How to speed read Draft Agreement on the withdrawal of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland from the European Union and the European Atomic Energy Community, 14 November 2018
Draft Agreement on the withdrawal of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland from the European Union and the European Atomic Energy Community, published on 14 November 2018 has 106, 836 words, 585 pages (PDF, 1.37MB) so it shouldn’t be difficult to just read it in a traditional way and easy to speed read it, compared to speed reading the full Chilcot report which consists of 12 volumes and contains 2.6 million words.
106, 836 words only
To put it context, it’s about six times smaller than War and Peace (587,00 words) and about seven times smaller than the Bible (775,00 words) and the complete works of Shakespeare (885,000 words) but it’s much more complex than any of these books.
Speed reading is information extraction so there is no point of reading Draft Agreement on the withdrawal of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland from the European Union and the European Atomic Energy Community, from cover to cover – just for the sake of it because it’s a historic document. Even though it wouldn’t take a long time. If an average, educated person reads about 240-300wpm (word per minute) – it would take about 10 hours to read it from cover to cover with the regular, traditional, slow reading. If you’re a lawyer, barrister or solicitor and you read this kind of documents on regular bases every day – it would take you about 2-3 hours of very detailed speed reading. On average, each page has about 150-300 words so one minute per page is a very conservative estimate for just regular reading this whole document. 600 pages = 0.5 min/page = 5 hours of speed reading and 2-3 hours of super-duper speed reading.
Reading for the message
Just reading or speed reading this document is one thing but understanding the implications and legal ramifications is a completely another matter and only lawyers and experts will be able to unravel it all.
How to speed read Draft Agreement on the withdrawal of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland from the European Union and the European Atomic Energy Community
To speed read it from cover to cover (as a member of the public, not a lawyer) I would:
- get into a good state for speed reading
- download the whole pdf document in 10 minutes to my non-conscious mind (at a rate of 1 second per 1-page spread; 600 pages/sec = 10 minutes) to have an overview and prime myself for the content
- set a SMART purpose for a 20-min speed reading session; for example, a general purpose ‘find 6 problems with this draft’ or a very specific purpose related to my interest or concerns
- rapid read from cover to cover at a rate of 20-30 sec per page, using underlining or zigzag speed reading technique
- take notes in the form of mind-mapping and rhizomapping to remember the key facts or highlight them on the pdf document
- work in 20-min sessions with short breaks until I finish if I needed more information
- use the search function for the relevant info afterwards to double check if I haven’t missed anything
If you don’t have the time or (speed) reading resilience, just speed-read a summary of the Draft Agreement on the withdrawal of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland from the European Union and the European Atomic Energy Community so you feel you’re informed about this historic document.
Who needs to read it
Even if you speed read or read it traditionally, this draft might not get through the Parlament. But all politicians, government lawyers, intelligence and military personnel need to read it first fast and then slowly and many times – with specific questions in mind – so they can avert any mistakes that can damage the UK national interests. They should search the document for things that might be missed or vague or omitted. Every lawyer or expert knows that what’s not there is the most important thing to know. It’s what you don’t know that you don’t know that can harm you.
Criticism of the visual design of the document
- Design-wise, it doesn’t look professional or transparent. Although I’ve downloaded it from the government website, there is no heading or who actually wrote it.
- There is no table of contents (TOC) to give us a general structure and the scope of the whole document.
- There are a lot of references but no direct, clickable links in the document to those references so one would have to search for these online which would take ages unless there are all somewhere in one place.
- No bolded text is used, only caps for the headings (articles). It would help to scan it if the articles and the subject of the articles were bolded for ease of reading. I guess they want it to be a bit green and save on ink when printing this document.