Speed Reading For Education

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Certified Financial Planner Neal Frankle Accepted The Challenge of Being Interviewed By 7 Speed Reading Team

Neal Frankle


Learning how to read transforms a child’s world. Learning how to speed read can transform an adult’s life for the better, as the time saved and the skills learned can be immediately applied to ways to get ahead in the workplace: improving office communication, enhancing a project portfolio, competing for a raise. And once that self-improvement work has started paying off in terms of a higher salary, learning how to invest and manage money will guarantee that all of the effort leads to long-lasting results. One person who’s familiar with the power of transformation and the importance of money management is certified financial planner Neal Frankle, who runs the website WealthPilgrim.com.

7SR: For many people, the terms “investment” and “financial planning” don’t have much real-world impact; when you’re struggling to make ends meet, it might seem as if there’s no extra money to spare for investment, and the only financial planning necessary is how to stretch each paycheck to cover both groceries and rent. How can someone make the mental step over barriers like these and really think about the future when it comes to wealth?

I appreciate this situation. It is difficult to think about the future when the present is difficult.  The thing is, the future is going to become the present soon enough. It may be tough, but you have nothing to lose by trying.  You may not be able to completely transform your financial situation – but you can improve it.   

I suggest that people in situations like these break down their current pressures into bite-sized parts.  Right now, are you dealing with:

Insufficient income?

Too much debt?

Bad credit?

Out of control spending?

Sit down for 30 minutes with a trusted friend who will act as your accountability partner.  Be as objective as you can.  List each challenge and work out a game plan to deal with one issue at a time.   Then, set up weekly meetings with your accountability partner to report on your progress.  Once you’ve worked your way out of the current stress, build a game plan to create the financial future you want.

This approach costs you nothing and moves you forward towards improving your financial life.

7SR: Do people need to talk with someone who specializes in financial planning, or do you have some books that you can recommend?

I think most people do benefit by speaking with a professional planner but I am biased.  At the same time, many people don’t need a financial advisor.  If your problem is debt or a bad credit score, you might want to consult with experts in that field.  If your challenge is spending, take advantage of an accountability partner as I suggested above.

Even if you do eventually speak with a professional it’s to your advantage to educate yourself as much as possible so you can ask good questions and better understand the advice.  One of my favorite books is “The Wealthy Barber” by David Chilton.  Also, I’ve written two books and I am very proud of each of them.  “Why Smart People Lose A Fortune” and “Money Academy for Couples” (available on Amazon).  The first explains how investments work and the second is a resource for couples to get their financial lives aligned and on track. Again, I’m biased so please take my advice with a grain of salt.

7SR: Credit is important when it comes to things like car loans and mortgages, and even in some job applications. When should people start thinking about establishing their credit: in high school, in college, or after they have a steady job?

On the one hand, the earlier you start the better.  Having said that, it’s important to begin building on a strong foundation. If you start using credit cards, make sure you can afford to make your full payments every month.   It is never good to carry credit card debt and rack up expensive interest costs.

7SR: Your “Ask Neal A Question” website option is a great way to have people connect with you and share information. How many queries do you get each week, and what’s the most common topic?

I usually get about a dozen questions a week.  The inquiries are usually split between how to invest money and how to collect on a loan the readers made to friends or family.

7SR: What does “appropriate spending” mean to you?

Your financial strength is a balance between spending, income and assets.   If you spend more than you have coming in, that might be out of balance.  But if your assets are sufficiently large such that you can sustain yourself and still spend down some of your assets, that could be OK too.

So if you want to understand “appropriate spending” first look at what your means are.   That includes income from wages, pensions, Social Security, rents and investments.   As long as you spend less than that (and your “spending” must include what you set aside for the future) you are going to be in great shape.

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Read Some Good Advice From Mr. Productive Superdad Timo Kiander Here!

Timo Kiander


Dads and moms alike dream of being able to work from home. After all, it’s the best of all possible worlds: you’re in control of your schedule, you get to spend time with the kids (they grow up so fast), and you’re still earning a good income. However, it’s not always easy to get everything done that you have planned for that day. It’s even harder when you’re self-employed and have to devote time to finding business instead of having tasks provided by a manager or boss. Finnish productivity expert Timo Kiander, aka Productive SuperDad, has some good advice for anyone who’s thinking of working from home and working for themselves – with or without children involved.

7SR: How did your life change in terms of productivity when your son Aaro was born?

It changed quite a bit.

At first, for the first six months when his sleeping schedule was irregular, I felt more or less tired. Also, the available time for my own projects became much more limited.

Then again, I started to learn more about how to really maximize all the available time in my day. So, even though I didn’t have that much time available for my own projects anymore, I figured out quite well how to make every single minute count.

Another great benefit of having limited time was that I really started to appreciate the moments I did have. I’m guessing this wouldn’t have happened without having a baby.

7SR: “Email is a time suck!” is something you say often. How do speed reading skills help people to remove this problem from their daily lives?

I’m not an expert on speed reading, but I think that skimming the headlines is a very important process if you want to manage email effectively.

In other words, when I open my inbox, I skim through the headlines and I immediately decide on the messages I want to archive or delete, based on their headline. With this simple practice, the number of messages in my inbox drops pretty significantly.

Of course, if I happen to trash or archive certain types of messages on a frequent basis, it’s then a matter of taking a good look at the sender and removing myself from the email list.

7SR: With all of the tasks people face every day, procrastination isn’t just a word, it’s an obstacle to overcome. You’ve written a book on overcoming procrastination, but could you share a few tips with our readers now?

There are plenty of strategies designed to tackle procrastination. However, if I share just three ways, I would say that at first, one should really ask him/herself if this task or work is necessary to do in the first place. Because if it isn’t, then take it off your list.

Then, if the task is something you have to do, break it down into smaller pieces, so that starting the process becomes easier. Very often, it’s the starting phase that’s the biggest obstacle and once you get past that, things will become much easier. You can also figure out whether the task could be delegated to someone else, but since this is not always possible, breaking the task down can help quite a bit.

Finally, try to start working on the task as early as possible. This way, you can get it out of your head and the rest of the day will subsequently be much easier, since you are not thinking about the task all the time.

7SR: Last summer you went on a 30-day nutrition-oriented productivity challenge where you experimented with replacing your usual breakfast with a smoothie. Did that change your eating habits? How important is good health to maintaining productivity?

To be honest, I reverted back to my earlier eating habits (which weren’t unhealthy either). Then again, we still continue to do smoothies every now and then, especially for afternoon snacks.

I guess the type of breakfast I like to have also depends on the season. For instance, during the fall and winter months (those chilly/cold months), I want to eat something warm for breakfast (such as porridge), and in those situations, a smoothie falls out of the equation.

In general, good health is essential to your productivity. And because of that, you should actually make sure that you eat the right foods, exercising at least a bit, ensuring that you get enough sleep, ensuring that you do work that you care for and that you nurture the close relationships in your life.

With those five foundational blocks, you can stay effective in your work and your life.

7SR: Good mental health has an impact on productivity, as you note in a recent blog post on meditation. What are the things you do to stay balanced and to keep a positive mental outlook?

I guess I already touched upon this topic briefly in the previous answer, but it’s really simple things: spending enough time with my family, spending time working on my own hobbies, meditating and just feeling grateful for even the smallest things that give me joy.

And yes, I make sure that I actually get enough sleep. That way, I can fully recover from my day’s work and I get mentally recharged, too.

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The Fastest Reading Speed A Person Can Achieve

Ever wonder what reading speed the best speed readers in the world have achieved? Wonder no more. The world speed reading champion, Anne Jones, reads 4,700 words per minute with a 67 percent comprehension rate.

There are of course other individuals who claim they’ve reached speeds of 10,000 words per minute, but they’ve never publicly confirmed this skill. And of course, there’s Maria Teresa Calderon, who claims to read 80,000 words per minute with 100% comprehension. Considering that the average adult reader reads about 300 words per minute, that’s quite an achievement.

On average, after consistent speed reading training, speed readers achieve a reading speed of 1000 words per minute with comprehension rates between 65% to 95%.

One of the most popular ways people improve their speed reading are speed reading training courses and apps.

How to read 1000 words per minute

7 Speed Reading helps you read up to 3.471 times faster your current reading speed, so if you’re an average reader now (250 to 320 words per minute) then you can easily read at 1000 words per minute by the time you complete your speed reading training!

Several online test help readers identify their current speed reading level and offer tips and advice on how to read faster without sacrificing reading comprehension. Ultimately, reading fast without understanding or properly processing what’s being read is not much use, though.

But let’s put these speed reading levels in context:

– A 3rd grade student reads at 150 wpm, an 8th grade student 250.

– The typical college student reads on average 450 words per minute while college scholars read as much as 675 words per minute.

– As we’ve said previously, speed readers, manage to read about 1000-1500 words per minute.

– The world speed reading champion reads 4,700 words per minute.

You can take this reading speed test online to figure out your own reading speed rate.

What makes a good speed reader?

Speed readers have cultivated essential reading habits that you and I weren’t taught at school.  

Your 1st grade teacher taught you to read out loud, and to hear in your head the sounds and words, in order to make sense of them. That was essential in connecting the dots between semantics, phonetics, and written language when you were 6 years old, but now that you’ve learned to read, it is no longer serving you to read out loud. It simply slows you down.

So one of the first habits speed readers get rid of is subvocalization: the sounding of words in your head as you read them. By eliminating this habit, you instantly free your mind to read at a faster pace.

Speed reading has another big enemy, regression. Not-so-good readers tend to slip back to what they’ve read instead of keeping their focus on the next word or sentence.

Considering that your attention span is now officially less than that of a goldfish, it is apparent how crucial it is to reduce regression.

To eliminate regression you must increase your focus. Don’t read for the sake of reading faster, read at a pace you will dictate to your brain. This pace should be comfortable enough to facilitate understanding yet uncomfortable enough so that you don’t feel tempted to reread a block of text

Watch this eReflect video explaining regression in depth.

What can make you a good speed reader?

To get better at reading, just practice speed reading. Of course, speed reading doesn’t apply to all types of reading. You can speed read an online article for key takeaways, but although you can speed read a classic like “Wuthering Heights” you may miss the nuances and details that the author crafted into the plot and the character development.

That being said, here are some techniques to get you off the ground:

– Understand your reading intention and goal. Why are you reading this? What do you want to extract or learn?

– Skim and scan chapter introductions and first paragraphs to ensure you only read what’s relevant. Remember that speed reading is smart reading. Read and keep only what you need.

– Learn to read more words at once. This means practicing your eye fixation, the number of words you can read at a glance. Needless to say, the more expanded your fixation, the faster you will advance your reading.

– Work out those eye muscles. Just like your abs and calves, your eyes need some exercise to be up for the task. There are several eye exercises you can do to protect and strengthen your eyes.

– Last but not least, you need to train your brain to process information fast and efficiently and use the entire brain when reading to boost your comprehension rate.

Ultimately, speed reading is being able to consciously control your reading speed instead of letting your bad habits determine the speed at which you read.

To instantly boost your reading you can:

– use your finger or a pen as a pointer to force yourself to read the next word faster

– consciously make yourself read the next word fast enough to avoid reading it in your head

– practice with a speed reading app to make the process more streamlined

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Investigative Designer Dave Seah In An Exclusive Interview With 7 Speed Reading

Dave Seah


From the 14th to the 17th century European culture experienced an explosion of art, science, philosophy, and literature that we call the Renaissance. Apprentices flocked to the studios of masters like Leonardo da Vinci, Nicolaus Copernicus, William Byrd, and Hieronymus Bosch to observe and learn about new techniques and theories, and those apprentices sometimes became masters themselves. Today, we use the term “Renaissance Man” to describe someone who has mastered multiple areas of accomplishment (that’s a “polymath” for you vocabulary mavens out there) and such people are as admired now as they were five centuries ago. One modern Renaissance Man is artist, inventor, innovator, and author Dave Seah, who shares his experience with anyone who joins him at his virtual studio. We stopped by there the other day to ask a few questions.

UV: You use an interesting term to describe how you work these days: “structured procrastination.” How does that help you become more productive?

I can’t take credit for coining the term; John Perry [http://www.structuredprocrastination.com/] wrote an amusing essay on the idea and that helped place my prior notions of “writing about what catches my eye” and “gathering productive results that happen when they happen” into a general methodology.

The great insight about structured procrastination is that people like me are already productive, just not “on purpose” or in a predictable fashion. Productivity is often thought of in terms of production line efficiency “A then B then C”, with optimizations applied to reducing cost/time and maintaining quality. While it is possible for me to be disciplined to focus on one critical task at a time, it is not how I produce my best work because the production line mentality is an inefficient use of my pattern-connecting brain. Sticking to the production line approach is particularly draining if I am working by myself; in fact, the only way I can be disciplined about my work is if I know other people in the room are depending on me, but I also find it extremely draining and can not maintain it for more than two weeks before crashing. So instead of applying production line metrics, I think of what I do as having a “fruit farm” approach. In other words, I “gather” my productive output as it ripens,  rather than forcing things through a factory production line on schedule.  At the end of the day, there’s a basket full of goods. This is very compatible with what John Perry describes in his essay and book on Structured Procrastination.

My fruit farm approach is more suitable, I think, for creative work that involves projects that are largely about conquering uncertainty and discovering ways to do things. The production line approach is far more suitable for already-known tasks that have been solved. By purposefully adopting a “structured procrastination” approach, I’ve given myself permission to work to my own standards and strength; feeling good about what one is doing is a big part of being productive too!

UV: You’ve created some great tools to help keep people organized, like calendars, chart templates, and things that keep people on track when it comes to due dates, goals, and tasks. What tools do you use regularly, every day?

If you’re asking about which of my own creations I use daily, the answer varies depending on the type of work I’m doing. The various tools I’ve made available tend to be related to goals, insight discovery, diagnostic task tracking, or short-term planning of multiple goal-related tasks. At the moment, I’ve reduced my project load to the point where I don’t have to juggle as many things, so I have not been doing regular daily planning due to a big client project taking my main focus. This is not an ideal situation, but now that I have a better sense of what I need to do to maintain progress on my own goals as well I have some new approaches to incorporate into a new daily tool. The tools that are available on my site all follow the pattern of, “I made them as I needed them”; I encourage people to use the parts that work for them in that manner as well.

There are other tools, however, that I use everyday. There are three essential task-related contexts I actively maintain:

1) The “cloud of things I want to do”, which is a giant pile of things that are important to me in one way or another, and are accessible in one place. That place is currently Trello.

2) The “things I want to do today”, which is usually just a simple list written down on an index card and placed in a stand on my desk. Sometimes it’s a sheet of Emergent Task Planner (ETP). Sometimes it’s an ETP I draw on a piece of blank paper. Sometimes it’s a virtual “sticky note” on one of my computers.

3) The “recipes” that describe what I’m going to do, in order, so I don’t have to think about it. This helps me get unstuck while maintaining a reference point of what I’m doing. This is usually written on the same virtual sticky note that has my to-do list if the task is simple enough. For complex tasks, I’ll write an essay about it and save the file in the same context of the work. For example, when I had to write an Artificial Intelligence (AI) system for a video game-like educational project, I had to do quite a lot of explorative writing to just get my head around where to start.

It’s important that I know what kind of thinking I’m doing at a given time, and also when NOT to think in a certain way. Sometimes thinking just gets in the way, so having the three contexts above helps me keep my mental modalities disciplined and productive.

UV: The “Reading” section of your blog has reviews and commentary about books and articles that you’ve found interesting or helpful. How much time do you spend reading every week?

I don’t read many books these days, though I keep buying them. I do spend quite a bit of time scanning articles of interest to me, saving the good ones into a DropBox folder. I haven’t measured the time, but I’d guess I spend at least a few hours a day reading stuff online or researching ideas that pop into my head.

UV: Have you ever measured your own personal reading speed, or spent time trying to improve the way that you read, absorb, and remember information?

I read pretty fast already, though I’m a shallow reader and don’t retain more than the ideas that strike me. Those are incorporated into my world view, and I usually remember just enough to be able to find the source again. If it’s really important to me, then I write a blog post about it. That’s how my blog got started, actually! I really need to get back into that habit, because I miss it.

Absorbing information and remembering it is a huge preoccupation. My memory is rather weak and doesn’t handle arbitrary multivariate data relationships well, so I have to spend a lot of time formatting information so I can more easily process material by intent, guiding principle, clear actions and expected results; the vast bulk of information is usually written and structured quite poorly by these standards. So, I rewrite what I’m learning into my own documentation, which helps me remember.

UV: You’ve got goals planned for 2024 in all six of your areas of interest: video game development, illustration, composition, software tools, working with your hands, and developing a self-sustaining business. How are you keeping track of all of that?

It’s a new thing I’m trying, so I don’t have a system yet.

At the moment, the priorities on my mind are the self-sustaining business because when that works, my time to work on the other projects should open up in theory. I am also getting one of the goals for “free” because some related client work is giving me the excuse to work on it. However,, my attempt to discipline myself to do the business and the paying work first has had the opposite effect on my overall productivity. I think I need the variety of making progress in ALL my goals to feel fulfilled.

What’s holding it together right now are the monthly reviews I do as part of my Groundhog Day Resolutions, which forces me to review what I’ve been doing. Because of this, I have a sense of how the projects are progressing on a monthly basis, but I haven’t figured out how to force myself to work on them (see structured procrastination, again). I also use my website to store related information for each of the projects so I can collect all related work and documentation in one place, and pick up again later. The Woodworking Lab Notebook is a good example of this for the “making things” goal, and the GitHub repository for my video game project is helpful too.

Ultimate Vocabulary guarantees to help you increase your vocabulary knowledge! Learn more words and apply them in your writings. Have something to add to this story? Share it in the comments

Watch How This Cute Little Baby Cries Everytime a Book Ends

7 Speed Reading Team Are Starting To Gain Momentum As We Interview Ludvig Sunstrom

Ludvig Sunstrom

INTRODUCTION: Here at 7 Speed Reading we love talking to people who are as passionate about reading and self-improvement as we are. Ludvig Sunstrom admits that reading “has literally changed my life over the last 4 years” and he has used what he has learned from reading to improve his physical, mental, and professional status. He’s got a lot to share with readers at his website, Start Gaining Momentum (or SGM), and with readers here at the 7 Speed Reading blog as well.

7SR: You’re known for having developed some rather unique learning methods. Can you explain, briefly, how you went about developing them?

Sure. When I was in school I thought I didn’t like to learn things (confusing ?learning? with the course subjects). But…

…when I started university, I became extremely interested in all sorts of things (again, unrelated to my course subjects) and I realized that I would need to become better–much better–at learning. So I started reading “how to study” type books.

After experimenting with that for a few months I found what worked for me. Here are the 3 fundamentals of my framework for learning:

        1) To create a digital commonplace book (an overarching information system for every area of your life; OneNote or Evernote are good softwares).

       2)To create a book summary book (physical or digital) where you summarize the key takeaways from what you read. This improves your ability to distil information into actionable knowledge.

       3) To create a note-taking system where each color/symbol corresponds to a specific type of information.This makes it easier for going through notes later, and improves your ability to categorize information.

7SR: Do you have any general tips for readers on how they could apply these tips, provided that your individual approach does not fit them?

Yeah. Instead of looking at what I’m doing (my specific solution), look at why I’ve done this (the root problem).

So, let’s reverse-engineer just what I’ve done here:

   a) Start by finding out what learning type you are; do you learn best by reading? Writing?  Executing? Analysing and reflecting? Personally, I’m a mix of these, with a slight bend towards reading and writing. (This can take you a while to find out. You must experiment.) 

   b) After you know your learning type, think about this: How can you create habits that improve this natural talent of yours? For example, creating positive daily habits like reading, writing, listening to audio books, and then summarizing what you’ve learned at the end of each day. This stuff really, really, adds up over time.

   c) The next step (after you have established good learning habits) is to use systems/technology to achieve scale. Look around for technology and software (apps, programs, gadgets) that can be used to MULTIPLY your natural talent. My commonplace does this for me. What can you use? This is the hardest part, because it requires creativity. This is what separates elite learners from good/great learners. (The same can be said about earners too.)

7SR: In the research for your upcoming book, “Breaking out of Homeostasis,” what were some of the things you thought about? And, out of curiosity, can you give an estimate of how many books you read during the research phase of the writing project?

–A lot of things!

My biggest dilemma was probably in how to structure and present the content.

If you want a book to sell well (to have mainstream appeal) you need to “dumb it down” quite a lot, and frame the content in terms of ordinary problems that the average person might struggle with (losing weight, being more attractive, making more money, spending more time with family, etc).

This is very hard to do while at the same time maintaining the integrity of the content (A.K.A not coming across as bland). So I’ve chosen not to do it.

I’ve instead taken the more polarizing long-tail approach of targeting a very specific niche of people, and hoping that BOOH will be extraordinary helpful to those people.

And how many books did I read? Hmm. Definitely over 100 books. Probably around 150. But not more than 200.

7SR: You also mention that you’ve discovered how to improve on your framework of learning. What do you mean by that?

I just mean that I’m attuned to how my overall “system” for learning things (as explained above) needs to be adjusted from time to time to become better.

Here are two brief, unrelated examples just to give you an idea of what I mean:

    1) When I was first starting my book summary book 3 years ago, I wrote down every book I read super detailed. Now that I’m much better at filtering out useless info from useful info, I only do that with a few really good books.

   2) Recently I changed my commonplace system to automate parts of my life related to business (with checklists and processes). That helps me save time not having to do certain menial and repetitive tasks, leaving me more time to learn interesting stuff.

7SR: You’ve got a great article on your site titled “The Art of Optimal Reading.” What’s the difference between speed reading and optimal reading?

The difference–in my opinion–is that speed reading should only be used for filtering out useless info and finding useful info. For example, by looking at a book’s TOC, jacket, and seemingly interesting chapters.

Then, once you find something actually worth reading/learning, you spend the time actually learning that stuff thoroughly. Thoroughly.

How? By going through as much of your framework for learning as you decide that specific information is worth.

It comes down to individual judgment: how accurately do you valuate [insert specific information]? It’s the same mentality as the investor has.

–I call this having an eye for ideas. Most people don’t have it. It takes practice.  

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The Disadvantages of Speed Reading

“Speed reading is useless!” is something you might hear from people who think that speed reading claims are only hype, that faster reading leads to mistakes, or that speed readers don’t enjoy what they’re reading. However, when it comes to listing actual disadvantages to learning to speed read, these same people come up blank.

How many times a day do you read, not just for leisure, but for work? The information era we live in requires endless hours spent reading the latest news about the world and about our specific professional interests. Not to mention the sheer amount of new books published every week that we want to read which fall in the “reading for leisure” category.

It seems that reading is a constantly growing task that naturally feels daunting for anyone with sub-par reading speed. In fact, the only disadvantage of speed reading – is when you aren’t able to speed read!

Triple Your Reading Speed

Imagine reading 3.4 times faster than you do now. Imagine the time saved and the amount of knowledge you could accumulate at this reading speed.

Your knowledge will substantially grow when you’re able to speed read. You’ll acquire a deeper understanding of your particular market niche, its potentials and its dangers. It will also help you make more money as you will be ahead of every other colleague whose reading skills are limited to the average reading speed of 200 words per minute.

Improve Your Comprehension

Reading goes hand in hand with comprehension. Reading out loud or reading on paper doesn’t mean you process and own the ideas mentioned.

That’s why speed reading is so essential. If you want to improve your reading speed and your reading skills as a whole, you need proper training. Good speed reading programs will help you read faster and strengthen those skills involving your brain and eye muscles, which facilitates comprehension even if you read at a faster pace than before.

It might sound crazy or plain impossible, but you can read three times faster than you do now and still manage to comprehend and recall almost everything you read.

With 7 Speed Reading you can get a 94%-98% comprehension rate even if you read at up to 10 times your present reading speed. This means you can develop expert knowledge on any topic or matter that interests you!

Develop knowledge capital that translates into more credibility, status and money!

Knowledge capital is a currency you need plenty of. In a day and age when information travels lightning fast and when the last hour’s news is already history, you need to cope with the amount of new knowledge both related to your career but also to current events.

Acquiring new knowledge capital is easy with speed reading. You will get a competitive advantage over slow readers and be able to boost your credibility as an expert in your niche.

Get step by step support to improve your reading speed fast

Speed reading programs should start by helping you get rid of the bad reading habits you’ve acquired. With 7 Speed Reading you remove the bad reading habits of subvocalization, regression, limited eye fixation, and slow information processing.

Tailored speed reading activities remove these bad habits and replace them with ones that facilitate comprehension and information recall, all the while unlocking your reading capacity, which helps you read more words in less time.

We say it’s time for everyone to learn how to speed read. What do you think?

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Check out eReflect’s Profile on Wikipedia, Youtube, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Crunchbase and Training Industry as well!

7 Productivity Hacks to Wake Up Your Brain

7 Speed Reading Teams Up With Steve Mueller of Planet of Success For An Exclusive Interview

Steve Mueller

INTRODUCTION: Are you trying to expand your comfort zone and improve your social and personal life? Maybe you’re looking for ways to increase your motivation and productivity at work, or for tips on how to get the most out of your study time as you prepare for exams. Do you need a boost of selfconfidence right now? Or perhaps what you’re looking for are simply inspirational stories about things that have helped other people achieve success in all areas of their lives. For any and all of these reasons, we think you’ll like reading the articles at Steve Mueller’s website, Planet of Success, where he writes about personal development and analyzes motivational quotes. Here’s an interview we did with Steve recently.

Hello 7speedreading, thanks for having this interview with me.

7SR: On your website, you say that you enjoy helping people make the most of “their (undiscovered) abilities.” Why did you put ‘undiscovered’ in parentheses here?

I believe there are two major issues that keep people from growing as a person. The first problem is that some do not make full use of their given abilities. For instance, a person that is really talented but not at all motivated to put in a great effort to accomplish a given goal. The other instance is when people are struggling really hard at discovering talents and abilities that lie dormant within them. Instead of being able to discover and use these abilities, this group spends time pursuing activities that are not always suited to their abilities. As a result, they are not as successful as they could be if they were pursuing their true passions.

Basically, this was the idea that I tried to communicate when putting ‘undiscovered’ in parenthesis. The leitmotif of my website is centered around this idea.

7SR: People who are looking for ways to change their lives will find inspiration from the stories on your blog. What motivated you to leave your job and make a change?

I think it was sincere honesty with myself that motivated me to take another career path. Prior to starting my website I was working as an employee of an insurance company. I was faced with an area of responsibility that simply did not fit my abilities and skills. As a result, I was never really outstanding at what I did. For this very reason, I came to the realization that I needed to make a change.

Having the coverage to make a change helped me to work in a field where I can make better use of my given abilities and skills.

7SR: You follow a strict code when writing for your own blog, focusing on honesty and responsibility. Do you have your own rules for reading as well? Here are some examples: keeping an open mind; trying to look at things from the author’s point of view; reading to the end of an article to get all the information before beginning to disagree or criticize.

Yes indeed, I do have some principles for reading. I would not consider these principles as strict rules. It is more like following an intuitive approach towards reading that has always guided me pretty well. These are some of the basic principles I always try to adhere when it comes to reading:

The first principle is that I try to avoid reading materials that have nothing to offer for me. This is for instance the case whenever I’m confronted with dozens of scientific studies while doing research for a given project. In such a case it is really helpful for me if I can quickly select those articles that are of a great relevancy for my project. This is not so easy if one simply has not the time to read all these articles from beginning to end. Something that I found very helpful in such a situation is to either read the abstract or to use speed reading techniques, for example the 7 Speed Reading methods.

The second principle is centered all around efficiency. Whenever I’m reading something related to my business I try to read as efficient as possible. I do this mostly because my aim is to quickly absorb the knowledge contained within a given book, without spending too much time. Using speedreading tactics comes in handy in these situations.

Another principle that I consider really important is to really take myself time when I’m reading books for recreational purposes. In all the instances when I’m reading a book in my leisure time, I try my very best to avoid rushing through the book. Instead, I try to take myself all the time need to really enjoy reading the book without a rush. When I’m reading a book simply for the joy of it, the least thing I would want to do is to read it as quick as I can.

7SR: You probably spend a lot of time writing, but how much time do you spend reading every day?

I read a couple of pages in a real physical book daily. Reading inspires me and helps me to focus on that which is really important. Also, I could be mistaken, but I somehow have the feeling that I gain a lot more from reading a book than I could ever gain from watching countless hours of television.

Also, I read quite a lot of short e-books or blog articles that are somehow related to my website and help me to improve certain aspects of it.

7SR: One of your recent articles talks about the importance of writing a personal development plan. Can this be applied to individual goals as well, like learning to speed read?

Yes, I believe it can be applied to individual goals as well. The article pretty much emphasizes the importance of writing down one’s goals and developing a strategic approach towards the accomplishment of these aims. Speed Reading is no different.

If a person wants to learn to speed read it is important that they set themselves a couple of sub-goals that they can work towards. This approach helps to keep one’s motivation at a constant level as one will have a sense of achievement as one progresses.

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Falling In Love – With A Book

Have you ever thought about the similarities between falling in love and reading? Both prompt intimate feelings, are deeply personal, and can make us feel vulnerable.

Reading a new book is an emotion-packed experience; a roller coaster of feelings, thoughts, and beliefs. Each page, each chapter unveils a new twist, a new predicament, a new reason to fall deeper in love with your hero or heroine.

So how do you fall in (literary) love?


First comes the anticipation. The exhilarating feeling of a potentially great experience.

You’re already flirting with the idea of loving the character and the plot, because something attracted you to the story. And this just builds your excitement even more.

You feel keyed up yet somehow squeamish. It’s a risk.

What if it turns out it’s not what you thought it would be? You feel vulnerable but determined to go headfirst no matter what.

The appeal of unfamiliarity and the soothing sense of growing intimacy

And so it begins. You start slow. You want to take in every word, every image, every sensation the author lays out for you.

The unfamiliar has a great pull. As you read more pages and the characters start taking shape, the excitement of unfamiliarity is gradually replaced with a mesmerizing, pleasurable sense of intimacy.

You start to understand what your characters are thinking before they do. You start having an opinion on what they do; you judge their actions, you sympathize with their thoughts, and feel uneasy and sad when they make choices that are going to cost them later on.

A kaleidoscope of emotions

No other mental activity known to humankind can stir such a variety of emotions. The intensity and visceral impact of these feelings can only be compared to those experienced when you fall in love.

You are now partly the director of your character’s story. You empathize at moments, reject their actions at others. Reconcile with them once you learn their rationale and understand their deeper incentives. You marvel at the fact that an author could know you all too well. That they could think the thoughts you are thinking and speak the words you’re saying.

The bitter end

Inevitably, you reach that dreaded point in your reading where there are only a couple of pages left.

Your soul is brimming with excitement.

You are lingering for the last sentence. Will the end be joyful or sad? Will your character shine through and be redeemed?

Your feelings of excitement are now mingling with feelings of sadness and grief.

The story has to end. It’s like a bad break-up, an inevitable divorce. There’s no turning back.

You wish you could read it afresh again. You realize you cannot relive the experience again, because you already know what’s going to happen. There’s only the possibility of a new love. A different love with another book.

The possibility of falling in love all over

And then, while you’re still feeling down because there are no more pages to read you start to entertain a very appealing thought. The possibility of falling in love again comes to the forefront.

Starting again

And so it goes, you pick up another book. A promising one. It might even be from the same author you grew to love and identify with.

The sweet story repeats itself. Only this time, the setting is different, the characters are new, and the possibility of immersing into a wondrous world suddenly becomes tangible again.

Don’t you just love reading?

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