Introducing Ultrareading

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  1. 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).
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.

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Danielsradam

Danielsradam

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Some serious and some satire articles. Only I know the difference.