 1) Create a learning community to study best practices; 2) Self-cretique, compete internally, and learn together; 3) Study adjacencies, repurpose innovation.
Italian translation of The Speed Reading Bible is now available on Kindle: Lttra Vlce – La Bibbia della Lettura Veloce: Il Libro della Lettura Veloce con 37 Tecniche e Strategie per la Lettura Super Rapida (Lettura Rapida, Lettura Veloce)
The latest version of iBooks features scrolling facility as an alternative to page turning. Unfortunately, they’ve missed the trick. The only way to scroll is to push with your finger which covers the text you’re trying to read. Why didn’t they advantage of the tilt facility which has been used on some apps where the angle of tilt allows you to control the speed of scrolling. The bonus was it reminded me of the brilliant video explaining the difference between books and scrolls. If you haven’t seen it – take a look now.
Information (overload) this is the fastest growing phenomenon on this planet. Information is superabundant. According to The Economist the amount of digital information increases tenfold every five years. But another source (EMC2 – responsible for the World Information Growth Ticker above) says that, “The world’s information is doubling every two years. In 2011 the world will create a staggering 1.8 zettabytes. By 2020 the world will generate 50 times the amount of information.” In another study “How much information?” researchers Hal Varian and Peter Lyman measured the total production of all information channels in the world for two different years, 2000 and 2003. Varian and Lyman estimate that the total production of new information in 2000 reached 1.5 exabytes. They explain that is about 37,000 times as much information as is in the entire holdings Library of Congress. For one year! Three years later the annual total yielded 3.5 exabytes. That yields a 66% rate of growth in information per year. So, nobody knows exactly how much information there is and how fast it’s growing but we know for sure that there is far too much information that we can process.
And information changes and goes out of date all the time (as suggested by this book ‘The Half-Life of Facts: Why Everything We Know Has an Expiration Date‘ by Samuel Arbesman. Smoking has gone from doctor-recommended to deadly. We used to think the Earth was the center of the universe and that Pluto was a planet. For decades, we were convinced that the Brontosaurus was a real dinosaur. Eating meat used to be good for you, then bad, then good again – now it’s a matter of opinion. I have no idea any longer whether or not red wine is good for me. In short, what we know about the world is constantly changing. Information overload = information unload. Much of what we believe to be factual has an expiration date, but the good news is that we can see it coming (according to NewScientist).
That’s why speed reading can help you to keep up to date with information in your field.
Research has shown connections between fitness and brain health, which leads to better brain function and cognitive skills such as reading and memory. According to co-author Trent A. Petrie, PhD (University of North Texas): “Cardiorespiratory fitness was the only factor that we consistently found to have an impact on both boys’ and girls’ grades on reading and math tests… This provides more evidence that schools need to re-examine any policies that have limited students’ involvement in physical education classes.” Previous research suggests the same for mental acuity in seniors (and to remodel the brain), so physical fitness is equally essential for all age groups. Read more…
>7 Smile – enjoy what you’re reading
Summary: Being in a happy, positive frame of mind makes it easier to take in information. Even faking a smile can have a similar effect.
Your state can strongly affect how well you read at any given moment – and therefore there are several techniques designed to get you into the best state for reading. The first is simply to smile. And even when you relax your face, keep the smile in your eyes. Feel your inner smile.
Research has shown that people understand better and take in more information when they’re happy. So the happier you are, the better reader you become.
Further research has shown that the physical effect of smiling can affect our mood positively (it releases endorphins, the happy hormones) and make us feel even more like smiling. So if you don’t initially feel like smiling, ‘fake it till you make it!’
And yet more research indicated that seeing someone else smile, or even just looking at the picture of a smile, can cause you to smile.
DO IT NOW… Smile
Watch this informative talk about the benefits of smiling
The main reason I wanted to digitise all my books was to have access to them at any time (on my Mac, iPad, iPhone, online) and also to be able to search the whole e-library rather than just individual books. And I wanted to get rid of my bookshelves, because I was moving house. Also Google’s attempt to digitise all the books on this planet has got a bit stuck – this is my one small step in the same direction.
Book digitising in 3 easy (but quite time consuming) steps:
Step 1. Get a double-page scanner and paper guillotine cutter – Fujitsu ScanSnap S1500M Document Scanner and A3 guillotine paper cutter photo trimmer heavy duty. Better still borrow them (which is what I did) or share the cost if you buy it, either directly or on eBay. The scanner is a good investment (I’ve scanned all my tax documents, etc).
Step 2. Cut/chop off the spines of the books with your guillotine. Keep the pages in order.
Step 3. Run the pages through the scanner (very straightforward and it scans both sides at the same time), but you need to flick through the book to check for stuck pages. (If the scanner detects pages that are stuck together or several pages going through together at one time, it will stop which allows you to sort out the problem and continue – but you want to avoid this if possible.) Both sides of the page are scanned at the same time (but you can set for a single side scan if you’re scanning just a document). Because it’s a small scanner you can do only 50-100 pages at a time depending on the type of paper.
You can’t scan bigger than A4 formats. You can save the files in different formats – I’ve chosen pdfs. The scanner can convert the images to text if you choose that option, but it will slow down the process so I’ve opted out of that. Instead I converted the pdf images to text later using the latest version of Adobe Acrobat Pro (OCR: Optical Character Recognition – Documents > OCR Text Recognition). This software converted the whole folder which made the pdf fully searchable and editable – but this did take a few days (for all 700+ books). I tend to read ebooks on my iPad now and iAnnotate PDF is probably the best app for reading and editing pdfs.
A couple of tips from me and Tom (who did it first and lent me his scanner and the cutter – for which I’m very grateful – he’s a great NLP trainer and has some interesting NLP online courses: http://www.nlptimes.com/)
1. There will be lots of blank pages at the back of the books – reuse them as scrap paper. But remove them before scanning. Good eco-karma.
2. Flick through the books to check for stuck pages, especially at the beginning of the book. Also for bookmarks and post-it notes that might be there – these might jam the scanner. I kept the folded corners intact because this is one of the ways I mark important information. The key value of this process is that I wanted the wisdom from the books ie all the underlining and highlighting and comments I’ve made. That’s the true value of digitising books. I don’t need more raw knowledge or information – I could easily get these books as ebooks at a later date. What is valuable is the work I’ve already put into the books when I’ve sped read them and noted what is key to me.
3. As a byproduct of the scanning process – I’ve downloaded (photoread) lots of books just by flicking through them to check for stuck pages. Downloading is one of the 37 speed reading techniques that we teach that primes the brain with the information from the book so when you work with the book it’s easier to process.
4. You can name the files later if you need to. I used APA (American Psychological Association) format which I had to use when doing my Masters in Environmental Psychology which goes like this: Norman, S., Cisek, J. (2010). Spd Rdng – The Speed Reading Bible. Amazon: Kindle.
There are other referencing styles.
5. Because I was scanning lots of books every day – about 10 books/hour my fingers got quite dirty. The tendency is to lick your fingers to turn or check pages. DON’T DO IT! Some books can still have some unpleasant chemicals in both the paper and the ink – you don’t want to ingest the toxins. So don’t lick your fingers – check out The Name of The Rose (book or film) – oops I’ve just spoiled if for you – sorry. But actually, knowing the ending of the book is good for your learning.
In America they have a book digitizing service available for as little as 1 USD/book – I wish there was somebody here in the UK doing this – it would have saved me about 6 days of scanning.
I’ve filmed the whole process and will publish a video about it shortly so bookmark this blog now.
Common sense and speed reading suggests that if your vocabulary is large you’d be reading faster and more. Now a US study suggests that the amount of talk between parents and children can predict their future achievements better than class, race or income. Frank Field, the UK government adviser on poverty, found that a child from a middle-class, stable family has on average heard 33 million words before it starts school. And that is 23 million more words than a poor child. (Obviously, he means the amount of talking, not the amount of unique words. English language has only over 1 million words.) Field suggests that poor parenting skills in deprived families lower a child’s prospects by the age of three. Field started a pilot schemes in Birkenhead to teach the art of parenting which will include a detailed ‘highway code’ agreement for parents, a ‘parenting curriculum’ at school and rites of passage.