These past few weeks at college reminded me about a useful tool I discovered in high school, and I thought I might share information about the tool since it has been coming up in conversation so often.
The post comes from Tim Ferriss' Blog, and for simplicity's sake, I would recommend you go read the article over on his site: Scientific Speed Reading: How to Read 300% Faster in 20 Minutes
Once you've read that article, you are probably intrigued but still a bit skeptical about the efficacy of this method. Speaking from experience, I can tell you it works. I don't remember exactly by how much the method improved my speed, but I definitely notice a difference between the times I use the technique and those when I do not. Although I don't often use this method for novels, as it somewhat takes the fun out of reading, and does not completely allow you to savor a book in the same way as normal reading does, the method has proved invaluable when reading academic works. I used the method in all of my AP classes back in high school, and it never seemed to fail. So far, it worked well in college too, however I haven't been using it that often, since the books I have been required to read are mostly so enjoyable I prefer to savor them.
From a practical standpoint, reading three times faster may be extremely useful, however it does draw into question the pace at which we choose to live our life. Although optimizing the systems we use to work towards our goals is often a necessary step towards success, sometimes it can be better to just take a step back and savor the moment. Perhaps the time saved by reading faster is useful, but what about the time saved by walking at a faster pace to class? or eating meals faster? At some point, this tendency to speed through life has to stop, or you face the risk of burn out and many other unhealthy side effects.
Personally, I struggle with always feeling like I need to bike as fast as possible when going somewhere on campus. I'm not sure if this feeling arises from only biking as a means of sport for the majority of my life, or if it has to do with my tightly packed schedule, but either way, I can often use a reminder to slow down and just enjoy the brisk Chicago wind or the sun shining on the main quadrangles.
Regardless, I hope the Tim Ferriss article can help you in some way. Feel free to pass this post or his guide along to a friend. I was actually surprised to find out that no one else here knew about it, since it seems like it would be really useful for academics, and also since Tim went to Princeton, I thought his work would be popular among Ivy-Leaguers and the like. Guess it just goes to show that even some useful method you might utilize that seems obvious could turn out to be quite unique, and it's probably worth it to try and share it with your friends in the hope that it might help. Feel free to leave descriptions of any such systems in the comments below!
Photo is of the D'Angelo Law Library at the University of Chicago. It has been a really convenient place to study since it lies between my dorm and the dining hall, and possesses quite unique architecture.