Reading books is an amazing hobby in every way. In fact, some of the richest persons in the world read books as their pastime. And, reading books made them rich and famous, they say.
Most of these famous billionaires read at least one book daily. Therefore, you might wonder, how do they read so much in such a short time? As billionaires, they don’t have all the time in the world only for reading books. They also work at their respective jobs. Or else they wouldn’t still be billionaires.
Do these people read faster than us? Possibly. There’re many ways to read faster than what we do now. This article is all about how to read faster. But before telling you how to improve & increase your reading speed? Let’s see who are these famous billionaires that read books daily and why.
Billionaires that Read Books Daily
Warren Buffett, Founder and CEO of Hathaway Berkshire, is one such billionaire who reads books daily.
The other is Mark Zuckerberg, Founder of Facebook, the world-famous social media networking website, which has close to 2.85 billion users worldwide.
Bill Gates, Founder of Microsoft, is yet another billionaire who reads a book every day.
Among female billionaires, we have Oprah Winfrey, the famous TV host who also runs a reputed charity and Harpo, a productions company.
Reading books is one of the main reasons for their wealth and fame, according to these billionaires. In fact, they have said this in several media interviews and on social occasions.
These billionaires are billionaires because they get the top 10 benefits of reading books. Therefore, let me start by telling you about these top benefits of reading. Once you know these benefits, you would surely love to read more and more. And, you would want to know how to read faster too.
Top 10 Benefits of Reading
There’re ten main benefits of reading, studies by psychologists reveal. Before we know how to read faster and the ten best ways, I will discuss a bit about these top 10 benefits of reading.
In fact, psychologists recommend Bibliotherapy as a non-intrusive and non-medical yet conventional treatment for several disorders.
1. Reading Kills Stress
Stress is one of the commonest problems all of us face nowadays. Understandable, because we work a lot and come home tired. Furthermore, the Covid-19 pandemic hasn’t made things easy for us since 2020.
Though we’re in mid-2022, a lot of us continue working from home, and some of us could be homeschooling kids too.
Reading a few pages- or actually 20 pages a day- is said to be a superb stress buster. It helps overcome all kinds of stress and makes us feel relaxed mentally and physically.
2. Helps Overcome Grief
There’re several types of grief that we go through. Loss of some relative, loss of money or loss of job. Failure at an interview, disappointments from friends, shortage of money or even lack of support. Reading or rather bibliotherapy is the surest way to overcome grief over a period of time.
That’s because reading takes us to a new world which is free of grief or stress. It gives us the much necessary time to turn away our focus from the distressing situation to something new. You can also earn money by reading books.
3. You Understand Self and Others
Books such as fiction novels have characters with various personality traits. Therefore, we identify with some of these characters that possess similar habits and behavioural patterns. This, in turn, helps us to gain better insights into our own personalities.
Above all, it also enables us to get some knowledge about the personality of others around us, such as relatives, friends and coworkers. Such an understanding can help us become better people. It also makes us more understanding towards others.
4. Increases Cognitive Functions
Dementia is one of the major problems as we age. Basically, dementia means a partial loss of small bits and pieces of memory over a period of time. Reading is known to help prevent dementia by almost 93 per cent.
In fact, reading increases the cognitive functions of the reader, as they go through a book or newspaper.
We remember the characters of a story and its theme, vividly try to reconstruct places and situations that a book describes and run our eyes over finely printed letters and words.
This entire exercise of reading involves eye movement and brain functions. And they translate as an increase in cognitive functions that can significantly reduce the risk of dementia.
5. Develops Personality
Some of us suffer from an inferiority complex and hence, are unable to relate with others properly. And some of us have a superiority complex that stems from this inferiority complex. Then we have people that wish to develop their personality due to a lack of self-esteem.
If you’re among such persons, start reading books because books are known to help people to develop their overall personality. Though you may read fiction or romance, reading does help in giving the much-needed confidence to self and relate with people easily.
6. Growth in Vocabulary
Do you sometimes wonder why a person has superb vocabulary while we search for words to say the same thing? That’s because they have a wonderful vocabulary. I define vocabulary in a very simple and easy manner.
In my terms, vocabulary is knowing several words from the language and the ability to use such words, when necessary, while speaking or writing. In fact, superb vocabulary helps you at work. You would be able to solve crosswords and win Scrabble games easily.
7. Higher Concentration Power
Reading anything requires a good deal of concentration. That means when you read a book or even a newspaper, your brain learns to concentrate on that task only. Of course, a beginner at reading might find it hard to concentrate.
However, over a period of days, your brain automatically starts concentrating on words, letters, the theme of the story and the characters.
That’s why we often say that someone is “absorbed in a book.” Basically, this old phrase means that someone is fully concentrating on a book, to the extent that they’re oblivious to the world.
8. Promotes Outside the Box Thinking
Lateral thinking is the ability to think about something from an entirely new perspective and vision. This enables us to get solutions and answers that we never believed were possible from us. Lateral thinking is also known as outside the box thinking.
And reading is one of the best ways to start thinking outside the box. As I mentioned earlier, reading books gives us a new outlook on life and things that matter and hence, we develop lateral thinking patterns about various things that concern our life.
9. Enables Better Communications
Reading makes us knowledgeable. In fact, every book is loaded with knowledge. Regardless it’s a fiction novel or a love story. And reading also develops our vocabulary, as I already mentioned above.
This knowledge from books and vocabulary instils the necessary confidence in us to become better communicators. Nowadays, superb communication skills are necessary for every job.
In fact, every job post that you would come across, or at least the majority of them, will actually specify that the applicant should have superb communications skills. Reading helps us develop these skills.
10. Cultivates Analytical Skills
Whether at home or at work, we always require critical analysis skills. In fact, analytical skills are amongst the topmost life skills. That’s because we have to analyse everything, from our personal expenses to our lifestyle or even our work performance, to find pros and cons. Such analysis, in turn, helps us develop our strengths and minimise weaknesses.
Also, during our work, we might have to analyse the performance of others or a marketing plan, expenses or something else. Reading actually helps us to develop superb analytical skills.
Reading 20 Pages Per Day
It is not necessary that you read a full book every day to get these top 10 benefits of reading. In fact, you can read only 20 pages a day, which would take anything from 15 minutes to 30 minutes only.
Simply reading 20 pages a day can give you all these ten benefits. Additionally, studies also find that reading just 20 pages in a day can help get better sleep. And such a small amount of reading is also said to improve brain cell connectivity, which could help a person live longer.
Actually, you can read anywhere. This includes public transport or during your lunch break at work or home and any other convenient time. Of course, there’re some recommended hours to read. I will be writing about these recommended hours later in this article.
All psychologists promote the 20-page reading habit to persons that suffer from dementia or grief or wish to improve memory and concentration power. You could simply try the 20-page reading habit if you’re new to reading. That would help you to start the reading habit and get the best from it.
How To Read Faster: 10 Ways How You Can Improve Reading Speed
So, let’s discuss how to get the best from reading. One of the best ways to read is to read faster. In fact, learning to read faster can help you in a lot of ways. Let’s consider that you’ve borrowed a book from a library and need to return it tomorrow.
In such a case, you can read the full book today if you know how to read fast. Or, if you’re trying to study for an important test and need to memorise a lesson, you can also do it fast.
Actually, all of us can read fast, if we want. But in such a pursuit, we often leave large paras or skip words. That can make us leave out some important information. Also, the purpose of my 10 ways to read faster is not meant for memorising anything merely for an exam or an interview.
Instead, these 10 ways to read fast aim at helping you to enjoy reading and learn from the book or any document. Here’re these top 10 ways. I suggest you continue reading till the end. Because it is necessary to use all the ten ways to learn to read faster.
1. Find Your Time
The first trick to reading faster is to find the best time to read. All of us are given 24 hours a day. Let’s leave out eight hours for sleep and another eight hours for work. That leaves us with another eight hours, in theory.
Adjust a couple of hours here and there for sleep, relaxation and commutes. Still, we would have an average of six hours a day. During these six hours that you would generally have free, find the time that best suits your needs for reading. That way, you would be free from other work and can devote some time to reading.
To begin with, I suggest that you read only 20 pages per day. It’s not much so that you won’t feel the stress either. It takes 30 days for anything to become a habit and 90 days for that habit to become part of your lifestyle. Surely, you will take a bit longer when you start reading 20 pages a day.
But over a short period of a fortnight or three weeks, you would find the reading speed increase. That’s because your brain automatically understands that it’s reading hour and your senses behave accordingly. If you set a timer daily, it would be clear that you are reading faster a fortnight later than when you started reading.
2. Find a Comfortable Place
One of the basic needs to read faster & retain more is to find a comfortable place to read. This is extremely important if you’re serious about learning how to read fast. The reason is simple: when you sit in a comfortable place, your concentration increases.
Else, you might get distracted by something such as the hardness or softness of the chair. This comfortable place should have proper ventilation and also proper lighting. In fact, proper lighting is of prime importance. It helps prevent eye strain, and you can read each letter and word correctly.
Ventilation is necessary because our breathing can change during reading as we move from excitement to calm. Also, ensure that the place has proper cooling or heating, according to the weather. When you’re comfortable, there is almost nothing to distract your attention. This allows you to focus fully on a book or documents, which translates to a higher reading speed.
Again, you can set a timer on the first day of reading, and you will surely notice that your reading has become faster over a fortnight. This speed keeps rising as you continue reading daily.
3. Use Peripheral Vision
Peripheral vision can also be called panoramic vision. This means you can glance at the whole sentence but read each word carefully. It also involves taking in punctuation marks and the language.
Usually, our mind records all the words that we see on a page if we look at it for a few seconds. That way, we understand what is written or printed on that page. Using peripheral vision means we read only those important words while subconsciously leaving out common or connecting ones.
It is worth knowing that in some cases, you wouldn’t be able to use peripheral vision. However, such cases are rare and can occur only if you require really high-powered reading lenses due to vision problems. If you’re using ordinary glasses for reading, it is possible to develop the peripheral region.
4. Set Your Reading Target
Another excellent way to increase your reading speed is to set your own targets and break them. That means you can start with 20 pages a day and go on to read 25 pages. As you continue reading more pages daily, the speed also increases in proportion. That can help you also to develop a reading habit where you can complete a full book in a couple of hours.
The best way to set a target is by using a timer. Check how many pages you can read within 20 minutes. If the timer alarm doesn’t go off, it means you can continue reading till it does. Surely, you will find that it’s possible to read more pages as you progress with daily reading.
Setting a reading target also helps you to plan how many books you would like to read within a week or a month. Over a period of 90 days, this target setting will ensure that you have higher speeds in reading than at the time of starting to read.
5. Use Book Tracking Apps
Unless you’re a bookworm, you surely wouldn’t know what book tracking is? In simple words, book tracking is a system that helps daily readers and bookworms to keep track of the books that they are reading and the ones that they have read.
Book tracking ensures that bookworms and daily readers don’t lose track of what they have read and can recall the story or the theme as though it’s fresh in their memories. There’re several such apps available free of cost or for a small fee.
Generally, book tracking apps also have an in-built time. This timer is usually to alarm the bookworm when it’s time for meals or work. You can use the timer to set your daily reading time and measure it for speed too. These apps are available on Google Play as well as App Store for Android-based smartphone users and iPhone users.
6. Join a Book Reading Club
You can join a book reading club in your area. In fact, every city, college or university would have such a club. Here you will meet a lot of avid readers and bookworms that will share their experiences in increasing their reading speed.
Actually, there’re two ways to increase your reading speed. One is by using these 10 methods, which I am writing about. The second is automatic, which occurs when you read daily. Joining a book club can help you in both these ways.
Another advantage of joining book reading clubs is that you can easily find recommendations from other readers for the books that you would love to read. They can provide brief and honest reviews based on their personal experiences while reading any specific book. That helps you save time on buying or borrowing boring books which cause waste of time and serve no purpose.
7. Select Your Genre of Books
You may have seen this in other spheres of life. That when we’re interested in doing something, we tend to do it joyfully and complete the task faster. The same holds true for a book reading and reading faster too. Therefore, the best way to enjoy your reading while aiming at increasing speed is to select your own genre of books.
Most people prefer fiction books or romance novels. That’s because such books are written over several characters. Each character has its own unique personality and traits. A blend of these characters and their behaviour makes the story interesting. However, you can choose other genres too, such as science or science fiction, adventure, horror or literature, classics or any other.
When you enjoy reading a book, it’s natural that you would be absorbed with it for the time. This, in turn, works to help you increase your reading speeds. I would say that every book is good to read as long as you enjoy it. There are no bad books, in my honest opinion.
8. Stick with One Author
There’s a strong reason for asking you to stick with one author only if you’re a newcomer to reading and would love to learn how to read faster. Actually, every author has a unique style of writing books. Their style almost becomes predictable after the first few books.
When you read books written by the same author, you will gradually understand their style of writing and patterns of presenting a book. This makes it very easy to understand what an author is trying to say in the next chapter.
In such cases, I would suggest that you search on any good online bookstore such as Amazon or Barnes and Noble, among others and find authors in your favourite genre who has penned many books. That way, you can easily find another book by the same author after completing one.
9. Avoid Eye Strain
Nowadays, all of us use computers, laptops and smartphones. These gadgets have illuminated screens. Add to that our room lighting as well as sunlight, for whatever time we’re indoors or outdoors. If you’re driving, surely you would also be exposed to traffic lights and those of vehicles coming from the opposite direction with their headlights on.
All these things can cause severe eye strain when you start reading. That’s because a book is printed on paper. Unless you’re reading a book on Kindle or another device, trying to recognize letters and numbers on a paper book can cause stress and strain on your eyes. Remember that when your eyes experience strain, you wouldn’t be able to read much and not even 20 pages a day.
Therefore, if you’re experiencing eye strain on any given day, the best thing is to avoid reading for long or not reading altogether. Reading with strained eyes causes slower reading and can actually harm all your efforts to read faster.
Some people love to have an alcoholic drink, smoke or do both while reading. That’s fine as long as you are drinking and smoking responsibly. However, alcohol has a tendency to spur your thinking and later slow it down. Tobacco smoke in a closed room can cause eye irritation. Therefore, I would recommend you avoid both, if possible.
10. Comprehend and Don’t Just Read
And finally, as a bookworm myself, here’s a bit of advice as to the last of the 10 ways. When you read a book, read it to comprehend the characters and the storyline. Don’t merely read for the sake of reading a book. Remember, there is no book reading competition or prizes to be won for reading a book fast.
This means that when you read a book, try to comprehend what the story is all about or what an author is trying to convey through all those pages. An author can’t write such a book without some inspiration. Reading becomes pleasurable and easier when you try to comprehend what the author wants to say.
As the story unfolds, your speed of comprehension also increases correspondingly. And by the time you reach the end of that book, you will observe that you were reading faster after the first half of the book. This happens because you can easily grasp what the author is saying and the storyline. Hence, your interest in the book helps you read faster.
Is It Worth Reading Books Faster?
Generally, nobody discusses whether it is really worth taking all efforts to read a book quickly. Therefore, I will tell you my honest views about reading faster.
Actually, whether or not to read faster purely depends on your needs. If you were reading important documents at work that consists of several pages, it would be worth the effort to learn to read faster.
That’s because you would generally have only eight hours at work, and it’s not humanly possible to read all the complex documents. In such cases, reading faster can help save some time but enable you to understand the complex details of a document.
At the same time, if you’re reading for leisure, I would suggest that you take your own time. That’s because every book- whether fact, fiction, science or general knowledge- always has some message to convey. In such cases, reading fast can cause you to lose a vital message.
For students, too, I wouldn’t recommend fast reading because they might miss out on something vital that’s necessary for their course or curriculum or exams. That’s the reason I mention that it is better to read and comprehend instead of mere reading for the sake of completing a book.
Short Stories v/s Long Stories
A lot of people ask whether it’s better to start the reading habit with short stories or longer ones. Actually, this would depend on what you prefer. There’re several books that contain concise or shorter versions of large books. Therefore, a lot depends on your interest.
People that make longer books into concise editions usually take care to ensure that all crucial details are found in the shorter version too. However, you could lose the thrill that is found in longer books, as the author takes you on a mental journey of a story.
Shorter stories, in my opinion, are fine as long as they are short, to begin with. That means the author should have written a short story in the first place. For a beginner, I would recommend reading shorter stories when you start. That’s because you would often be able to complete one story a day.
My favourite book of short stories came from the most unusual place- India. I bought a book consisting only of short stories and would read it during my daily commutes. These short stories could be read in 20 minutes to 25 minutes. Eventually, I could complete three short stories on a daily commute between home and the office, consisting of two journeys.
Printed Books and E-Books
Which are better to read? Printed books or e-books? I would say both are good to read. It would all depend on the source of your books and your money. If you can afford an electronic reader and prefer using it, that’s fine.
However, I am partial to printed books. I prefer printed books because they leave me with a sense of fulfilment when I complete them. It is good to see a book sitting on a bookshelf and know I have read it.
There’re several places to get free e-books for downloads or to read online. But they might not carry your favourite titles or books by any specific author you want. In such cases, you can try a used book store or library. There are many places where you can get the cheapest books around you.
Before wrapping up this article and complete guide on how to read faster & better, I will add that spending 20 minutes a day on yourself is a worthwhile investment of time. You can get all the 10 benefits of reading a book. And, you can also find a book as a superb companion during travels or when you’re alone. Reading is a hobby or passion that pays back richly. It will help you become the fastest reader & gradually you can be able to read a book in a day.
Understandably, paper books and e-books cost money. Especially newer and good books. However, this money pales in comparison to the advantages of reading and developing the hobby.