Re: Speed Reading, Photo Reading

Michael Nielsen (
Thu, 23 Apr 1998 06:38:51 -0600 (MDT)

On Sun, 19 Apr 1998, Til Eulenspiegel wrote:

> My (unsolicited) advice is to read "How to Read a Book," by Mortimer J.
> Adler. I don't know where you can find it auf Deustch, but may
> sell it. This text covers reading skills other than speed techniques.
> Instruction on these can be had from just about any "read fast" book on the
> market.

Thank you very much, Til, for this piece of advice. Amazon sells the
second edition, co-authored with Charles van Doren. My copy arrived a few
days ago, and I have found it to so extraordinarily useful in that short
time that I'd like to add my own praise.

As an example of the benfits, I gave A. G. Cairns-Smith's book, "Seven
Clues to the Origin of Life", what Adler terms an "inspectional" reading
last night. I got a great deal out of a 40-50 thousand book in only 25
minutes. Most importantly, I understood that I wish to go back and give
the book a much deeper, "syntoptic" read. When I do give the book the
syntoptic read it deserves, my level of reading will be much deeper and
more engaged than it would have otherwise been.

I truly had no idea how much there was to learn about reading until I
started reading this book. Obviously, I'm having a ball with it, and can
only imagine that all but the very best of readers would find a wealth of
new information in the book. The only "drawback" of the book I've found
so far is that my mind comes so alive while making use of the book that
sleeping becomes very difficult. That's a difficulty I'm happy to live with.


Michael Nielsen

PS: Er, sorry if that all sounds like the sort of testimonial you see in
an advertisement for steak knives. I'm wildly enthusiastic about this

"I know the answer! The answer lies within the heart of all mankind!
The answer is twelve? I think I'm in the wrong building."
- Charles Schulz