By John Sonmez March 22, 2018

Fast Reading Techniques: How To Read Faster!

Have you ever heard about fast reading? Some of you even think I'm a fast reader by nature.

Fact is: I'm not.

Reading books was definitely one of the things that changed my life the most. The amount of knowledge I was able to get from those books was beyond anything I could ever dream of.

But I read a lot of books. And you must be wondering: “How do you read so many books John?” In this video, I'm going to share with you my fast reading techniques so you can read A LOT of books.

Transcript Of The Video

John Sonmez: Just wanted to give a quick shout out to one of our sponsors, Tech Academy. Tech Academy is a software development bootcamp, which offers online or in-person training. Their program is self paced and offers students flexible scheduling. They also offer open enrollment, which means you can start at any time. If you're looking for a coding boot camp, I definitely recommend checking them out.
Hey. What's going on. I got a question here about fast reading techniques. This might be of interest to you, since I do so many book reviews, you might think, John must be a really fast reader. How does he read so many books? You can check out my whole play list on the book reviews I do. I usually read on average, let's say two to three books a week. It depends. Sometimes I go through a lot of reading periods. Sometimes not so much. Depends on the length of the book, also and whether or not it's in audio format or not, which is one of the things I'm gonna talk about here.
This is from Marco from Serbia. He says, “Dear John. I would like to ask you to share your opinion on fast reading and fast learning techniques that are very popular these days. That question surely interests a lot of students like me and would like to know, is it worth it to invest our time in something like that. Wishing you all the best. Greetings from Serbia. Marco.”
Okay, so Marco, here's the thing, I'll tell you that … First of all, as far as fast reading techniques, I'll tell you this, okay? I'm not an expert on fast reading techniques, okay? I'm gonna give you some hacks here that will make your reading better, all right? Some of this has to do with dropping ego. All right? Here's the thing I would say. If you believe that a fast reading technique could make you read faster, and you are gonna be reading a lot of stuff, which you should be. You should be reading a lot of books in your life. Then, it's worth trying it out yourself, to find out. Okay?
Now, I've tried some programs that, you know … I haven't given it my full effort. I still believe that some speed reading programs may work, but you know, I think it's kind of marginal. I've already found that I read at a very high speed, so I don't know if I could realistically double my reading speed.
A lot of times what I find, is that … I'll talk about this in a second, is that with the audio content that I'm consuming … A lot of the books that I read, I actually listen to the audio version, and yes it is the same thing as reading a fucking book you guys. Come on. I'll talk about that in a minute, but what I find is that some of the books …
I'm going through a book right now by Maslow. It's called … Let's see what it is here. It's called, Toward a Psychology of Being by Abraham Maslow. I'm listening to it on 2X speed, instead of 3X speed, not because I can't understand what he's saying at 3X speed, but I don't have enough time to actually think about the thoughts, because they're more complex thoughts, right? Some things like a stories … Most of the books, I can listen at 3X speed and I can get it because they're giving me a narrative. It doesn't require as much in-depth thought from me.
The reason why I'm saying that, is because you can read faster than you can listen, even at 3X speed on the audio books. You're already probably reading fast enough for maximum, not just comprehension, but analysis. Okay? Maybe speed reading, maybe reading faster than that … Maybe reading 1200 words a minute, instead of 600 words a minute, if I'm thinking right. Maybe I've got those numbers all messed up.
Anyway, maybe doing twice that would actually benefit you, but maybe it wouldn't because maybe you wouldn't actually be able to do enough thinking or analysis. You might have to stop and pause anyway, right? Sometimes even in audio books, I have to stop and I have to just think about something, or I'm reading a kindle book, or I'm reading something and I have to stop and think. Being able to read faster would not necessarily benefit me. I would say again, I always tell people, try shit. Right?
Don't just take my word for it. Don't just take someone's … Especially something that's such a small impact in cost, right? I mean, you go and you get one of these speed reading programs. I mean obviously do your research and you do diligence to find what seems like the most reputable and highly recommended program that people say works, okay? And then, go buy it. And then go do it? Right? What is it going to take you? Maybe two months, or three months to get through the program or probably less than that. And then you try it and you see what happens.
If, you find it beneficial great. If you didn't find it beneficial, you learn something. You know, I can't tell you whether these people that are saying that this shit works, whether it is self deceiving, whether they're bullshit, right? I can't tell you that. I mean, I could do it myself, and try it.
Honestly, I don't have as much of an interest. I feel like I'm already able to read and accelerate my reading and learning, at the pace that I need to. I don't feel like there's … At one point when I was like, “Ah. My typing sucks.” I needed to actually go back and learn how to type. I went and I got a keyboarding class. I went through the program. I learned how to type correctly. Maybe I'll do that with speed reading someday, but right now, I don't feel the need to. If you do, especially if you're in school and you're doing so much reading, then go for it, right? Okay.
The second thing I'll say here again. I've been eluding to this, is that, what I found works better than anything is just listening to audio books. Even if you listen to it at 1X speed, like you've got so much time, you can absorb so much information. I listen to so many audio books. I'm usually buying one or two audio books a week, and going through 'em. I can listen at 3X speed, and I can listen while I'm running, like I ran 10 miles this morning. I just listened to an audio book, the Maslow one I was telling you about at 2X speed, the whole time that I'm running. I got through a lot of that and got a lot of information in a lot of the books that I've read have come from that.
Again, this is where the ego part comes in. A lot of people are like, now, they're like, they're so upset at me. They're like, “Audio books don't count. It's not the same thing as reading a book.” Bull-fucking shit. It doesn't matter whether … This is the ego coming in, saying it can't be that easy. When things are too easy, we all feel triggered and we're like, “Oh fuck. No, no, no, no.
I have to fight against this thing.” Well, you know what? I'm getting the information from the book, whether I read it myself, or someone reads it to me, it doesn't matter. Now, could you say, “Oh, maybe there's a difference in comprehension between reading it yourself and the physical act of reading, versus hearing it?” Okay, maybe. The gist is, I'm getting the information.
My goal is to gain the information okay? Not that I'm doing it in the most optimal fucking way. I can tell you, I'm gaining a lot more information, listening to audio books at 3X speed, while running. Then I would buy only limiting myself to reading physical books. You understand what I'm saying? This is very clear. Again, there's an ego battle here, where like, “Oh fuck. It's too easy,” or “I don't want to cheat.” It's not. You're trying to get information. You're trying to inquire information.
A lot of times I'll take stuff. If I could take videos even, I'll put the audio and I'll listen to that and make it into an audio book myself. I'm not gonna go into the details. In general, it's gonna be the most beneficial thing that you're gonna be able to do, better than speed reading, better than anything else. It's gonna be to, just buy audio books and to work up to the point where you can listen to them at 2X and 3X speed.
Now, I'll give you a couple things here. One, you can sign up for Audible if you want to, to get the audio books. I would highly recommend that you do that. It's totally worth it. I've been doing it for years now. Okay? I've spent probably thousands of dollars on audio books honestly. You know, it's totally worth it. Okay?
And then second thing … I'll talk about this briefly, is I've got a buddy of my at 2000 Books. You can check out his site here. Check out his book summaries. Okay? Now, book summaries are not a substitute for reading the books yourself. Okay? Not a complete substitute, but you can get a lot of information, right? You can get out the link here. Check out the link in the description for his site. He's got book summaries for mental toughness books, the 60 best mental toughness books, productivity, social skills, all these type of things.
If you're interested in a topic, what you can do is you can go and you can get these book summaries and you can listen to the book summaries, and then you can go back and decide what books to read, right? Part of the thing is … What is our ultimate goal? Our ultimate goal is to acquire information and the right information and filtering can help you. If you have a limited amount of pages that you're gonna read in your life …
Let's say that, or books, you're gonna read in your life, right? You've got this [inaudible 00:08:49] space on how much time, if you speed read, right and you can read at twice the speed, it's gonna perhaps, you know, make that so that amount of volume of information you can acquire from books, it's gonna be maybe doubled right? If you could double your speed, okay? If you can listen to audio books, maybe you could triple that, right? Maybe cause you can use more time, right? You can have it larger, right? If you can get summaries, so you don't have to read … Filtering, right?
If you get summaries, you don't have to read some of the books, and you can filter out the bad books, the books that are not gonna give you so much information. That's the most effective leverage. Just filtering alone, right? I did a lot of filtering, okay? I am very careful with what books I read. I only read very high recommended books, that I know have a good change of being good, cause I don't want to waste my time. I've only got so many books I'm gonna read in my life. You understand what I'm saying? That's where the summaries can help you, is to filter things out to get some of the concepts, to prevent you from having to read all those books.
A lot of people don't have the time to do that. That's why I recommend those. Again, you can check it out. Go and use the link here to get whatever … I usually have a special discount worked out with him, so you definitely wanna go through my link, in order to get that deal. You can find the description below.
Again, it doesn't let you off the hook. I don't want you guys to just read summaries and be like, “Oh, I'm watching summaries of books.” You still need to read books. You'd get a benefit from reading all the books that are summarized. If you could only read certain ones of them, at least go through the summaries and decide which one's you're gonna read and you're gonna get a lot of additional information as well.
Like I said, biggest hack I could say, is audio books. Finally, if you wanna try speed reading thing, try it. Let me know. I'd like to know if it works for you. You know, I have my doubts about it okay? Let me just put it this way, I haven't been compelled enough so far, to actually go out and do it. Maybe I will in the future. Maybe I will try it out. All right. That's all I got for you today. Make sure you click that subscribe button and click the bell, so you don't miss any videos. I'll talk to you next time.

About the author

John Sonmez

John Sonmez is the founder of Simple Programmer and a life coach for software developers. He is the best selling author of the book "Soft Skills: The Software Developer's Life Manual."