NLP CONFERENCE, London 12-14 November 2010, Reader to Speed Reader to Spd Rdr

We’re giving a short presentation at the NLP Conference in London on Sunday 14th November, 2010 at 1330 – 1415.
Reader to Speed Reader to Spd Rdr

Many people perceive themselves as slow readers. But becoming a speed reader is not just about reading more quickly. As Einstein said, you can’t solve the problem on the level at which it’s been created. When we shift to a new level of identity the appropriate behaviours will follow. This session will give you some of the skills required to become a speed reader. When you leave the session, you can expect to be reading about twice as fast as when you came in, but more importantly, you should be getting through up to 10 times more material in the time you have available.

Hot tips for e-readers: use heatmap map of passages or collective wisdom

Kindle ebooks allow to share individual insights into the ebooks. E-readers can aggregate their experience of a text, so that anyone can identify those passages that collective wisdom had identified as particularly pertinent. Enough ereaders need to highlight a passage to be visible to others as an aggregate or a reading heat map. It’s a great idea to save time reading ebooks by showing key passages illuminated by layering all readers’ highlights for the same text. More insights into ebooks, e-reading, etc

Amazone’s new Kindle e-book reader

The new Amazon’s device for reading ebooks costs £100 and is a size of of a paperback book. Will it change the way we read ebook? It can store up to 3500 ebooks and one can download new titles in seconds from the online catalogue of more than 400 000 ebooks. Amazon is already selling most of ebooks for $9.99 (£7.53) and promises to undercut prices of paper books and ebooks rivals such as Apple and Sony. “In the US we now sell more electronic books than physical ones and we are happy to bring this to the UK,” said Steve Kessel, Amazon Kindle’s senior vice president. (To be exact, it had sold 143 ebooks for every 100 hardbacks). I’ve been using Kindle on my iPhone and iPad (and on my Mac) for some time now and I love it. Download Kindle for FREE to your mobile, iPad or PC/Mac and start ereading. To save time on reading start with book summaries. We recommend: Passing Time in the Loo: Vol 3 – Book Summaries (Summaries of Classics, Novels, Plays, Short Stories, Children’s Classics and Operas) [Kindle Edition] –  more than 150 books summarised. And to brush on Shakespeare: Passing Time in the Loo: Shakespeare – Summaries of Shakespeare’s Greatest Sonnets and Plays (Comedies, Tragedies, Histories) (Passing Time in the Loo: … Glimpse Of His World And Greatest Plays) [Kindle Edition]

Do people read slower on Kindle and iPad?

Recent research by the Nielsen Norman Group found that it takes longer to read books on a Kindle or an iPad than in print. On average reading speeds declined by 6.2% on the iPad and 10.7 on the Kindle compared with print versions.  I personally think I’m reading much more in volume on my iPad and iPhone, simply because it’s more convenient and accessible way of processing information. I believe once we read more on portable devices such as iPad and iPhone we’ll develop our ability to read ebooks faster than print books.  The sales of ebooks on Amazon overtook the print sales for the first time last Christmas. Read more on this study

Smell and sound to help with concentration and memory

An English primary school is releasing peppermint aroma into its classrooms in an attempt to boost pupils’ concentration. All Saints Roman Catholic primary school in Anfield, Liverpool, is also playing sounds of running water and rustling leaves in lessons as part of a study into ways to improve the teaching environment. Full story

World Book Day – 23 April 2010

Koichiro Matsuura, Director General of UNESCO speaks on World Book Day: “The future of books and copyright is a question that concerns us all. It concerns all those who dream of a world in which knowledge is shared and the values of tolerance, solidarity, and dialogue can flourish. Whatever form they may take, form the most traditional to the most innovative, books offer, now more than ever, an irreplaceable medium of information, reflection and education.” More on World Book Day

Mac version of Amazon’s Kindle launched – get all your ebooks on your Mac and iPhone

Finally, Mac version of Amazon’s Kindle was launched – so you can read all your ebooks on your Mac and iPhone (without buying the Kindle device). It’s available as a free download Kindle for Mac (for PC click here) and iPhone. To read ebooks on iPhone you need to download Kindle App for iPhone. To buy ebooks for Kindle you’d need to have Amazon.com account – which you can set up with your UK address. And if you still love buying hard copies of books – you can do it with just one click with Kindle Mobile App UK – I love it. Be warned it’s very addictive and can be expensive. In spd rdng we recommend to preview the books before you buy them – this is not possible with most books bought online. More on Kindle on iPad

Great browser productivity enhancer, hugely powerful plug-in and FREE

Hyperwords browser plugin has a hugely powerful range of context-sensitive text tools. It can translate words and figures directly on the web page. It’s highly customisable. Hyperwords makes surfing the web better experience by performing common tasks with great ease than ever before. (No Safari version and it doesn’t automatically recognise currencies. Get it now.
Hyperwords – Browser productivity plug-in for  Google Chrome and Firefox

Interactive reading – the future of reading

The release of iPad and iBooks Store next month signals the new area for reading – interactive reading. Although reading on screen is nothing new (Google has been digitalising the world’s libraries since 2004) the publishing industry is ready to reinvent the book. The new platforms will allow readers to interact with one another in a social networks, travel books will let users send e-postcards, and kids will digitally paint-in their colouring books via the iPad’s touchscreen, among other things. “What was once a liner activity is an interactive experience. The iPad – it’s where the future is” says Anna Rafferty, the managing director of Penguin Digital.
Watch this video about the amazing new possibilities of interactive books of ‘iMagineering’ by Britain’s Penguin Books

Read more about interactive 3D books

Sleep lessons – why sleep is such a winner

A new study suggests that teenagers get only four hours of sleep a night and as a result of that their school performance is suffering. So pupils are offered sleep lessons. (Read more on the role of sleep in learning) Poor sleep impacts health in many ways from ill health to behavioural problems. Sleep is very important to maintain many normal skills such as speech, memory, innovative and flexible thinking. Lack of sleep is said to have contributed to a number of disasters such as Chernobyl and Exxon Valdez. Not enough of sleep has a huge impact on emotional and physical well being including stress, depression, blood pressure, weight problems, diabetes, and risk of heart disease. Also studies suggest that when you lack sleep you’re more likely to make bad decisions. Read more about the importance of napping.

Be smart – start school at 10am
For all sleepy teenagers it could be the perfect excuse. One school thought it’s taking this seriously. At Monkseaton school, a Tyneside comprehensive lessons will start now at 10am rather than 9am. This project is overseen by three scientists including an Oxfrord neuro-science professor. The results look promising: lateness has dropped 8%, long-term absence 27% and GCSE results i maths and English in January are significantly improved compared to the last year. So it looks that starting the school later is good for teenagers’ unusual body clocks with the good results to follow. Read the full story

Accelerated Learning Resources and Books

The brain and learning
Caine, Renate Nummela and Geoffrey Caine. Making Connections: Teaching and the Human Brain, Addison-Wesley, 1994.
Caine, Renate Nummela and Geoffrey Caine. Unleashing the Power of Perpetual Change: The Potential of Brain-Based Teaching, ASCD, 1997.
Diamond, Marian. Enriching Heredity: The Impact of the Environment on the Brain, Free Press, 1988.
Diamond, Marian. Magic Trees of the Mind, E.P. Dutton, 1998.
Golden, Daniel. “Building a Better Brain,” National Geographic, June 1994.
Hart, Leslie. Human Brain and Human Learning, Longman Publishing, 1983.
Herrmann, Ned. The Creative Brain, Ned Herrmann Group, 1995.
Jensen, Eric. Brain Based Learning, Turning Point Publishing, 1996.
Jensen, Eric. Introduction to Brain-Compatible Learning, The Brain Store, 1988.
Jensen, Eric. Teaching With the Brain in Mind, ASCD, 1998.
LeDoux, Joseph. The Emotional Brain, Simon & Schuster, 1996.
Russell, Peter. The Brain Book, Plume, 1979.
Short, Cynthia. Dendrites Are Forever (workbook with exercises for maintaining and growing brain capacity into old age), self-published (406) 862-1095.
Sylwester, Robert. A Celebration of Neurons: An Educator’s Guide to the Human Brain, ASCD, 1995.

Continue reading

Read summaries – save time

I’ve just read 6 books in an hour – thanks to the best collection of book summaries.

Read summaries - remember more. Passing Time in The Loo - the best of collection of 150+ books summaries

Passing Time in The Loo – the best of collection of 150+ books summaries

Not just easy peasy books, but Anna Karenina (Tolstoy), For whom the bell tolls (Hemingway), Don Quixote, Das Kapital (Marx), The Origin of Species (Darwin) and – by way of light relief – Shakespeare’s King Lear. All books I ‘wanted to have read’ but didn’t think I’d ever get round to reading and. To be honest, wasn’t really looking forward to reading). How did I do it? I read brilliant two-page summaries in ‘Passing Time in the Loo’. I got the stories, a flavour of the books and some info on their relevance. And I didn’t feel bad about it because research shows that people remember more from summaries than from reading the books. And loads more goodies to choose from tomorrow. Just checked out the publisher’s website (Passing Time in The Loo – 150+ classic books summaries) and they’re doing a deal – buy Passing Time in the Loo vol I or vol II and get the best of Shakespeare’s summaries free. Better than Amazon! But watch out – don’t be tempted to get ‘The Great American Bathroom Book’ or ‘Touch of Classics’ as well – they’re just the ‘loo’ books under different titles.  Read more about the importance of summaries and how they help with remembering information

Knowing top plots in fiction helps with speed reading novels too.

Sleep more. Researchers say an afternoon nap prepares the brain to learn better and remember more

How siestas help you remember more

Sleep Pods devised by MetroNap

Sleep Pods devised by MetroNap

“It has already been established that those who siesta are less likely to die of heart disease (people who siesta for 20-30 minutes each day are 30% less likely to suffer from heart disease as sleep lowers stress on the heart). Now, Matthew Walker and his colleagues at the University of California, Berkeley, have found that they probably have better memory, too. A post-prandial snooze, Dr Walker has discovered, sets the brain up for learning. The ideal nap, follows a cycle of between 90 and 100 minutes (according the research, napping for 90 minutes after lunch can improve your productivity by up to 10%). The benefits to memory of a nap, says Dr Walker, are so great that they can equal an entire night’s sleep. He warns, however, that napping must not be done too late in the day or it will interfere with night-time sleep. Moreover, not everyone awakens refreshed from a siesta. The grogginess that results from an unrefreshing siesta is termed “sleep inertia”. This happens when the brain is woken from a deep sleep with its cells still firing at a slow rhythm and its temperature and blood flow decreased. Sara Mednick, from the University of California, San Diego, suggests that non-habitual nappers suffer from this more often than those who siesta regularly. It may be that those who have a tendency to wake up groggy are choosing not to siesta in the first place. Perhaps, though, as in so many things, it is practice that makes perfect.” Read the full story in Economist

Read more on the role of sleep in learning

Cool bookshelves fighting back – for the love of books

speedreadingshelves

Puntmobles Perec Wall-hung Shelf – click on the image to buy it

With iPad and Kindle paving the way for the virtual bookland on one hand and bookless world on the other, designers are turning humble book storage into a work of art. See our selection of cool bookshelves see our Links/Reading resources page. “There’s been a bibliophile backlash. Books have morphed from being ‘stuff to store’ into a decorating opportunity.”
Read the full article with all the links to the top bookshelves designers.

Memory control discovered in forgetful flies

You may not like forgetting things but a new research suggests that any healthy brain need to be able to loose old memories. A  protein has been discovered in flies that is the key to forgetting. At this time the scientists don’t know if this protein has the same role in people. If people forget in similar fashion as flies do, this could pave the way to new ways to enhance memories or erase unwanted ones. Read the whole story in the NewScientist

Competition for the iPad – the Bonnier Mag+ project

Watch this video prototype of the Mag+ project. It could be a serious competitor to the iPad that Apple recently announced. You want to curl up with a book or magazine and lose yourself in. Can Mag+ project portable tablet e-reader deliver that experience?

Read how mobile tablet devices will change the world of computing.

How design can save newspapers – watch this video of Jacek Utko, the award-winning, the world’s best newspaper and magazine designer talking at TED

How do you store 35 million books?

35 million books could be stored on a single cartridge made using a new type of storage tape developed by IBM and Fujitsu. Can iPad beat that? Not for some time. This new cartridge has the capacity to hold up to 35TB of uncompressed data. This is about 44 times the capacity of today’s IBM LTO Generation 4 cartridge. A capacity of 35TB of data is sufficient to store the text of 35 million books, which would require 248 miles (399 km) of bookshelves. The biggest bookshop in Europe – Waterstones in Piccadilly, London UK SW1Y 6WW (tel 020 7851 2400) stores about 250 000 books on four floors in over eight and a half miles of shelving.

Read about the importance of summaries

The best book summaries

The books that change the world: The Checklist Manifesto – How To Get Things Right

In The Checklist Manifesto: How To Get Things Right (Profile), a surgeon Atul Gawande proposes how simple procedural checklists have a fundamental effect on the number of patients who recovered after operations (up to 47% more people survived in hospitals where checklist were used – next time you have an operation make sure to request that they use a checklist!). The book offers amazing insights into the power of simple to-do lists. The applications and implications are tremendous. This book is changing and improving the lives of thousands of people while you’re reading this. Read it to improve yours.

Speed reading made easy on the iPad via iBook Store – revolution in ebook reading

Amazon Kindle tried to do it and Apple just did it! Apple revolutionised listening to music and now they’ve revolutionised ebook reading with the iPad via iBook Store. Five big partners… Penguin, Harper Collins, Macmillion, Simon & Shuster, Hachette Book Group… and more will sell their ebooks via iBook Store to be read on the iPad.

“It has a bookshelf. In addition there’s a button which is the store — we’ve created the new iBook Store. You can download right onto your iPad.” The store is very similar to iTunes. Same modal pop-overs. Pricing doesn’t look too bad. The book page display is nice. You can turn pages slowly or fast for speed reading. “You can change the font… whatever you want. And that is iBooks.” “So iBooks again, a great reader, a great online bookstore. All in one really great app. We use the ePub format. We’re very excited about this.” said Steve Jobs at the launch of the iPad and iBooks Store today in San Francisco (6pm London time). Read how mobile tablet devices will change the world of computing.

iBooks Store on iPod - speed reading ebooks on the go

iBooks Store on the iPod – speed reading ebooks on the go

Watch Apple video on the iPad below (if you want to just watch the iBook Store and the ebook reader skip to minute 4)
For more info go to the iPad, iBooks Store and ebook reading

Read more on speed reading on Stanza free ebook reader for iPhone

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y2Hz8dhQw8Q

3D Books – Embedded electronics bring pop-up books to life

Move over Kindle, there’s a new type of electronic book on the scene – and this one’s got pop-ups. The interactive pages come alive with LED lights, sounds and even vibrate in response to touch.

The Electronic Popable book, developed by the High-Low Tech group at the MIT Media Lab, has electronic circuitry embedded in its pages that turns the tabs, flaps and wheels of a traditional pop-up into switches and a variety of sensors. The interactive pages come alive with LED lights, sounds and even vibrate in response to touch.

Watch the Electronic Popable book in action

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AI-6wMlaVTc&feature=player_embedded#

Venus fly traps spring up invitingly from one page; sensors in the trap’s jaws respond to the user’s touch, gently closing around the probing finger as it withdraws. The sensors control the amount of electric current flowing through springs in the leaf. The springs are made of the shape memory alloy nickel-titanium and contract to close the leaf shut as their coils are heated by the current. The leaves reopen as the wire cools.

To create the pages for the book, mechanical engineer Jie Qi and Lab director Leah Buechley used off-the-shelf electrically conductive paints and fabrics, adding custom-made magnetic components programmed using a standard integrated circuit. “The innovation was in finding new uses for these easily available materials,” Qi says.

This battery-operated pop-up book will be presented at the Tangible, Embedded and Embodied Interfaces conference in Cambridge, Massachusetts, next week.
Source: NewScientist

Reading reduces stress.

Just 6 minutes of reading a book reduces stress by 68%.

A study at the University of Sussex last year indicated that reading for even just six minutes reduced stress levels in study subjects by 68%. Reading was the most prefered method for reducing stress when compared to other typical stress reducing activities like listening to music or going for a walk. Losing yourself in a book causes all of your muscles, including the heart, to relax.

Listening to music reduced the levels by 61%, having a cup of tea or coffee lowered them by 54% and taking a walk by 42%. Playing video games brought them down by 21% from their highest level but still left the volunteers with heart rates above their starting point. Dr Lewis, cognitive neuropsychologist said: “Losing yourself in a book is the ultimate relaxation. This is particularly poignant in uncertain economic times when we are all craving a certain amount of escapism. It really doesn’t matter what book you read, by losing yourself in a thoroughly engrossing book you can escape from the worries and stresses of the everyday world and spend a while exploring the domain of the author’s imagination. This is more than merely a distraction but an active engaging of the imagination as the words on the printed page stimulate your creativity and cause you to enter what is essentially an altered state of consciousness.”

If you can’t get into a story in just six minutes to achieve relaxation? Make sure to keep a book with you at your work desk, on a trip or best on your iPod or iPhone. Just read a chapter while waiting for the kettle to boil or while waiting in a queue.

Soon librarians, like doctors will be prescribing a good book alongside exercise and a healthy diet.

Interactive books – the future of publishing now

There are at the moment four interactive book formats on the market. Here are the examples:
Slice
(free) Penguin’s wetellstories.co.uk plays with narrative forms and is a pointer to the sort of books apps to come. slice is made up of a blog by a young girl (in reality, novelist Toby Litt), with councurrent entries by her parents as well as messages on Twitter. Be sure to click on them in the right order.
Fighting Fantasy (£1.79 each) These role-playing books, first published in 1982, are being turned into iPhone apps. The gameplay is unaltered: construct a character by rolling dice, then pick your way through a quest, turn by turn. Search for Fighting Fantasy in the iTunes App Store.
Dr Seuss’ ABC (£1.79) The 1963 chldren’s primer is also an iPhone app. Listen to the narration as the text light up. The American accent grates, however – especially when you come to the letter ‘zee’.
The Death of Bunny Munro (£9.99) Move over, audiobooks – here’s the videobook. This iPhone features footage of Nick Cave, the musician and author, reading his story aloud, complete with mood-setting music. But at nearly 1GB in size, you might need to delete some of his albums to make room for it. Try a free taster of The Death of Bunny Munro as the iPhone app

Prosperity for you in 2010 (with speed reading)

New Year – New You – new opportunities! Even in these times of financial turmoil, with the right tools you can make this your happiest year yet. Start 2010 off right by jump-starting your PROSPERITY (using speed reading techniques)!
We’re offering a special one-day course on achieving greater PROSPERITY in 2010. Application is restricted to people who have previously completed a PhotoReading/Speed Reading course. It gives you a unique opportunity to experience ‘group syntopic processing’ and synergistic collaborative learning from which, in just one day, we can all embody the wisdom from the top books to boost our prosperity and wealth. Take this opportunity to refresh your Spd Rdng skills at the same time!

DATE:
20th February 2010 (Saturday)
TIMES: 9.30am – 5.30pm
VENUE: North London N2
SPECIAL PRICE: £102 (limited places)
Booking and more info on this one of its kind Prosperity course

Winter is good for learning

The days may be cold and short (with lots of snow), but new research states that colder months are good for your brain. A study form Tromso University in Norway found that people’s reaction times, memory and attention span all improve in the winter. Take advantage and catch up on your learning and reading…

Dunce’s corner banned – but how did it all start? What’s the origin of the dunce cap?

Placing pupils in Dunce’s corner could breach a pupil’s human rights, say councils.

This has been used as a punishment in schools since Victorian times. But the original purpose behind ‘Dunces’ was to help pupils to learn better.

Duns cup helps with concentration

The dunce cap can help with concentration

In the 13th century, a Franciscan monk and philosopher and theologian of great repute, John Duns Scotus (from the village of Duns in Scotland), developed a ‘duns cap’ to be worn by children who needed something to help them focus. Detractors of Scotus made fun of the cap. Over time the ‘dunce’s cap’ came to be associated with ‘stupid’ children or someone who is slow at learning, and was eventually misunderstood and used to stigmatise and make fun of such children. Most recently, when Ron Davis was working with children diagnosed as dyslexic, he discovered that asking the children to concentrate on this point was enough to allow many of them to start reading (see his book ‘The Gift of Dyslexia’).

How do we know about this point?

First think about this question: What do the following have in common? Dunces, wizards, saints,  yogis. All (originally) knew the importance of focusing on a point above and behind the crown of the head in order to enhance their ability to concentrate and be fully aware. This point has been well known for many years. It is depicted as a halo in many pictures of Christian saints, yogis know it as the 8th chakra (which gives access to universal wisdom), and witches and wizards wore a hat which reminded them to focus on this point in order to enhance their magic powers.

In speed reading and photoreading this point of concentration is used to help to get into a better state for reading faster and understanding more. It also helps to open the peripheral vision which helps to see more text on a page.

Learn how to focus on the concentration point to double your reading rate

100,000 words we encounter every day – evolution of reading

The speed of modern life is 2.3 words per second, or about 100,000 words a day. That is the verbiage bombarding the average (American) person in the 12 hours they are typically awake and ‘consuming’ information, according to a new study ‘How Much Information?’ by the University of California, San Diego.

    The average American consumes 100,000 words, or about 34 gigabytes of information, every day

The average American consumes 100,000 words, or about 34 gigabytes of information, every day

More great insights from the study:
– Americans read less print media as an overall percentage of their information consumption, but they’re actually reading more than ever in quantity.
– From 1980 to 2008, the number of bytes we consume has increased 6 percent each year. Over 28 years, that’s a 350 percent increase.
– Video game consumption saw the biggest leap in time spent. That’s not just video games as you know them, but also games on your phone and on social media sites such as Facebook.

Evolution of reading 1960-2008

Evolution of reading 1960-2008

The words that tell the story how we live – top words of the decade

The Global Language Monitor documents, analyzes and tracks trends in language the world over, with a particular emphasis upon Global English. For example, English passed the 1,000,000 threshold on June 10, 2009 at 10:22 am GMT. A US web monitoring firm has declared the millionth English word to be Web 2.0, a term for the latest generation of web products and services. English gains a new word every 98 minutes (or about 14.7 new words a day).
The Top Words of 2009

1. Twitter — The ability to encapsulate human thought in 140 characters
2. Obama — The word stem transforms into scores of new words like ObamaCare
3. H1N1 — The formal (and politically correct) name for Swine Flu

4. Stimulus — The $800 billion aid package meant to help mend the US economy
5. Vampire — Vampires are very much en vogue, now the symbol of unrequited love
6. 2.0 — The 2.0 suffix is attached to the next generation of everything

7. Deficit — Lessons from history are dire warnings here
8. Hadron — Ephemeral particles subject to collision in the Large Hadron Collider
9. Healthcare — The direction of which is the subject of intense debate in the US
10. Transparency — Elusive goal for which many 21st c. governments are striving

The Top Words of the Decade, as part of its annual global survey of the English language.
The Top Words were ‘Global Warming’, 9/11, and Obama followed by Bailout, Evacuee, and Derivative; Google, Surge, Chinglish, and Tsunami followed. “Climate Change” was the top phrase, while “Heroes” was the top name; bin-Laden was No. 2.

0.2 – the time in seconds taken by the brain to identify a written word.


							

Boutique bookshops – re-found pleasures of buying books

With online ordering, high-street chain discounts, (Borders closing down), recession – the future of traditional bookshops doesn’t look great. But according to The Bookseller there is a rise of the boutique bookshops. 34 new independent bookshops were open in the UK this year. In one bookshop in Notting Hill coffee is served in china cups and literary-inspired perfumes are sold with the Austen and Tolken. Down the road, Cinephilia West has a screening room, while Phaidon’s pop-up bookshop in Piccadilly is coffee-table-book nirvana. New bread of bookshops offering everything from cosy reading room to home-made biscuits. This is a return of book-buying as an enchanting experience.

The 100 Best Books of the Decade according to The Times

The top 10 books of the decade (according to The Times magazine):

1 The Road by Cormac McCarthy (2006)
2 Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi (2003)

3 Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance by Barack Obama (2004)
4 Masterworks of the Classical Haida Mythtellers trans Robert Bringhurst
(2002
5 Suite Française by Irène Némirovsky
(2006)
6 The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference by Malcolm Gladwell
(2000) Speed-Read ‘Thin slicing’ of Malcolm Gladwell’s new book Outliers: The Story of Success
7 Life of Pi by Yann Martel
(2002)
8 Payback: Debt and the Shadow Side of Wealth by Margaret Atwood
(2008)
9 Atonement by Ian McEwan
(2001)
10 The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown
(2003)
Check out the full list of the 100 best books of the decade by the Times

Read top business and executive book summaries

Read only summaries, not chapters – you’ll learn more

Students learn more from summaries than entire chapters – research on summaries confirms

“In a series of experiments, researchers at Carnegie Mellon University compared five-thousand-word chapters from college textbooks with one-thousand-word summaries of those chapters. The textbooks varied in subject: Russian history, African geography, macroeconomics. But the subject made no difference: in all cases, the summaries worked better. When students were given the same amount of the time with each – twenty to thirty minutes – they learned more from the summaries than they did from the chapters. This was true whether the students were tested twenty minutes after they read the material or one year later. In either case, those who read the summaries recalled more than those who read the chapters.” from Errornomics, Why we make mistakes and what we can do to avoid them by Joseph Hallinan

Good summaries are short – like miniskirts – short enough to retain the interest but long enough to cover the subject.

We’ve been saying that for some time now – just download the FREE summary of 37 Speed Reading Techniques

Speed read about the importance of reading summaries (spd rdng technique #26) for getting overview firsts

Read the best book summaries

Food for thought and reading

The right diet can help with learning

Happy foods for boosting memory, learning power and concentration are bananas (excellent source of starchy carbohydrate, which encourages production of the ‘happy hormone’ serotonin), green vegetables such as broccoli, cabbage, spinach and nuts and seeds (great source of magnesium, which helps the body to make serotonin). Other serotonin producing foods are sardines, foie gras and cottage cheese. Of course, chocolate is the one snack that everyone knows instinctively will give them a lift. Chocolate, especially the dark, good quality organic variety, contains high quantities of phenols, antioxidants that boost mood, and N-acylethanoloamine chemicals, which stimulate the brain to release endorphins. But chocolate is fattening, so the key is to have a piece or tow, not a whole bar. Maintaining hydration is crucial to ensure an even mood. Even small decreases  in hydration levels can leave your feeling grumpy. Keep water to hand to top up fluids regularly. Based on research published in the British Journal of Psychiatry (BJP) last week.

The 10 best reference websites

1. The CIA Factbook
This offshoot of the American intelligence agency’s site gives a detailed overview of every country. It also provides information on the history, people, government, economy, geography, communications, transportation, military, and transnational issues for 266 world entities.

2. Biography.com
The website of the Biography Channel is an excellent place to gen up on historical figures and celebrities, while its “Dead Or Not” game shows that beyond a necessary obsession with factual accuracy it has a fun side, too.

3. Onelook.com
Type in a word or phrase and OneLook will offer a quick definition and link to reputable online sources, such as the Cambridge and Hutchinson dictionaries. Wildcard searches, meanwhile – where you need only key in a few words from a word – make it invaluable for Scrabble players and crossword solvers.

4. Onlineconversion.com
Sorted by more than 30 categories, from astronomical units to viscosity, this converts one unit of measurement to another. Google can do something similar – type “20kg in ounces” into the search box, for example -but this site is far more comprehensive.

5. 1911encyclopedia.org
The full 1911 version of the Encyclopaedia-Britannica is now online. Particularly interesting are the accounts of historical figures written while they were alive.

6. Britannica.com
Online access to the modern Britannica costs £49.95 a year, but that compares with £450 for the full set of 32 volumes. More comprehensive than Wikipedia, it also features thousands of audio and video clips.

7. About.com
About was set up in 1996 and can now call on a network of more than 750 experts to answer users’ questions. More than 60m people visit the site each month looking for help on pretty much anything.

8. Specialissues.com/lol
A collection of links to lists that have appeared somewhere in the world’s press. If you need to know the planet’s most valuable 15 football teams, head there.

9. Lii.org
The Librarians’ Internet Index is a US organisation with a collection of links to ‘websites you can trust’. The history and politics ones are a little US-centric, arts and science links are more comprehensive.

10. www.WhatsOnWhen.com
This lists upcoming event from all over the world. Search by date, destination, type of event, keyword or a combination of them all, and maybe discover that your trip to Tahiti coincides with its annual Tarantino week.

 

Bookworms’ dream: ATM for books

It’s not elegant and it’s not sexy – it looks like a large photocopier – but the Espresso Book Machine is being billed as the biggest change for the literary world since Gutenberg invented the printing press more than 500 years ago and made the mass production of books possible. Launched at Blackwell’s Charing Cross Road branch in London, the machine prints and binds books on demand in five minutes, while customers wait. It offers the best of both worlds: the virtually unlimited choice of books on the Internet and the traditional book format. In short, ATM for books.