Re: Speed Reading vs. Deep Reading

I William Wiser (
Wed, 18 Dec 1996 00:34:59 -0800

At 07:57 PM 12/17/96 UT, David Musick wrote:
>I understand the theory behind speed reading; that of taking in whole
>sentences and paragraphs at a single glance rather than one word at a time.

I think the concept of speed reading is to think about what one is reading
and why, consider other things one might read or do and adjust your reading
to match the material. For example if I wanted to learn calculus my best
bet might be to slowly and carefully look over the sorts of problems I could
solve well enough that if I had a problem I could find the section and learn
how to solve it. I could then see what came up often in my life and work to
be more familiar with those topics. I could also look for general principals
I could apply often to analogous problems. All easier said than done. I
tend to read straight through, afraid I'll miss something, and not remember
that at any give time I am only doing a small fraction of the things I could
be doing and try to pick one of the best ones.

I might do better to skim every book on the extropian reading list than read
just one if that is all I have time to do.

It sounds like you are using reading mostly to stimulate your own ideas but
there are a lot of good ideas out there and sometimes even just hearing a
book title can yield insights.

>Speed reading is about attractive to me as speed sex -- both are fine if all
>you want to do is hurry up and get it over with.

Hey now that you brought it up there is a parallel here. One could compare
the slow and careful reading of a few books to monogamy and consider various
levels of promiscuous reading behavior. Of course sex has a much stronger
biological connection than reading and an interesting human is much more
complex than any book. Also sex beyond the basics of reproduction
(and bonding?) is a more recreational behavior (contrary to the urgings of
our genes). I suppose a better analogy is conversation. Does one spend
a weekend talking to Francis Crick, a weekend at a neuroscience convention,
or a weekend at grand central station. I sure am glad I have a lot of
weekends left to figure this out I'd hate to pick the wrong one. :-)

-Will <>