April 06, 2012

Speed Reading: Reflections

Follow-up to Speed Reading: Taking care, moving backwards, slowing down… from Midgley, Christopher - Pointless twaddle and meaningless diatribes

Tutor was Han-Na Cha.

Before we start: results on how much I comprehended or how well I remembered were likely contaminated by memory training I was doing at the same time. Good thing these results weren’t supposed to be formal or anything, and indeed had no way of properly being measured!

The best thing from the sessions was probably just a realization of the state of affairs (I read quickly) and a formalization of the effects of things I do (why they’re beneficial, why they aren’t) and that the (obvious in retrospect) answer to the question “how do I get better at X” is “do X a lot”.

On the not so well side, reading non-linearly seems to increase the risk of reading over material you’ve already read, especially if you’re able to do impressive things like forget section headers soon after you read them (which happened almost inevitably without some recitation).

TODO differently: Put the memory techniques into the program itself, as opposed to a “hey it would be cool if I did this” item that only comes up when I remember to do it. Comprehending stuff is easier if you can remember what came before :P

On the other not-so-well side — slowing down is hard, because by nature I don’t do it. It’s like improving my handwriting, or that “fingers on home row” typing, because my natural typing involves my hands moving all over the place, and my natural handwriting is a spider’s crawl — it’s just not natural for me, so I fall back into habits as soon as I stop thinking about it and sometimes even while thinking about it, because the behaviour is instinctual, in the same way that my fingers have a habit of hitting ‘n’ between ‘ght’ and ‘ing’ so the outcome is fightning.


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  1. Han-na Cha

    Hi Chris,

    An honest update on where you are on this. They say that habits take time to change with deliberate consideration. It might take another 2 weeks of deliberately slowing down your reading speed for it to feel more natural. Having done that, how about making a call whether you want to continue with this action point? I think that this might apply to your other action point too.

    Look forward to reading your final entry on this workshop.

    10 Apr 2012, 16:33


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