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10 Days to Faster Reading + Free BONUS speed reading test

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10 days to Faster reading

One Sentence Summary: Reading fast is a professional and personal asset, it is possible to improve your reading speed significantly by using various techniques and methods, like the use of guides (cards, fingers, pens…) or skimming, scanning and skipping … and plenty of others.

by Abby Marks Beale, 200 pages, published in 2001.

Summary and Book Report:

The first book of my personal challenge! It’s the first one on the PMBA list because it will supposedly increase our reading speed significantly. I am already a good reader with an average of 400 words per minute and a retention rate of almost 90%.

The author ranks readers in the following way:

Words per minute Reader Type
100-200 slow reader
200-300 average reader
300-400 good reader
400-500 excellent reader

But do you know your reading speed? I can offer you a way to measure it: click on the "start" button below, and read the rest of this article at your normal reading speed. When you are done, click the "stop" button at the end of the article.


This book made me realize that everyone reads at a different speed. I made 17 of my friends take the test (yes, really), here are the results:

Words per Minute Number
< 150 1
150 to 200 1
200 to 250 7
250 to 300 3
300 to 250 3
> 350 4

As you can see, there are two important groups : one group of average readers with 200 to 250 wpm, and another group of good or excellent readers with more than 300 wpm. This survey was only done on a small sample, but it demonstrates that there is a large variation in reading speed between different people.

Obviously, and this is where the author begins, reading fast is an asset in life, and perhaps even more so if you are a student; in the same amount of time, a reader with 400 wpm can read two books and his buddy with 200 wpm can only read one. You can easily imagine what a difference that can make at the end of a single school year.

And even after graduation, there are so many situations -  apart from books – where knowing how to read quickly and grasp essential knowledge is an asset: if you need to read a report, or a magazine, or documents, or brochures or whatever else whether for work or for personal reasons.

At work, you will get the edge over a slower reader by accumulating more knowledge when preparing a meeting, for example (again, you will need to correctly process the knowledge you get), and in your personal life by saving time every time you read, allowing you to stay informed, or to relax more.

The book is supposed to increase your reading speed. It is divided into 10 chapters, designed to be read in as many days (but you can obviously read it faster, as I did),  all built around a comparison with driving a racing car.

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The recommended techniques can be divided primarily into five different categories:

  • Challenge the ideas and concepts, which were valid when you learned to read, but no longer apply, to read every word, that you shouldn’t use your fingers or anything else to guide you, etc. This is the main theme of chapter 1.
  • Guides: Every chapter teaches a new one. The idea is to guide your eyes with something. This might be your fingers, a business card, a piece of paper, etc. This allows you to force your eyes to go where you want them to, and at the speed you want.
  • Everything that has to do with concentration, with your environment, and to the reasons why you are reading. Asking yourself simply "what am I expecting from this book? What do I want to find out? What am I going to do with this new knowledge? " allows you to choose and retain more easily what is important.
  • Adapt to what you are reading and the content: you don’t read a novel, a newspaper or a technical manual in the same way.
  • The techniques allow you to determine what not to read: skim, scan and skip.

Every chapter recommends a text for you to determine your reading speed and your retention rate. This allows you to track your progress.

Book Critique:

Strong Points:

  • Makes you understand that different people have different reading speeds.
  • Makes you understand clearly the importance of knowing how to read fast and well (with a good retention rate).
  • Provides numerous techniques: everyone needs to figure out which ones suit them and work well for them.
  • Every chapter includes a test to measure your progress.

Weak Points:

  • The techniques, methods and tricks become repetitive throughout the chapters.
  • I don’t think a good or excellent reader will significantly improve their reading speed with this book.

Elapsed Time:

Number of words between "Start" and "Stop" : 643

Number of words per minute:

What is your reading speed? Answer to the poll and Share your comments with us!


My rating :(for good or excellent readers)

(for average or slow readers)

Have you read the book? How do you rate it?

Mediocre - No interestReasonable - One or two interesting paragraphsIntermediate - Some goods ideasGood - Had changed my life on one practical aspectVery Good - Completely changed my life ! (1 votes, average: 3.00 out of 5)
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Read more reviews about 10 Days to Faster Reading on Amazon.

PMBA Challenge:

Cost of Book : € 7.76
Total Cost of Project: € 7.76
Amount of Time to Read (and do the exercises): 6 H
Amount of Time to write this article: 2H
Total Time:

8 H

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7 Comments

  1. Jared Lyda says:

    Thanks for the wpm test Olivier! I clocked in at 438 but I would guess I only retained about 35-40% of the reading. Reading isn’t my problem as much as retention is…I’m looking forward to purchasing this book to improve my retention. Side note: Have you read “The Goal” yet? I’m am almost finished with it and highly recommend it.
    Hope all is well!

    Jared Lyda
    http://www.fireandmotionblog.com

  2. […] at which we read is an asset – or a burden – for our success. Do you know your reading speed? Take an online test, compare yourself with other readers and rank yourself. If you are under 350 words a minute, you […]

  3. […] 10 Days to Faster Reading (+ a Free BONUS speed reading test) […]

  4. This is a great experiment and I will follow it from now on. I have just published my “wish” reading list for 2009 (http://critic.typepad.com/planetsab/2009/01/reading-list-fo.html), it is much shorter. However, I just read The Evelyn Wood seven day speed-reading programme. The speeds promised there are 1500+ words a minute. My copy is a bit roughed up, but drop me an email, if you want it, it’s yours. And each chapter takes only about 30 mins to read max.
    cheers

  5. Hello Sebastien,

    Thank you very much for your generous offer, I drop you an email immediately. Well, if you can of course send your book in France 😉

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