Bill Gates ‘speed’ reading strategies. How Bill Gates reads 50 books/year.

Bill Gates reads about 50 books a year, which comes to about one book a week. That makes him a very good reader compared to other readers (but not speed readers). People in the UK read an average of 10 books/year (with women reading about 12 books/year, and men reading an average of 8 books/year).

With spd rdng you can easily speed read a book a day which will amount to 365 books a year – and will make you a good speed reader.

Watch Bill Gates talking about his four (speed) reading strategies. Most of his reading tips are good and speed reading-compliant.

#1 Take notes in the margins 
Top speed readers work actively with books or texts by taking notes, highlighting and making mindmaps or rhizomaps (spd rdng technique #17). If it’s not your book, post-it notes where invented for this reason.

#2 Don’t start what you can’t finish
This one is not exactly a good reading or speed reading strategy. It sounds (I hope I’m not right) like ‘all-or-nothing’ perfectionist mindset, where if he can’t dedicate enough time to make it perfect, he’s not interested. Top speed readers follow 80/20, Pareto principle (spd rdng technique #5). If you can extract 80% of good quality info from 20% of keywords, you don’t have to read everything and definitely you don’t have to finish a book that is not good. And of course, preview books for about 2-5 minutes (spd rdng technique #2) before you commit to working with them (I think, that’s what Bill Gates had in mind). Speed reading is like eating. Sometimes, it’s like having a snack, sometimes like a meal and sometimes like a banquet. And sometimes it’s like eating a slice of cake (thin-slicing principle/technique).

#2 Paper books vs ebooks
It’s up to you and whatever preferences you have. There are pros and cons for paperbacks and ebooks (read about digital speed reading techniques). Three advantages of ebooks are: 1) search function, 2) popular highlights which give you good overviews and key insights and 3) portability – as a speed reader you don’t want to carry 5-10 books per train journey.

#4 Block out an hour
Top speed readers actually work in 20-minutes work sessions (spd rdng technique #18). Most adults can focus easily for 20-minutes and having frequent breaks (spd rdng technique #27) boosts dopamine levels which are important for memory, motivation and concentration as well as success. Parkinson’s law states work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion” so setting timeframes and sticking to them (spd rdng technique #23) is highly productive.

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