+1000 Words-Per-Minute Warp-Speed Reading
For language acquisition, learning, and mindfulness
A perpetual obsession of lifehackers is acquiring knowledge and skills as quickly as possible…
Until we can download the knowledge of how to fly a helicopter directly to our brains, like Trinity in The Matrix, it’s unlikely that we will stop searching for ways to get smarter faster.
Reading, while ancient in invention — dating back as far as 19000 BC, is still one of the most effective ways of getting smarter. An audacious startup, Spritz, plans to revolutionize the way you read through Rapid Serial Visual Presentation; apparently, reading normally you spend about 80% of your time moving your eyes from word to word. By keeping your eyes still and looking at a flashing sequence of words on a screen you can read much faster than you ever imagined.
I love to read, as a young man I voraciously consumed science fiction novels, then I discovered the non-fiction world which inspired me to pursue a life of adventure and entrepreneurship. The temporal paradox of personal development is that as you develop more into the best version of yourself — you spend more time working on things you are passionate about, having fun with awesome people, and exercising — you have less time for leisure activities, like reading! Spending time flipping pages takes a back seat to the hustle and living the dream.
Spritz allows you to read up to 1000 words per minute.
It could be the gamechanger that allows you to double or triple your reading and (perhaps more importantly) your retention of what you have read…
Lifehack: My favorite time to Spritz? While I’m on the can…
What are the benefits?
Skimming and Reviewing
It’s awesome for anything that requires skimming… If you’ve already read something and just want to refresh your knowledge on the topic this tool will probably cut your review time down by 80%.
- If you are a student whose professors assign a lot of reading to accompany lectures, Spritzing could be your college lifehack to spending more time being awesome and less time with your nose in a book.
- If you are trying to impress a girl by having read the same books she adores, this is a great way to buzz through them.
- If you work in a field where your colleagues occasionally ask you “Did you read that new study on _______?”
- I integrate Spritzing with my Evernote Stuff To Read notebook. As a pro blogger, I have to keep my finger on the pulse of the lifehacking blogosphere spending time every day reading other blogs, articles, forum posts, and the occasional Reddit rant. Honestly, a small proportion of this content is worth my time and attention, an article that in the past I may have wasted 10 minutes reading now only takes 45 seconds, a click of the delete note button and my search for truth and novelty continues.
Mastering a language is almost as much about NOT forgetting a language as it is about learning it in the first place, this is why the popular spaced repetition method of language learning exists. I will create Evernotes of foreign language vocabulary, anecdotes, and even my personal philosophy in my second language, these notes are usually under 500 words so I can Spritz them a few times daily while I’m usando el bano.
I’ll admit, I like reading my own work! It’s amazing the things you can learn by reading a lifestyle manifesto you wrote two years ago. It also keeps me sharp on the topics on which I am ostensibly an expert and minimizes the chances that I will completely contradict something I said earlier.
Meditation and Mindfulness
Spritzing is a labor of mindfulness, if your mind wanders at all during high-velocity reading your comprehension will go off a cliff. Which makes it an excellent exercise in present focus and mental compartmentalization.
If, like myself, you believe in periods of mindfulness and present-focused thought throughout the day Spritz is another tool to add to your mindfulness arsenal.
There are some drawbacks to reading at warp speed…
What is pretty obvious is that your comprehension takes a hit, although this can be partially overcome with practice.
Anyone who’s spent much time with audiobooks knows that you have to listen to them a couple of times to really get them, I probably listened to Good to Great by Jim Collins about four times before I internalized the profound knowledge it contains about exceptional organizations. The same applies to Spritzing, to understand new content, you’ll probably have to Spritz it at least twice, but at 500–1000 words per minute, it’s still a major time saver.
There’s also the word frequency problem; the words that appear the most frequently in the lexicon you can easily recognize in the few hundredths of a second that they appear on the screen, however, 10-dollar-words are going to throw a wrench in your reading comprehension. For this reason, Spritz is probably not the best option for consuming the latest Gladwell-esque paradigm-shifting, super analysis of data, or captivating Stephen King thriller.
Reading can be a real pleasure that takes you on an emotional ride through exotic locales. Reading at this speed feels cold, I seriously doubt many romance novel readers will adopt Spritzing to consume their smut.
Like many people I enjoy reading before bed, unfortunately, the Spritz display is the old-fashioned, good-sleep-preventing, black-text-against-white-background kind. Give us some more options Spritz!
Spritz has apps for iPhone and there are a couple of good options for utilizing the technology…
A Faster Reader for Android
I’ve been using the paid version of this clever App, I’m not sure of its affiliation to Spritz but for a buck, it’s a surprisingly robust speed reading App. The biggest downside I’ve noticed is that it can not load more than 3000–4000 words at a time, not sure if this is a limitation of the app or just a problem with my phone. This is fine because I mostly just use my smartphone to read articles that are a few thousand words or less.
For iPhone or iPad
- Check out the free Skim or unofficial $4 Spritz read Apps.
- The Spritzlet for Chrome, Safari, IE, or Firefox — This free-to-install browser app makes any page on the web Spritzable, just hit Crt+Shift B. I use it maybe a couple of times a day.
- The Old Reader — Like reading, RSS is an old technology for information consumption that just keeps getting better. The Old Reader is a web app for those nostalgic for Google Reader, which just so happens to integrate Spritz.
Smart Watch Spritzing
Speed reading on your watch? Dick Tracey would be proud! There’s an app that beams articles and ebooks via Bluetooth from your smartphone to your smartwatch, the only practical benefit of this I can think of is that sleep hackers can relax and speed read on the backlit screens of their watches instead of staring into the bright melatonin-blocking screens of their smartphones before going to bed.
There are currently no Glass speed reading apps out but I’m sure they are on the way… Imagine looking at a physical book, open in front of you while wearing Glass, the camera in the Glass reads both pages instantaneously and then Spritzes the text on the screen of the Glass, talk about the best of both worlds! The possibilities are boundless…
The first time you Spritz you will have a pleasant sensation of novelty and will be just a little impressed with your new superpower, but that wears off as you notice your comprehension is not what it could be reading the old-fashioned way.
It does require practice, you probably don’t want to dive directly into Ayn Rand, start by Spritzing a few long articles you’ve been meaning to read like…
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