Friday, April 23, 2010

World's fastest reader

I somehow came across this random piece of information today and I just had to share it with you all. Apparently, the world's fastest reader is Howard Berg. And guess how many words he reads a minute? 25,000! Just to put that in perspective, the average is supposed to be in between 200 and 240 words per minute.

Now, apparently he can "read" the book War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy in 15 minutes. A 2007 edition of the book contains 1475 pages, so I'm not too sure how this is possible in the least. Not to mention I'm not even sure why you'd want to read that fast! It's impossible to breeze through a 1000+ page book in fifteen minutes and actually understand, follow, or gain something from the book.

I myself admit to speed reading when the book is slow and/or boring at the moment. I still read and comprehend each word, but I skim over them and don't really make any connections. This has become more of a habit for me - when there's an especially long paragraph describing something trivial my brain automatically goes "Oh! This isn't important! Let's skip." But I think reading 25,000 words a minute is a whole other level of ignorance.

With that said, I don't know if I trust this "Howard Berg" guy. I mean, who reads a 1475 page book in fifteen minutes? That's not normal! That's not natural! And, to be honest, I doubt it's even possible.

Do you think this is possible? Are you someone who speed reads from time to time?

18 comments:

Katelyn said...

Just stopping by from the blog hop, already a follower but wanted to check in and see what's new!

http://bookshelfsophisticate.blogspot.com/

Sara said...

Oh my god! That's crazy!! I'm a pretty speedy reader, but no where near that fast. Thanks for sharing...very interesting :D

Beth said...

Whether it's possible or not, I don't know but I agree with you that it's ignorant. Rude to the author who spent the time writing it and rude to the literature that could teach you so much.

Candace said...

I agree that this seems a bit TOO insane! And it seems like it would ruin the whole joy of reading.
I sometimes speed read through stuff that's just a bit too boring or maybe a scene with too many details (fight scene for instance). I don't know if I'd want to read THAT fast though!
http://candacesreadingblog.blogspot.com/

The Book Mole said...

I agree with you Emidy, how can anyone really gain anything out of a book by reading so fast? And, why would anyone read so fast unless they wanted to set some sort of record for the most number of books "read" in a lifetime?

Mrs. DeRaps said...

I don't read books because I want to finish them in 15 minutes. I want to savor books and I probably do read fairly fast, but it's not a race to the end for me. The more time I spend with a good book, the more I get out of it. This guy has it all wrong.

Tea said...

Oh my goodness! I always congratulate people who read War and Peace. This is great. I hope to read it one day. I just can't see the day in sight.

Thanks for visiting me.

Whitney said...

Why would someone even want to read that fast? I would find it very difficult to comprehend or enjoy what I was reading. but a very interesting post all the same. Have a great weekend!

Juju at Tales of Whimsy.com said...

Ooooo speed reading would be such a cool superpower ;)

Linna (21 ♡ pages) said...

Woah, how does that work? I used to skim through paragraphs all the time when I read, because I thought it was impressive how fast I could get through books.

Nowadays I see how you can savor each word, because sometimes reading a book the second time around can never compare to the first.

And I must agree- how the heck can this Howard Berg guy read so fast?

I love seeing interesting posts like this ;D

Elle said...

"But I think reading 25,000 words a minute is a whole other level of ignorance."
I agree. Unless he has some kind of photographic memory of something that allows him to capture and understand everything at lightning speed, I would say that he is skim reading to get the gist of the book.
And I AM guilty of speed reading! I do it when I get annoyed with pages and pages of unnecessary descriptions. :P

Emidy said...

Thanks for all the comments! I think we can all agree that speed reading defeats the purpose of reading a book.

Nymeth said...

Like you, I have trouble seeing why anyone would even WANT to do that. Literature is meant to be savoured, and nobody can savour anything at that pace!

Natalie W said...

I think I would be considered the slowest reader ever. I love to "savor" each word and keep a picture in my mind. I don't think this guy has a love for the story, he just wants to get thru it.

Justine said...

WHOA, that's insane! I never even read War and Peace before...but it sounds long..
I admit that I also skim over words when they don't matter to me, haha.

Bibliobabe said...

It doesn't sound like much fun to read War and Peace in 15 mins! Eeek. Think of how many books you'd go through - I would be poor. :)

Charlotte said...

Gosh, there just doesn't seem to be much point in reading so fast! Although my fastest reading came in cramming for tests in college, and there was lots and lots of point to that....

Aths said...

Too fast and too crazy! 25k is way too much, I can understand if he read twice as fast as the average person, but when you say he reads War and Peace in 15 mins, that put things in a different light! Boy!