Speedreading is so 2000s. And while speedreading is an important tool in any learner’s chest, ultrareading is the new phenomenon of reading that will take the world by storm and introduce a new age of learning and understanding.
The modern reader understands they can absorb information and download it directly into their subconscious. By scanning books as quickly as you can, looking at the words and emptying your mind, your subconscious will absorb the information and process it over time.
So, with speedreading, you are thinking about the text as you move through it quickly, and often take breaks or pause to figure something out. With ultrareading, you don’t do any of that, you reserve any further thinking for afterward, or not at all, because you are relying on your subconscious self, not your conscious self to process the information, just like how we rely on our brains to dream to process the heavy load of sensory input throughout the day.
With ultrareading, you can read 5–10 books a day, or more, and still gain knowledge. Think about it, the vast majority of information you read is useless to you and you forget it. If you’re going to forget 90% or more of the information you read anyway, you may as well download it as fast as possible by upgrading to the speed of your sight and subconscious instead of reading slowly, bit by bit, word after word.
Ultrareading also involves a few separate techniques that differ from speedreading. With speedreading you read everything in the book. You also do this when you skim. But, I tell you, there is very little reason to read every part of every chapter. Instead, go straight to concluding paragraphs, read intros and conclusions, don’t waste time and memory-space on the particulars. Ignore every novel ever produced. There’s nothing in novels that will help you in your hustle and grind for more money or knowledge. Novels are all bunk, and I say this as someone who has read the top 100 novels of all time. Save novels for your leisure, when you slow down your reading because you want to enjoy the story. The same goes for most history and biographies. You aren’t going to gain much in those books except ammunition to waste even more of your time arguing with strangers online.
What you want to read as an ultrareader are pure self-help books, science books, philosophy, articles and studies, fitness and health, money-making strategies, how to books, dummies series books, books on improving writing and speaking and problem solving, technical books and books that train you to do practical things.
Ultrareading is not a prescription on how to read all your life, or for every book you ever come across. It does not negate or eliminate regular reading or speedreading, it is meant to maximize knowledge and information on all of the most practical areas of your life and ultimately SAVE YOU TIME so you can TAKE ACTION.
So, you ask, how do I do this ultrareading?
- First, learn to speedread. I use a very basic technique, called chunking, where you look at a word on a line and use your peripheral vision to take in multiple words at once. You should only need to look at two or three words per line to get a whole line then move to the next line. Don’t think the words in your head, called subvocalization. Your brain will recognize the words instantly (unless the word is unfamiliar/new, in which case you must press on unless you are reading jargon-heavy material, in which case you may want to stop reading because you lack the prerequisites).
- Second, learn to quiet the part of yourself that insists every written word is important. We all wish we could memorize and remember every single thing we’ve ever read, but the reality is you can’t. You’re not going to create in your mind some Matteo Ricci memory-palace where you have good memory of every single thing. It’s not worth your time and effort. I’m not even going to argue that a lot of writing is filler, I’m going to argue that you won’t ever remember the majority of what you read. This is why Intros/Conclusions are so important, they are the condensed final product of what you are reading.
- Don’t be skeptical. Of the text you are reading, I mean. You may think, “I don’t want to be brainwashed by this and accept every conclusion I read.” That is not the purpose of ultrareading, with ultrareading you are merely downloading the information. You will process, doubt, argue, accept or reject, later on, not during your reading, which greatly slows you down.
- Practical books only. Don’t ultraread the works of Charles Dickens or Shakespeare. You are attempting to gain relevant information as quickly as possible, not irrelevant information. I now present to you Bruce Lee vs. Art Garfunkel. Bruce’s private library consisted of strictly relevant books to him: Chinese philosophy, martial arts, fitness and health, self-help. Garfunkel’s reading lists show him reading all over the place, novels, classics, modern fiction and non-fiction, a bit of everything. With ultrareading you want to emulate Bruce’s reading habits. So, to be absolutely clear, identify who you are and what you want to be and tailor you reading list to that thing. There are the basics for all humans: health, nutrition, fitness, money, relationships, career, business, religion and philosophy, and then there are the specifics to you in particular, so for me, as my only example I would be reading: coding, computer science, electrical engineering, information technology, design, algorithms, data structures, data science, statistics. And on and on. A lot of that involves thinking and practice to understand and get down right so I can implement it in my life, but I won’t know what the best material to GO BACK TO will be until I’ve tasted many many different books. Some authors will write in ways that are clearer to me than others.
- Don’t only read books, open yourself to articles, journals, blogs, self-published stuff, Medium. Books are great, but this isn’t a book reading contest of who can read the most books. This is all about gaining information in a focused manner and books aren’t always up to date or the best source of information.
- Journal about what you think you read. Here is where you start thinking about what you’ve read. Don’t worry about having complete thoughts. Great thoughts. Superb thoughts worthy of a scholar. Don’t worry about having arguments with internet strangers about what you’ve learned. You are merely giving yourself a very small task of journaling about what you think you read and learned, at the most basic and simplistic level. You are not ultrareading to be a scholar, you are doing it to download as much information as you humanly can to give you an edge LATER ON.
- In your journal, conclude with a bullet list of articles, books, or anything else that you think merits GOING BACK. Be extremely ruthless and stingy when it comes to making this bullet list. Maybe nothing merits going back. How do you know if something merits going back? It has to be exactly relevant to your life within the near future. Maybe I really liked the conclusion to an article I read, or the abstract was very intriguing and I’d like to see all of the data. Then I ask, am I going to use any of that information soon? No? Okay then I don’t need to go back, it was a feeling I had, let me explore that feeling instead. So, why did I like that conclusion? Journal about that, then move on because you don’t actually need the information.
That concludes what ultrareading is and why you should incorporate it in your learning-life. Ultrareading is not meant to take over your life and make you obsessed with reading everything at your local library or achieve reading 1000 books a year. It’s meant to give you the tools you need in order to get a glimpse into every book you need or should read. It utilizes the power of your brain that is devoted to sight. It takes advantage of the fact you will hardly remember most of what you read anyway. It emphasizes reflection and going back only when necessary. It is ruthlessly practical.
We live in an era where the amount of books and articles and journal and blogs and editorials that exist is far more than you can ever hope to read. Most people don’t plan out their reading, they read whatever they feel like and then stop reading when they don’t feel like it and can go for a long time without making any progress in life from reading.
Lastly, people want reading to mean something in their life. They want it as a self-help tool to help them maximize their hustle in life. Ultrareading provides that and approaches reading in a way completely different from what your teachers at school and college taught you. Break out of the old paradigm when it suits you.