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Well, I finally finished reading, 情報が10倍になるNLP速読術 BY Naoya Matsushima.  (soy sauce translation: Get Ten Times More Information Through the NLP Speed Reading Method.)  Since the book is about speed reading, I had to read it fast.   I probably only understood about 40% of its real essence, but the book seemed to offer a mix of novel and common sense advice for

These days I’m always ready to read. As a busy dad and teacher, I don’t have a lot of discretionary time, but if I keep my “man bag” ready with good stuff I can read. I’m trying to learn Japanese. Here are the NLP speed reading book and Japion a free weekly newspaper for the Japanese community in New York.

reading more effectively.  Here are some of the key points I remember:

  • when you prepare to read, get yourself into a good state–imagining a pleasant memory totally unrelated to reading
  • check and fix your breathing, posture, and mental state before and while you read–Matsushima offers some NLP exercises but I didn’t understand the finer points of how to do that
  • really pre-read a book and do it with gusto–look at the front and back cover, preface, conclusion, and the table of contents
  • ask you look at the front and back matter, really think to yourself, “What do I want to get out of this?”
  • practice relaxedly scanning each page—begin this with books you really want to read
  • be ready to switch techniques at any point

If you are already a reader, most of these techniques are not big news too you, but it was nice for me to be reminded of how I could be a better reader.  I turned reading this book into a game.   I read the table of contents really thoroughly but briskly and enjoyed the promises of the book.   When I got bored, I practiced just scanning the lines and looking at the sentences as a picture, not really stopping to decipher so much.  I tried to see how many pages I could read while taking the subway from West 4th street to West 23rd street.  (short ride).    When the book got boring or frustrating, I switched to other books or did something completely different.   If I didn’t know the kanji or vocabulary, I just tried to think, “nice to meet you maybe I’ll see you and understand you again.”

Sometimes you just have to add a little velocity to the learning games.   There’s a time and place for more in-depth study but moving quickly seems to do a few powerful things:

  • gives you quick in context exposure to new ideas and vocabulary
  • short-circuits some of the negative self-talk that can frustrate you when you read–you are just reading so fast you don’t have time to call yourself an idiot 🙂 (lies, lies, lies)
  • gives you a quick road-map for knowledge in a field

    I also have been carrying around a copy of the Beck Music Guide, a music guide to the music of a fictional rock band manga. On the back is some sheet music from Jamplay. They had a great lesson on visualizing before you play so I thought it would be great to carry sheet music around with me as well. Trying to stay like a rolling stone.   “Gotta keep on movin’.”

I really liked Khatzumoto’s article, “Reading is Skimming.”  He has a wonderful way of explaining the power of skimming in your life:

There is only one book: the world book.And all books are volumes of this one book. And all pages are pages of this world book.Now, there are billions of pages in this book. And you’re never going to read them all. Not. Ever…..Don’t save the best for last. Take the fun right now. Be a pro-active fun-seeker. If you don’t have fun now, today will be the beginning of the end as far as Japanese is concerned, believe you me.

I think this is true for whatever you really want to learn.   Give it a try, have fun, flip through pages, and open up the book of your life.

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