Supercharge your reading speed & comprehension with Abby Marks-Beale

Would you believe me if I told you it’s possible to permanently improve your reading speed by at least 20% in only a few days? I just did this with the help of a great book by Abby Marks-Beale called “10 days to Faster Reading”. I can tell you that, not only is it possible, but it’s fairly easy to do and there is virtually no loss of comprehension in your reading.

 

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Let’s face it – most of us haven’t really given much thought to our reading, yet it’s something we do every single day. For many of us it’s our way of life and we rely on being able to identify and process vast amounts of information to make a living. Whether you are studying for an exam, doing research for work, writing a report or just kicking back with a good book, improving your reading speed can make a huge difference in your life.

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Abby’s book “10 days to faster reading” was introduced to me through Josh Kaufman’s Personal MBA website – where it is 1st on his list of must-read books. When I started the book I was reading English (not my first language) at about 300 words per minute (pretty average, I know!) After completing the first few chapters I was up to 340wpm with no loss in comprehension, and my final reading speed settled in at around 360wpm. You may already read faster than this, but nonetheless I still think it’s a very respectable achievement – especially from a book that is easy to follow and only costs $10 on Amazon.

There are a number of simple (yet very effective) techniques we can apply to our reading to ensure we get the most value from our time. This is why I simply had to get Abby on the phone and learn these secrets directly from her. She obviously knows what she’s talking about!

In this interview you will learn:

  • The common mistakes we make as readers and how to avoid them –passive regression, poor comprehension, subvocalisation… it’s all in there
  • Detailed techniques for improving comprehension and speed, especially with dense, technical content you are not familiar with
  • How to stop your mind wandering when you read once and for all
  • A simple exercise for your eyes which will supercharge your reading speed
  • How to effectively prepare for meetings that require a lot of pre-reading
  • How to be “in the know” yet waste little time reading news articles
  • Much, much more…

I’m also very excited to share with you an exclusive release of the book just for Nicheinterview subscribers. Abby was very kind to allow me exclusive rights to the first 2 chapters of this book and now I’m giving it away to say thanks for your support. All you have to do is:

  1. Follow me on twitter
  2. Join the nicheinterview mailing list

You’ll be on your way to faster reading in no time!

Big thanks to Abby for the chat and her generosity with the eBook – I’m sure anyone listening to this interview will rev up their reading speed for sure!

Resources mentioned in the interview:

Thanks for listening,

Jurgen

 

FULL TRANSCRIPT

JURGEN: Hi, everyone! Thanks for tuning in to another session of the Niche Interview. My name is Jurgen van Pletsen. I’m very excited to bring you a fascinating chat tonight from a lady named Abby Marks-Beale.

Abby is an expert in speed reading. And tonight we’re going to learn all about speed reading, and how to apply the techniques and so on in practice when you want to prepare for a business meeting, when you want to read through a complex technical document, reading on a computer screen – all sorts of things that can help you be more productive, and better equipped to handle the challenges around you.

Abby is a really smart lady. She’s written two books: one called ‘10 Days to Faster Reading’ which is the one we’ll be talking about tonight, and this book basically gives you a reading exercise each day for about 10 days. Personally, I’ve used the techniques in here to increase my reading speed by 20%; not a big number but a worthy effort I would think. Yet even so I have not lost any comprehension of my reading. I’m very excited to bring you some techniques and ask Abby to share some of the tips and things that has led to that increase.

The second book that she’s written is also called ‘The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Speed Reading’ which is also a very, very good kind of manual for anyone to pick up, and learn how to speed read, and get more out of the time.

She’s also started a business called The Corporate Educator. We’ll be talking into her a little bit about that. And lastly, she has an online speed reading course called ‘Rev It Up Reading’, which I recommend everyone go check out as well.

Abby, are you there?

ABBY: I am here.

JURGEN: Thank you very much for taking the call. Welcome on Niche Interview.

ABBY: My pleasure.

JURGEN: Great!

Abby, speed reading – something that we all wish we could do. We see people on TV. We see people reading through tons and tons of material in a very short period of time yet seems like they can just recall any of the things that they’ve read. They just seem to __[01:51] through a lot of material where most of us when we read something, we sound out the words in our heads. We’re just really slow and it just feels impossible to get through a big textbook for university or a very long board paper if you’re a business person and so on. What’s the key to speed reading in just like a few sentences?

ABBY: Well basically what I found over the years is that there’s this huge misconception about what speed reading is and what it can be for the regular person. What you’re talking about is what we see perhaps on infomercials where – and in fact it’s the old Woody Allen quote that “I read War and Peace in 5 minutes. It’s about Russia.” That’s all he gets out of it. That’s such an old quote. It’s been re-quoted on how many times, and that’s really not what I teach.

What I teach is basically someone who can take what they currently do and double it or triple it. To me that is speed for an individual. You don’t have to be at thousands of words per minute to call yourself a speed reader. The average person reads at 250 words per minute. That’s average; some are below it, some are above it. But imagine doubling to 500 or tripling to 750, having that ability is amazing because you then have much more room to move your speed depending on what you’re reading.

JURGEN: That’s great.

ABBY: So that’s really kind of where I come from. It’s not about one second per page or anything like that.

JURGEN: Right, okay. So it’s about personal improvement, and improving yourself whether your reading speed was 200 words per minute or 100 words per minute if you’re a bit of a slow reader, and so on. Okay, well that’s really good. That’s a really good strategy because it seems like it’s attainable to everyone who can’t really read at a thousand…

ABBY: It’s efficiency. Personal efficiency is kind of what it’s about.

JURGEN: That’s really great.

Abby, tell me about yourself. Where did you grow up, go to school, things like that? Who’s Abby Marks-Beale?

ABBY: I grew up on Long Island in New York. I honestly really never liked reading. Even when I went to college, I never liked to read at all. In my first four years of college I knew nothing about speed reading. Imagine, you go to college, as most people do, and they have never taken a course like this. They really never had any strategies, and they also kind of have a low self-esteem in the area of reading.

It wasn’t until after college, I went to Boston University — it’s where I graduated from here in the States – and it wasn’t until after college where I took a job that said you have to have a degree – so I’m glad that I have my degree – and they would teach me how to teach kids speed reading and also study skills. So I took this job. The company was called Readak, and they’re still around. They are international that’s why I’m mentioning it here on your interview. And they do teach kids in private schools speed reading and study skills. But to me it turned a light bulb on when I saw how easy it could be to learn how to read faster, and better, and smarter. I was like ‘How come nobody taught me this in school?’ And then __[04:54] that I’ve just said ‘How come nobody showed me this in school?’ is consistent.

After I teach a live training class or even my online class, people email me and they say “How come I wasn’t taught this in school?” and I don’t know what I can say except “I don’t know.” because it’s not hard. It’s not something that they can’t incorporate. They just have it. I guess not enough people have taught it or it’s not part of teacher training. I don’t know. But I do think people could benefit from this, that’s why I decided to start my company to do it.

JURGEN: I absolutely agree that people can benefit from it. That’s why we’re talking tonight, Abby. How come I didn’t got taught this in school?

You think anyone from any age can really pick up some of the techniques here or do you think you need to already know how to read properly or the school way? Is there a better way the schools can teach this even to young kids?

ABBY: People do come to me and say “My first grader’s having trouble reading. Can you help them?” and I go “No” because I believe — in terms of my abilities — I don’t do remedial reading. I do developmental reading.

I think a person needs to have a good sight vocabulary, and that’s like I’d say about age 12 or 13 where you’ve already spent time on your novels. You’ve spent some time in textbooks, and you do have enough sight vocabulary so that when we amp up the speed, your eyes and brain can make predictions about what it sees because it’s familiar with it.

Now there are a few companies, if you search the web, that has speed reading for kids as young as kindergarten age. And I just have a real problem with that ethically and morally. A kid should not be speed reading before they learn how to read. I usually tell people I prefer to work with them after they’re 12 or 13, or have a really good sight vocabulary. That’s my __[06:40] on it.

JURGEN: Yeah that’s still fairly young so it’s not something that you should wait until later to learn.

ABBY: No

JURGEN: It’s something you can do even if you’re in school, and you happen to be listening to this interview now, then there’s no reason to start later. Just get on it. Through this interview, maybe at the end of it I’ll share with you a way that you can get the first two chapters of Abby’s book: the ’10 Days to Faster Reading’. I’ll share those first two chapters for you at the end of the interview and how you can get your hands on that.

Yeah, so there’s no reason to delay. Get on it.

With the company that you started: The Corporate Educator, these are the name of the company that you were mentioning just before?

ABBY: I’ll give you a little history since I know you’re interested.

JURGEN: Yeah, go for it.

ABBY: I started my business in 1988. I know that dates me a little bit. I don’t look as old as that sounds however.

JURGEN: All right, good.

ABBY: When I started at 1988 I had a company name called The Reading Edge because I really thought I wanted to focus specifically on the reading part; speed reading. I worked in that through the early 2000s and I just kept thinking — I added other topics to my work because speed reading was good, and it was making some money for me, but I also was saying ‘I need to do something else.’ because after doing speed reading every week I was getting tired of it. I needed to change it up. So I added on time management because I felt that’s a lot of what speed reading does.

I got involved – when email came on to the scene in the late 90s for most people – I added email management. And then as a mother of two kids, I’m trying to manage everything, I added stress management because I felt I needed that. So these are skills that people need but they’re not really taught how just like speed reading is.

That’s when I said ‘But The Reading Edge is just not congruent.’ When I go to a conference and I speak about time management or work-life balance and it says ‘Abby Marks-Beale from The Reading Edge’, it just doesn’t jive.

And so in 2005 I changed the company into two. I split it. I created The Corporate Educator which is really all about those soft skills, and then have this site Rev It Up Reading which is more of the speed reading 24/7 for the retail market. That’s kind of where it happened.

JURGEN: Okay, so Rev It Up Reading is your course speed reading offering, and The Corporate Educator is your time management, email management, stress management, and I presume other related kind of topics to make us more productive at work?

ABBY: Correct. Yeah, and I also do have a couple of other facilitators because I’m not an expert in everything, and I don’t want to be. I could teach business writing but I don’t want to, so I have someone who’s very qualified to do that; or organizational skills, I have someone who does that. It’s really nice because I have really good people who work with me, and they do it the way that I like it done. They keep my reputation there so I’m happy.

JURGEN: Perfect! Well that’s exactly what we want. And you’re leveraging your time at the same time you know?

ABBY: Exactly

JURGEN: That’s really good, a really good way to scale things.

Let’s get back to speed reading specifically. Maybe The Corporate Educator and those kind of topics is something we can save for another discussion…

ABBY: Sure

JURGEN: …because I’m quite interested to learn about time management and stress management not because I have kids, but because I live quite a busy life. That’s always good to hear how you can improve things.

But talking about speed reading, what’s the history behind speed reading? Where did it all start?

ABBY: As you may have read in the book, in the ’10 Days to Faster Reading’ book, one of the time reading exercises is about the history of speed reading and it talks about Evelyn Wood – and so some of the people listening to this know who she is at least by name, and some of them have no clue because anyone who’s about 35 and older right now probably does, and under 35 probably doesn’t – Evelyn Wood started figuring out that there are ways to make the eyes and brain communicate in a faster way. This was in about 1955 when she started doing this.

So she started teaching classes herself, and then she started to franchise her business all around the United States where she would give away like a free 3-hour class, and then you can sign up and take a 15-hour class. And I remember way back when I was in high school that I took that 3-hour class and thinking “Wow! This is really crazy. I’m not sure I can do this.” I wasn’t convinced I could do it. And it was also like $495 or something which was totally outrageous for that time. Very expensive. And so I decided to not force my parents to make me take it, but I learned a little bit that I had potential at that time.

But Evelyn, she really capitalized on her concept. She eventually closed some of those franchises, and I believe, sold the rights to maybe first Dale Carnegie, and then maybe Fred Pryor Seminars I think still owns the rights to that course. But she passed away in 1995, and a lot has changed since then in technology, and people are reading on screen now. They’re reading on BlackBerries, and iPads, and all kinds of stuff. There really has to be a whole different approach, I think, now. Plus, Evelyn would really had no idea what information overload was in her time because there was just so, so much. Now we have duplication; you get newspapers on paper or you get it on screen. Your magazine’s on paper and on screen. Your newsletter’s on paper and on screen. There’s just so much stuff. You have to really be efficient with it, too. She was a great pioneer. Rest her soul, she really did a lot of good things for all of us.

JURGEN: Excellent, and so she started basically the concept of your brain working in a different way, and speed reading found from there.

I read the story in the book and I found it quite good. The tachistocope, that’s one of the things you mentioned there as a tool. Is that what she used to kind of infer these linkages and things?

ABBY: I believe it was something in the Air Force that she took a look at because Air Force pilots have to deal with seeing something very quickly and processing it. I think she created a tachistoscope. I think, or she used it. I actually still have one in my attic; one of the old time – it’s a filmstrip projector, and you’d be able to project a word up there very quickly, and then you had to guess what it was. Thankfully there’s now modern things online. There’s two programs that I advocate and they’re both free. One is called www.ZapReader.com or www.spreeder.com, and both of those allow you to upload some of your own material that you want to read.

So you’re reading an article let’s say on the Internet, you copy the text, you paste it into Zap Reader or Spreeder, and you can set it up to literally flash the words at you at whatever speed that you want. It could be one word at a time, two words at a time, three words at a time. And it’s kind of fun to actually be force-fed your material at a speed that may be a little challenging. So the tachistoscope started as a filmstrip projector but here now, it’s on the computer.

JURGEN: Oh wow, okay.

ABBY: And the other is that if anyone’s really serious, they can purchase a program called Ace Reader. Ace Reader, it’s a reasonably priced speed reading program and it has a lot of tachistoscopic drills. It also has an advanced reading mode, and it has a way to track your progress. So it’s a really good practice program, not just a quick tachistoscope which Zap Reader and Spreeder are.

JURGEN: Gotcha. So that’s a really cool software. Thanks for sharing that with us. I’ll put a link on the webpage where people can visit those sites as well. Thanks very much for that.

I didn’t even know what a tachistoscope was. That’s on my notes. I was like ‘What is a tachistoscope?’ so thanks for letting me know what that is.

Generally with speed reading – in your book you mentioned there’s about three things that generally bring down our speed in speed reading. The first that you mentioned is the wandering mind. Second is something you called regression of which there’s two types: the active and the passive regression. And then there is sub-vocalization.

So what I’d like to do is just talk a little bit about each of those things so that we can become aware of the factors that are keeping us from increasing our reading and comprehension speeds.

So if we start with the wandering mind, what’s that all about?

ABBY: That’s the human condition. Everybody does it. I think high school and college students are definitely masters at it when they’re trying to read, they’re thinking about a million other things because they’ve got so much going on in their lives. But the problem is obviously that if you’re thinking about something else than what you’re reading, you’re not obviously understanding what you’re reading. There is a relationship between your mind wandering, and your ability to read and understand.

Sometimes our eyes get to the bottom of a page – I bet this has happened to you – where you get to the bottom of the page and you’re saying “What did I just read?”

JURGEN: Hundreds of times

ABBY: It’s a very normal thing. The idea is you want to do that less. And the way you do that is through very active mindful strategies that speed reading can provide. It doesn’t mean you won’t do it again because everybody will. But the idea is what do you do about it when you find yourself daydreaming when you’re reading? How important is what you’re reading in front of you? Can you go off in your daydream or do you need to come back? How are you going to get yourself that?

It’s not an easy thing especially in this multitasking, ADD world that we’re in. I think nano-focusing is very difficult for a lot of people. So the mind wandering is there.

JURGEN: Okay, great. Definitely, especially with the advent of smart phones becoming so popular that everyone kind of has it.

I read a story recently of someone buying an iPad – some famous __[16:29] journalist or someone – bought and iPad and he actually took his back after two weeks and said “You know what? It’s not so much what this device is giving me access to and what it provides me, but it’s also what it took away from me.” He says basically what happened is he found himself — instead of letting his mind just float around when he had some 10 minutes off and just, you know, kind of just letting it go, he was constantly reading stuff online or he was constantly just engaging with this thing, and not really getting that time anymore to let his mind just kind of float around, and come up with things, and so on.

Which, it’s a good point that I think we should all kind of remember. You need a little bit of downtime even if it’s only a few minutes.

ABBY: I think that’s one of the things that is so important, and this is part of where creativity comes in. If you don’t have that time, you can’t be creative. You can’t problem-solve in your own life or at work. It’s so important to have that un-connected time. Whoever that person was, was very smart because they were in the process of getting sucked in, and they said ‘Oh, don’t take me. I don’t want to go.’ They got rid of it, and I just so admire whoever that was to say “I don’t want to go there.” Good for them.

JURGEN: Yeah, definitely. It’s completely lost on me of course. I’m just a complete opposite of that. So I’m completely sucked into that vortex, but trying to get out of it.

ABBY: I really recommend that you go on vacation to a place that doesn’t have cell service.

JURGEN: Ah yes. Can you recommend any places that are good?

ABBY: The only place I know is up here in the United States. There’s a lake way up north on the border of Canada. I went last time, and I could not access email, could not access the internet. The first two days I was twitching. I was like ‘Come on! I need to have it.’ And after that, the next five days were spent just totally enjoying, not dealing with it.

JURGEN: I should do that, yeah.

I fall into the trap of taking all these things with me when I travel. I just end up doing the same stuff as I would do at home, and it’s costing me 10 times more.

ABBY: At some point if you feel like you really need a break or you just want to try it, it’s so worth it in the end. You got to give yourself not just a day or two but like a week. It’s just amazing. It’s great.

JURGEN: It’s good. I’ll put that on my bucket list.

ABBY: There you go.

JURGEN: All right, Abby, the second thing there that you mentioned so apart from a wandering mind and our thoughts just taking us all over the place, and we end up reading a whole page, coming back to it not knowing what it is that we just read, and then re-reading it, there’s also this thing called regression. Is that related to the wandering mind, and what is it?

ABBY: Many times if you’re mind wandering, you do get to the bottom of the page and you have to go back — which is what regression is about — to get what you’ve missed which isn’t the best way to go back. I think if you go back over something, it should be because you’re actively, mindfully engaged in what you’re reading, and you’ve missed something, and you go ‘I think I’ve missed that idea.’ or ‘I missed the word ‘not’.’ A lot of people are worried about missing the word ‘not’ and they’re thinking they can’t read faster because they’re going to miss the word ‘not’, and I got to tell them “You know what? You train yourself to look for the word ‘not’, not worry about missing the word ‘not’.”

So I believe that when you’re active mindful and conscious when you’re reading, that you will catch yourself and go ‘Oh! I think I missed something here. I’m not quite understanding.’ So you go back actively or intentionally looking for what you’ve missed.

I do an exercise in my classes where I sit people one across from each other, and one person reads silently, and the other person watches the person’s eyeballs while they read silently, and their eyes track across the line, and inevitably – I would say more than 50% or 60% of the people in the class — report that the person they were looking at were what I call ‘passively regressing’ meaning instead of marching their eyes from one word to the next forward, they would go backwards for a little bit, and then go forward again. And this is something that is a very bad habit that a lot of us just were born into or learned how to do, and we need to just try to avoid that or reduce it.

One of the ways to do that is learn speed reading: to force your eyes to just keep moving forward, to trust your brain a little bit more and not worry that if you don’t understand everything that you can still get what you’re reading. A lot of people think that they’re going to be tested at the end of every reading like they did in elementary school. It’s not true.

I think it’s very important that people learn to trust their brain, and use their hand or a card to read with, and those were some of the speed strategies that I advocate, and use them effectively – not just any hand or card method, but I have 13 in the ‘Idiot’s Guide’ book, and there are 10 in the ’10 Days’ book that you pick one or two that work for you, and that really helps to reduce this tendency to naturally go back.

JURGEN: Excellent. All right, that’s really great. There’s really good strategies there using the card, or using your hand, or a pencil or something to kind of track, and keep your eye in line because I read in your book you say that your eye naturally follows movement.

ABBY: Yes, yes it does.

JURGEN: So if something’s moving then your eyes’ more likely to kind of follow that thing. That’s really good. Very practical, easy to implement strategy.

What about sub-vocalization?

ABBY: I’m not sure where you come from Jurgen. I don’t know how they teach reading, but here they do where it’s phonics method where you sound it out and hear it in your head. Do you remember if you’ve learned that way?

JURGEN: Yeah, it’s basically ta-ta-ta-ta, you know like rhythmic, kind of like mouthing out or sounding out each of the components of a word. And then as you go, you put them together and all that kind of stuff, so yes. They’re pretty much the same.

ABBY: So learning to read English, anyway, that’s the way that we’ve been taught which is very effective. However, by the time you have a good sight vocabulary, someone needs to tell you that you don’t need to sound out every word internally. That’s what sub-vocalization is which is mentally whispering or talking in your head while you’re reading. I think people need to learn how to reduce this. I don’t think you can really get rid of it. Even personally, I still sub-vocalize a little bit but compared to one word at a time, I’m a whole lot more efficient than that.

By learning how to reduce the talking by reading faster, reading keywords — which is one of the methods I talk about — by using your hands or card, by catching yourself talking to yourself, and trying to move yourself forward are all good things to do. But know that it’s not a bad thing. A lot of people think ‘Oh I talk while I read. It’s a horrible thing.’ It’s not. It’s just that you probably do it too much just like daydreaming. Everybody will do it, but how much are you doing is the question.

JURGEN: Yeah it comes back to that focus that you have on this type of things where it’s about self-improvement as opposed to there’s this magical, mythical number of thousand words a minute or whatever the case is. It’s just about improving. It’s not about eliminating the things but it’s making everything work better than they are currently.

ABBY: Correct

JURGEN: I suppose a lot of little incremental little changes like this could actually manifest itself eventually in a significant increase in speed so that makes a lot of sense.

ABBY: Good. I’m glad.

JURGEN: And for anyone out there – I was just thinking of this if you’re sub-vocalizing, and you learn how to stop do it, and you still hear the voices in your head, you should probably go see someone once that happens. That’s not you. I don’t know what’s going on.

ABBY: That’s a problem. Right. You’re funny.

JURGEN: Reading is not your issue.

ABBY: Yeah, right.

JURGEN: So those are the three main things, I suppose, that are holding people back initially from increasing their reading speed and comprehension.

So we talk a little bit about some techniques like using an index card, or a pencil, or actively concentrating or focusing better on your work to avoid that wandering mind issue. What are some of the other techniques that we can improve? Things like the way our eyes move across the page.

ABBY: I’m happy to give you those strategies. I want to practice it by just saying that when I talk about speed reading, what I’m talking about is, in effect, like a gear shift. Like everyone has, in my mind, let’s say 5 gears — just like a stick-shift car — has 5 gears that they can use when they read. Gear 1 is slow, and Gear 5 is overdrive, and you have that range in between. And I believe that most people are stuck in Gears 1 and 2 because they’ve never learned how to get into the Gears 3, 4, & 5.

What I’m talking about when I talk about speed reading is that you don’t speed read everything. But there are times when you really want to get through material quickly or you have a lot, and you need to get through it quickly, and you still want to be able to understand it. You will be able to put these strategies into play when you choose. It’s an active, mindful conscious thing versus a passive, mindless, and unconscious thing. So understand that when I give you these strategies, it’s not like you should use it all the time.

When I go to bed at night and I read to go to sleep, number one: I’m reading like a nightcap. I use reading to force me to relax and go to sleep. I don’t read quickly there. I read – I won’t say one word at a time – but it’s certainly not my fastest speed by any stretch because I don’t want to, and it’s just not my purpose at that time.

Other times when I’m studying – I’m studying homeopathic medicine and there’s a ton to read for that – I will typically not read that in bed because I’m studying it, and I’ll sit up at a desk or table, and I will use my hand or a card to read with. If it’s really intense, I’ll slow down. If it’s something I’m familiar with, I’ll speed up.

So it’s like you have this gear that you need to be aware of and choose all the time ‘How should I be approaching it?’ Does that make sense?

JURGEN: It makes a lot of sense. Choosing the right tool is like – so perhaps we think of this as a bit of a tool belt?

ABBY: Yes

JURGEN: Like a tradesperson or someone like that, and you choose the right tool for the job.

ABBY: Exactly

JURGEN: So, for instance, a very good tool to fall asleep would be an accounting textbook.

ABBY: It might crush you, though, because they’re so heavy if you’re laying in bed with it.

JURGEN: Yeah that’s right. That’s another problem. It’s so much of it and it’s pretty dry stuff. So that’s what I use. I just pick up an old accounting manual, and then I just look at it, and fall asleep.

ABBY: That works.

JURGEN: Keeping that in mind then, so these techniques are not the one and end-all kind of strategy, and you don’t have to employ each of them every time.

ABBY: No

JURGEN: But they do make for quite some interesting things.

Some things in here that I’ve never heard before which when I mentioned earlier in this interview that I increased my reading speed by 20%, that’s not even really fully studying this book. I went through it, and just from reading, and being aware of some of these techniques already increased the speed at which I was taking material in. And one of those things was just knowing how to move your eyes in a different way across the page.

You have this thing called the ‘eye span pyramid’ in the book which is a very useful tool. Unfortunately we can’t show the listeners out there what this looks like. But essentially what it taught me was that I don’t have to look at every single word as I’m reading, and instead focus your eye on the first part of the sentence, and then the last part, and just force your eye to kind of jump around like that, and use your peripheral vision, I suppose, to try and take a little bit more the words.

Can you elaborate on that technique a little bit?

ABBY: I sure can — and by the way, this is in the first two chapters of the ’10 Days’ book that we’re going to be offering for folks to look at to know that they would be able to get it.

What the eye span pyramid is meant to do is to show people how wide they should be going versus where they are right now. So the pyramid is basically if you can imagine three numbers set up one right next to each other, and slowly they get separated out more and more so that you have a number further to the left, one in the middle, and one further to the right each time the pyramid goes down so that you stare at your number in the middle, and see if when you’re staring at that number, you can see what’s on both sides accurately. And so the more that you can look in the middle and see both sides without moving your eyes, the more you’re expanding your peripheral vision.

If you’ve been a word-for-word reader, you don’t have a very wide vision because you haven’t nurtured it. You’ve looked at one word at a time instead of trying to say ‘Well maybe I need to look at two or three words at a time.’ And that’s what this eye span pyramid starts you doing is getting to be aware of how wide or narrow your eye span is.

JURGEN: That’s excellent. I find that tool really helpful.

ABBY: Good.

JURGEN: And it’s a really good strategy. I believe anyone that becomes aware of this can instantly — maybe even like double the speed that you’re reading at at the moment just by doing this because you don’t actually realize how much you can take in unless you try. And the more you try it, the better you get it at, and it’s made a massive difference to my reading. Thank you very much for inventing that, if you invented that. It’s quite good.

ABBY: I’m passing it on. I’ll be honest. I’ve done a lot of research, and that was one of the things I found, and thought it was useful to use in my own practice. I’m just a very good culminator of information.

JURGEN: Perfect! Well thank you very much for being so honest as well.

ABBY: Sure

JURGEN: The next thing here: what is phrase-flashing?

ABBY: Phrase-flashing is just, again, another way of making predictions about what you read where – it’s just another exercise for figuring out how quickly you can grab like a small column of information, like three words at a time.

See most newspapers are written about 6 or 7 words across in the newspaper columns for most newspapers. If you can stop your eyes 2 times per line and get 3 words each time, you’re able to move quicker across the line instead of stopping your eyes, let’s say, 6 times per line.

The phrase-flashing gets you starting on being able to quickly look at a line and see if you can imagine what it says.

You can do this like when you’re driving or if you’re a passenger in the car. You look really quickly at someone’s license plate like a real flash. You flash your eyes at the license plate, and then turn away, and try to recount what exactly you saw. Most of the time we can hold about 7 pieces of information, some of the 9 pieces in our short term memory so you should be able to handle a license plate. You look at the license plate. You don’t stare at it, but you flash quickly, and then turn away, and see if you got all the numbers or letters correct. And then you look back at it and see if you got it right. So it’s the same kind of a concept, and you can do it while you’re driving as well.

JURGEN: Excellent. And if you’re driving, and you’re doing this, and you happen to crash your car because of this interview…

ABBY: No!

JURGEN: Please don’t do this while you’re driving behind the wheel if you can help it.

ABBY: If in traffic you can do it. It’s easy when you stop somewhere. You stop at a light, you can do it. You can do it when you’re stopped in traffic, but be careful when you’re driving. Thank you for that caution.

JURGEN: At the red light or at the stop street, then grab a bit of an exercise right there.

The next question I have was about concentration, and this kind of ties in with the wandering mind thing. I found myself quite often in uni reading some complex textbook material and things like that. It’s very easy to just kind of drift off.

What are some of the distracters to effective reading as far as concentration is concerned? How can we stop getting lost?

ABBY: There are so many ways people can get lost. It’s harder to concentrate. Like I mentioned earlier about the ADD world, and the multitasking-ness, and trying to just focus on one thing at a time.

I’m constantly amazed when I ask people to describe to me the environment that they read in when they’re reading for work or for school, and it’s inevitable that there’s a phone that can go off, an email that dings, people that can interrupt them. There’s stuff all over their desk. There’s not good lighting or they’re laying in bed, and they’re wondering if they lay in bed, and they’re trying to read for school or for work why they get so sleepy. Okay, let’s use a little logic here folks. If you’re laying in bed, what do you think the mind is thinking about? Work or sleep? Okay, I think we got the answer to that question.

It’s just making people aware or making yourself aware of how we don’t set ourselves up for reading success when we sit down to read. If we’re reading for a purpose like work or for school or we need to learn something — when you read a novel, you can read wherever you want; at the beach, or in bed, or whatever because that’s your own choice. But when it’s something that you need to learn, and you need to understand really deeply, you’ve got to be sitting, I believe, at a desk or table, clear it off right in front of you. You could have tons of junk around you but you really need to have a space where you have your elbows and your material where you’re hopefully fairly rested. You’re not totally exhausted, employed out from your day, where you’re not starving. You’ve gone to the bathroom. You create this place and space mentally and physically where it’s ideal to concentrate.

Like when I train college students — which my season comes up very soon when I’m going around some colleges, and I talk to them about reading, and I say “How many of you start reading your material at 10 o’clock at night?” and more than ¾ of them raise their hand. And they say “Well it’s because we don’t have time during the day.” And I said “Well you know what? I bet you have time. You just use it differently.” I said “If you’re reading ‘til 10 at night, how tired are you when you start reading?” and they go “Oh yeah, really, really tired.” I say “Well here’s two things: one is to take that half hour that you were schmoozing with your friends at lunch and go read because you’ll read twice as much at that time than waiting until 10 o’clock at night after your full day. Or, say to yourself ‘You know what? I’m going to go to sleep now and get up at 4 in the morning.’” because a rested mind will be able to manage it better even for someone who’s not a morning person, the brain will — once you’re up — be able to manage much faster and better than if you’re trying to shove information in on a very tired brain.

I tell people “Be responsible for how you set up your environment. Make it a good one.”

JURGEN: That’s really great tips. It makes a lot of sense.

I try to read a lot in bed. That didn’t quite work out especially with the accounting, you know.

ABBY: Oh yeah, no it doesn’t work. We want to relax and learn at the same time. It doesn’t really work too well.

JURGEN: All right, and I suppose the more you do that, you’re conditioned — and the same thing as when you’re in bed or whatever — your body’s kind of conditioned to go to sleep. It’s the environment that it triggers that kind of feeling. So maybe like if you set this environment up for yourself where you’re focused and actively learning, over time, the very act of conditioning yourself to do that might make it easier and you’ll just kind of slip into that mode straight away as soon as you kind of sit down. I found that to be true for myself at least.

It’s just like you lie in bed, you become sleepy. Sit down at the table where you’re used to working, you’re in work mode. I force myself into that position.

ABBY: It doesn’t mean you can’t fall asleep sitting up, but you have a harder time doing it.

JURGEN: Yeah, especially if you have an uncomfortable chair like I do.

ABBY: Right. Exactly.

JURGEN: Talking about university there for a quick second, I used to make a lot of notes in my books, and take tons and tons of handwritten notes, and things like that. Is there a more effective way that we can summarize content for later, quick retrieval? Do you have any tips around that kind of stuff?

ABBY: Well there’s a lot of things that I personally do, let’s say, four things that I’m going to refer back to — and I’ll save this for like my homeopathic books, or even in some of the speed reading books or time management books that I read — I will use the back cover of the book (which a lot of times is blank), the inside back cover or if there’s a blank page or two in the back, which I always hope there is — is I will say ‘Page 32 has a really good chart on blah blah blah.’ And so I will handwrite ‘Page 32, chart on blah blah blah here.’ So when I go back to that book, I won’t re-read the book, but I will look at my cheat-cheat notes that I’ve created on what pages these charts, this information, that remedy, that whatever it is so that now I have my highlights there. So I’ve highlighted some in the book, but then I’ve also put out specifically what reference do I want the most. And I’ll put that in the back of my book.

JURGEN: That’s really good. I’ve never thought of actually using that page for anything. Why not?

ABBY: It’s only for those books that I really want to refer back to. I don’t do it for every book now, but for the ones that I say ‘This is a keeper.’ I put it there.

Another thing I do with a highlighter is I try to highlight keywords so I’m not highlighting full sentences often. I try very hard to find the keywords. So if it says ‘There are three reasons why most people get sick after they’re stressed.’ so if you’re reading that you’re going to look for those three things. So you look for where’s number one, and you highlight specifically what number one is. You look for number two. You look for number three. And that makes it easier to review later on instead of highlighting everything that’s written there. So you’re trying to find specific things, and a keyword or two or three that just kind of give you what it’s about, and then the highlighted page, of course, you can refer back to.

I think most college students — they’re so funny when I talk to them, and I say “How many of you use your highlighter like a lot?” and they go “I do. I like coloring my pages.” And I go “Well there’s a problem here.” And I say “Here’s the problem: here’s your page, you’ve highlighted like half of it or three quarters of it. Now you go back and re-read it before an exam, but you’re scratching your head wondering ‘Why did I highlight this in the first place?’” because they don’t remember where their head was at.

So it’s better to highlight the keywords of the things that they think are important so then that makes sense. Or, put in a margin a couple of comments about what’s there instead of spending time coloring. They start to learn to be a little more efficient, and it takes practice but they have a lot of years of practice so they’ll get good at it by the time they graduate.

JURGEN: Very good. Those are very useful things. Anyone can implement those straight away.

The highlighting one, yeah I was one of those coloring my page. Basically all you’re doing is you’re just changing the color of the page…

ABBY: And it also postpones your learning by the way, Jurgen. I wanted you to know that, that most people they highlight thinking ‘I think this is important but I don’t want to learn it now so I’m just going to color it, and I’ll come back to it some day, and review it later.’ It shouldn’t be for that purpose. It should really be just to point out what you need to refer back to, not to learn it later.

JURGEN: That’s great. That makes a whole lot of sense because you’re highlighting certain sections of it as the way it says.

ABBY: Right

JURGEN: So those are some really good techniques. Thanks a lot for sharing those with us.

There’s another one here called ‘reading between the lines’ which I just kind of like the sound of that because it can have so many connotations. But in the context of speed reading, what does reading between the lines mean?

ABBY: I’ll try to explain it. It basically means that you’re not focusing on the words specifically but the space between the words.

If you’re reading a paragraph, your eyes are above – you’re in that little white space between the line that you’re trying to read and the previous line before it. When you do that — and typically the spacing is narrow enough – that when you do that, your eyes are skimming the tops of the words. And because when you’re reading, you have a capital letter at the beginning of the sentence and then smaller letters through the rest of it, you’re seeing the shapes on the tops of the letters whereas if you’re trying to read the bottoms of every word, those are more straight and that’s harder to predict.

So when you read between the lines, what you’re trying to do is not focus on every word, but to kind of incorporate more words at a time. Am I making sense?

JURGEN: Yeah, that does make sense.

ABBY: So you’re really trying not to look at the words themselves, but you’re looking between the lines of what you’re reading.

JURGEN: Oh that’s great.

ABBY: Yeah, it can really work if you get it. Not everyone gets that though, but you can.

JURGEN: Yeah, it makes sense because the straight versus the actual shapes of the words.

Because I saw this thing a while back where — it’s one of those chain mails/letters that goes out where they send you a bunch of paragraphs, but all the words are – the letters between the first and the last letter of each word are kind of just jumbled up, and when you read it you realize you can still read everything perfectly even though everything’s jumbled up.

ABBY: Yes

JURGEN: This is almost the same kind of concept. You recognize certain elements of the word by looking at the little peaks. Is that right?

ABBY: Yes, exactly. It’s just a little bit different. What you’re talking about is where you look at the word, and you see the word, let’s say the word ‘while’ and so the way they present it is ‘w’ in the beginning and the ‘e’ at the end but there’s an ‘l’, and ‘h’, and an ‘i’ in the middle. And so it changes the spelling, but you still get what the word means.

And so it’s all predicting, really. They’re both similar in that way that you are predicting when you read between the lines, and you’re predicting when you’re doing what you’re talking about.

JURGEN: Okay, that makes sense.

ABBY: Yeah, I use it in my workshop. I have a PowerPoint slide that has that because a lot of people have seen it, and not everyone has, so I do show it to them. Yeah it’s cool.

JURGEN: It’s a very effective way. It’s almost like it comes – to come back to something you said previously about when you focus your eyes on more than one word at a time to try and recognize like blocks of texts when you move your eye in that particular way.

So it’s almost like when we started learning how to read we go, say, the word ‘read’, I go r-e-a-d, read. So I read each of the letters separately, and then I pronounce the whole word from that or from the sound of those letters I kind of deduct what the word looks like. And as you grow older and older, you just see the word ‘read’. It’s not even like you’re reading the word ‘read’. You just know that word.

ABBY: Right

JURGEN: It’s almost like it’s become a picture in some sense. I suppose with a bit of more practice, and recognizing chunks of texts, you should be able to apply the same kind of principle eventually to recognizing whole blocks of texts.

ABBY: Yes

JURGEN: And to some extent obviously. That seems to make a little bit of sense to me at least.

ABBY: Yes, it does.

JURGEN: One thing I did very much like about your book, Abby, was the – it encapsulated in this interview so far – is basically you’re not focusing just on techniques, and little tricks and tips, and things like that. You’re actually taking a bit of more holistic approach to reading.

You mentioned things like putting yourself in the right environment, making sure you choose the right tool for the job, for the particular reading purpose that you have. So thinking about why you’re reading something, what do I want to get out of it prior to actually reading it? This is a particular thing called ‘previewing’ which you mentioned there which talks a little bit about this kind of concept of actively trying to get something out of the material prior to actually even opening it up.

Can you elaborate a little bit on that: the concept of previewing?

ABBY: Yeah, it’s one of what I call ‘the tenets of effective reading’ where before you start to read, you mentally ask yourself “Why am I reading this and what do I need it for?”

So if you’re reading a book on speed reading, let’s say, and there’s something about the history of speed reading and you’re thinking “I could really care less about the history of speed reading. I want strategies.” Then you read according to what your needs are. So you might skip over that whole section or just quickly go through it and see if there’s anything important or not, but you really go and focus your attention on just strategies because that’s what you’re reading for.

So I always say to people “Mentally say to yourself ‘Why are you here and what do you need from this?’” so that you have that intention before you even start. That helps. That’s the mindful, conscious activeness that I’ve been talking about.

The other is that when you preview – and I’m talking here very specifically about non-fiction material; meaning your business material, your study textbooks, that kind of stuff – those are written in outline form. Believe it or not, as a non-fiction author myself, I do know that everything is written in – it starts in an outline. So when you read my book or anyone else’s book like that, what you’re reading is a fleshed out outline. So your job as a reader — if you really want to get the meat quickly — is to find the outline that the author started with, and it’s very simple in where to find it.

Though I have it in the book, I’ll share with you here too how to find it. It’s basically looking at the beginning: your introductory paragraphs that tell you where the chapter or article is going, then you stop reading everything and read just the first sentence of a paragraph, and then stop and go to the next first sentence of the next paragraph down and stop, and kind of do that until you get to something that looks interesting like some bullet points, or italics, or bold, and you kind of pick those up as you go along.

But it’s kind of like what I call ‘the helicopter view’ of whatever you’re reading. So you don’t have to spend a lot of time on the ground walking the streets here. What you’re doing is going up in the helicopter and getting a very broad view in an organized fashion of what the author has intended.

And it’s a very powerful strategy for getting through newspaper articles, magazine articles, textbooks, legal documents. Legal documents are written in outline form for goodness sakes. Anything like that is just very, very helpful, and it’s the way that I get through a lot of my reading material quickly without reading it all sometimes. I don’t read everything. It’s one of my favorite time management strategies.

JURGEN: That’s excellent. Yeah that’s really good tip. Thanks for that.

ABBY: You’re welcome.

JURGEN: And yeah it makes a lot of sense, you know, the outline – you’re just kind of flashing out a skeleton, I suppose, when you write non-fiction or if you write a report on something or things like that which for the most – most of the reading that I do is non-fiction related stuff anyway. So this will be a very useful technique for me to kind of implement as I read __[47:22] how that goes.

ABBY: Yeah that’ll help your reading speed right there big time.

JURGEN: It’s kind of like I have a few friends that are like journalists, and in the media and things like that, one of them once told me that to write a good newspaper article or magazine article or something, you kind of use a reverse pyramid kind of concept where you write it in the form that if there ever happens to be any space constraints come time for publication, they should be able to chop off like the last two or three paragraphs of your piece, and you should still have been able to convey the exact message that you want to get through in the first few paragraphs. So you write it so that the first sentence is always like just the most important thing you can say and the rest is kind of just fluffed in.

So consuming news, I find myself – ever since I heard that – I just read like the first sentence really of every paragraph in a news article, and I find that I get 80% of what that’s about, and I kind of know enough. And then I can skim through quite a lot of content like that, and I get this feeling that I genuinely just kind of know what’s going on in the world, but yet I don’t invest a lot of time in it at all.

ABBY: That’s a great tip. It’s called the ‘A-frame concept’.

JURGEN: A-frame concept, okay

ABBY: A-frame, put the most important stuff at the top of the A – if you think what the capital letter A looks like. So you’re basically saying they put the most important information up top so that if they have to cut off from the bottom, you got the meat.

JURGEN: That’s right.

ABBY: It’s a great strategy. I’m really glad you shared it.

JURGEN: Yeah, it’s just been such a helpful thing. Even when writing, it helps you write better as well because you have like some kind of framework in which you’re placing your thoughts as you go about putting things on paper.

Actually on that now, the fact of like reading through something really quickly, kind of skimming through it, this is the last thing that you mentioned is called ‘skim-scan-skip’ in the methods.

Do you want to really quickly maybe talk a little bit about what that is, and why that’s important for us to kind of employ different tools like that when we read?

ABBY: There’s a difference between skimming and scanning. Most people don’t know the difference.

Skimming is kind of what I’ve talked about with previewing; it’s that general overview of the content. You get general ideas, main ideas whereas scanning is like if you want to get the baseball scores or if you want to look at the obituaries to see what time the funeral services are, that’s when you’re looking for something specific.

We have to get good, I think — all efficient readers — need to be good at both because you can skim and scan the same material.

Like you get a menu when you go into a restaurant. You might say “I have no idea what’s here. I’ve never been to this restaurant before but gee, I feel like Chicken Parmesan.” And so when you go to the menu, you look at the menu, you take the broad view, the skim view ‘Okay they have chicken, they have fish, they have veal.’ And then you say “You know what? Okay now I see what they have. I still want my chicken, so then you go to the chicken and you hope that they have your Chicken Parmesan.”

So I use the menu analogy because it’s really what we need to do with our reading as well is we need to know what all is there first before we can then target what specifically we want to spend our time on. That’s what skimming and scanning is.

And skipping is basically just saying knowing and feeling confident that we don’t have to read everything, that we can skip things. We don’t have to look up every new word that we see that if we get the concept from what we’re reading, that’s enough. We don’t have to stop and open our dictionary every time unless that’s our goal: is to build our vocabulary intensely. Otherwise we can just kind of move on and say “I got enough.” and be happy and move on.

JURGEN: Perfect!

Those three things by themselves are quite useful techniques as well. I never knew there was a difference between skimming and scanning. Like I just thought there was kind of ‘Scan through this stuff real quick’ or ‘Skim through the things real quick.’ It’s quite useful to put a different kind of methodology behind each of those things.

Talking about practical applications, we’ve covered a lot of techniques now, we’re kind of coming to the close of this interview. And for those of you still listening, thanks for doing so. I will share with you – at the end of this interview – a method on how you can get the first two chapters free of this book that we’re talking about here called the ’10 Days to Faster Reading’.

Just bringing it all kind of together, and talking about practical application of some of these tools, if I’m in a rush and I need to prepare for a business meeting, what can I do to real quickly get myself across some content, and retain that to look as if I completely across all the content?

ABBY: To prepare for a business meeting I think really you’re hoping that the person prepared their written material for you in a way that is logical which would be wonderful. I think in this day and age of email, we had to learn how to write, and not many people pride themselves when they are in school as being really good writers. There’s kind of an issue there.

But let’s say the reading material is something, let’s say, was an article in a newspaper and you have to go and be prepared to the business meeting is to know and feel confident that you can preview it, that you can find the first sentences of paragraphs. You can use keywords perhaps or phrases to pick up main concepts, but not feel like you have to read word-for-word. It’s a very stressful thing when you have to read fast and you’re stuck in reading word-for-word.

So it’s more about getting that global view or that helicopter view. Sometimes it’s just enough to talk about in a business meeting. And sometimes people will do this previewing and broad view typically can actually talk more intelligently than people that read it word-for-word because they get the picture. They get the whole big concept whereas if they’re stuck on word-for-word, they’re stuck in the details, and the minutia.

JURGEN: That’s a very good point.

ABBY: So that they really do find that they can get through things quicker and more efficiently.

Just a quick aside, when I first started teaching speed reading many years ago when I worked in companies, I worked in an insurance company, and at that time (this was before we had computers) people would send around articles with a routing slip meaning you and the 20 other people in your department will get this article. You get the article, and when you’re finished reading it, you check your name off, and you pass it to the next person’s name.

I tracked this with this company because I worked with them for several years and I said “I really like to know how long it took to get this article through your office.” So this office had 8 people that they wanted this article to get to. And the articles were timely. At that time when they came out, they were important to be read. And there was a minimum of 6 months that that one or like a two page article would get circulated amongst 8 people.

JURGEN: 6 months?

ABBY: 6 months. And I also then asked them, I said “Okay, I understand that it takes that long. How many of you checked your name off without reading it?” and about half of them said they did because they got tired of it.

JURGEN: That’s unbelievable.

ABBY: But it’s so true that people just don’t want to read stuff. They don’t know how and they just feel overwhelmed by it so they just don’t do it. And if they knew how to just preview, they could’ve taken that in like two minutes, taken that two-page article. Read the introductory paragraph, and the first sentence in the paragraphs, and they would’ve been done with it, and moved it on. It should’ve taken less than a week to go through 8 people no matter how busy they were.

JURGEN: That’s an absolutely astounding metric there. I can’t believe 6 months. Computers have made such a difference to our lives, and the internet, and communication and stuff. I just can’t imagine what that must be like waiting 4 months for an article that I had to read in January or something.

ABBY: Well most people __[55:06] they had to read it but the boss would circulate it and say “I really think you should read this. It’s important to the business.” Six months later there’s probably another article being circulated and…

JURGEN: There’s floating bits of paper all around the business with people’s names and…

ABBY: Yeah, routing slips. They’re called routing slips. Some people listening to this know exactly what I’m talking about.

JURGEN: If you know what this looks like, and you happen to have a routing slip around, would you please take a photo, and send it to me? I’d like to see just what this looks like. You can find my contact details on the site.

To wrap it all up just before we get to the end of it, so this is good for reading articles and things like that, and taking that bird’s eye view, but what if I’m reading complex material? So things I really need to pay attention to. Do we just then focus on putting myself in the right environment, so making sure that my concentration is high? Is it a little bit more like that? Or are there some more specific tactical techniques that I can use to quickly get my head around a tax law or something like that?

ABBY: Well if you talk about complex material, I think what you’re talking about is complex for you or me. It’s material that we’re not typically familiar with or material that is very just technical in general for our brain.

If a lawyer reads a document, and I read the same document that a lawyer reads, he/she will read it with much better understanding than I would because I’m not a lawyer. When law documents come in, they know how to read a law document much faster than I could. So what’s complex to me may not be complex to you and vice versa.

With that said, if you are reading something – like for me, some of my homeopathic study material is pretty complex. Some of it was written in the 1800s so trying to read the verbage is very difficult. So I just understand and I’m not going to get into 5th gear, I’m not going to get into overdrive with that material but I also don’t have to be in 1st gear either. So I will sit in a desk or table. I will use my hand or card. I’ll have my highlighter available. I will just do my best to kind of proceed through it in a very methodical fashion after I have previewed it. Once I get the big picture of each chapter that I’m reading or each article, I will then delve in and get more detail.

So I always pick a broad overview first, and then I’d go in for the details. Sometimes I want everything and sometimes a third of it I don’t need, or a half of it I don’t need, and many times I think the 80/20 rule comes into play here too, by the way; that sometimes we can get 80% of it by spending 20% of our time on it by doing it smartly, or 80% of it we don’t need. We only need 20%.

JURGEN: That’s cool. I’m so grateful for Mr. Pareto for developing that for us, and bringing that to our attention because that’s like some people tell me I do a lot of stuff, and how do I get it all done in the same time? Well I reckon everyone has the same amount of time. It’s the one universal constant, I suppose, between all of us. But focusing on the 20% of stuff that gives you 80% of the results is just something I kind of always just doing in general whatever it may be. And that’s been a really helpful principle to kind of structure things by and so on.

ABBY: Your listeners can get the book. I just actually read it again. It’s the ‘80/20 Principle’ by Richard Kochkind of explains it really well, the 80/20 principle. I like that. You can read the ‘Pareto Principle’ as well but this one is a little more modern version.

JURGEN: Okay, perfect. I’ll definitely check that out and I’ll put a link to that book on the website as well.

Abby, that brings us to the end of this very interesting, and action-packed knowledge express that we just went on for the last hour and a bit. Thank you so much for sharing all these techniques in such detail with us. It’s certainly been very, very nice speaking to you.

ABBY: Thank you. It’s been my pleasure.

This book, the ’10 Days to Faster Reading’ book as an e-book has been incorporated into my online course called Rev It Up Reading.

JURGEN: Oh excellent!

ABBY: So when you take the course, Rev It Up Reading, you get this e-book that you can download. It’s 122 pages. You get the whole e-book. Parts of it are used for time reading exercises. There are 17 exercises in the course.

People might find that they also like – they can email me when they take the course – with any questions that they have when they’re learning. It’s a really cool thing that if people like this, and they want to learn more, and they want to learn it directly from me, I’ve created this course that people internationally are taking. I’m more than happy to let people know that if they really want to learn this stuff.

JURGEN: Yeah, I know definitely. Thanks for letting us know about that.

This Rev It Up Reading course of yours, perhaps you can quickly talk about that because I’m actually quite curious about it. So for an international audience. Do you need to know English really well or do you think the techniques could be applied in other languages and things like that as well?

ABBY: I do think you need English really well only because you have to be able to read the ’10 Days to Faster Reading’ book, and that’s in English. I would say even someone here in the States, you really need to have a good 8th or 9th grade education to really understand the concept. It’s not difficult. It’s not technical, but you still have to have some background.

JURGEN: Perfect. This course, does this also take 10 days to complete or is it a bit longer than the book?

ABBY: Well there’s 9 modules, and each module takes about 30-45 minutes depending on the module, and how fast you read. I believe that a person can take it in a total of about 7 hours. It’s not meant to do all at once. I think it would blow your mind to try to do it all at one time. You can take maybe the first two modules and then do another module, another two modules when you have time. It takes 30-45 minutes, so it’s really only 7 hours, but it really should be spread out over the 90 days that you purchase a license for. So you have 3 months to finish it.

JURGEN: Gotcha. So there’s no excuse really for not making the time to work through those things if you can’t do it in 3 months.

ABBY: And if you do have an excuse, we offer a really, really low fee to re-up for another 90 days.

JURGEN: Perfect

ABBY: …life gets in the way and stuff happens. So it’s available.

JURGEN: Excellent. That’s really great to hear.

The book is free with Rev It Up Reading for everyone out there. I will put a link to Rev It Up Reading on the site as well. For those of you that stayed with us ‘til the very end, thank you very much for doing so. You can get the first two chapters of the book we’ve been talking about today for free if you sign up to my newsletter for Niche Interview. Abby has kindly agreed to make this an exclusive offer for Niche Interview. We’ll be offering this book very shortly as part of the newsletter subscription.

So Abby, I wanted to thank you once again for making the time to talk with me. It’s been lovely to meet you.

ABBY: My pleasure.

JURGEN: If I’m ever over there near New York or where it is that you live, I’ll be sure to pop in and say ‘Hi!’…coffee or something.

ABBY: I would love it.

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Abby Marks Beale

Speed reading expert

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