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Breakthrough Rapid Reading

3.75  ·  Rating details ·  933 ratings  ·  89 reviews
The former National Director of Education for Evelyn Wood Reading Dynamics. presents his do-it-yourself program for increasing reading speed and boosting comprehension. This program distills fundamental principles and skills chat can be learned at home with the help of the drills and exercises provided. And because it lets readers choose their own materials and set their o ...more
Paperback, Revised edition, 304 pages
Published November 1st 1998 by Prentice Hall Press (first published 1979)
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Phil I have a kindle too but I have just started this book. I think the book is more about technique so the medium doesn't matter. I expect that I will get…moreI have a kindle too but I have just started this book. I think the book is more about technique so the medium doesn't matter. I expect that I will get improvements (assuming the book is not all rubbish).(less)

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Jan 12, 2010 marked it as gave-up
Unlike the rest of the books in my "gave up" shelf, this book ended up here by no fault of the book itself. The content that I did cover was very good, well-organized, and effective. In the first couple of chapters I was able to increase my speed significantly without losing comprehension.

What I came to discover, though, is that I don't want to read fast. There, I said it. For me, speed reading is like speed eating. I don't want to learn how to eat my meal in 30 seconds because I LOVE food and I
Amy Hardison
Mar 16, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I am already reading at least 3 times faster than I did before I started reading this book. It is amazing. However, it is a hands-on book. It has daily exercises. While I have explored some speed reading in the past, the thing I love about this book is the idea that rapid reading with good comprehension is a learnable skill. Your brain learns how to read and comprehend words as units, without subvocalizing them. In other words, the frustration that might occur early on because comprehension is l ...more
May 13, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This book actually works, if you put in the effort to practice daily. (OK I skipped a few days so it took me two months to finish instead of six weeks.) My reading rate tripled with full comprehension, from 215 words per minute to 655. I can achieve much higher rates with some comprehension loss. If you are a student or need to read for your job, the techniques around selective reading and recall will help you to hit much, much higher rates while getting everything you need out of a book (or art ...more
Apr 03, 2011 marked it as did-not-finish
So many books, so little time!

Before practicing any techniques, I tested out on 3 different types of reading at 230 WPM, 252 WPM and 290 WPM.

After practicing the 1st technique my WPM on the easiest type of reading went from 290 to 470 WPM. I'm impressed. I feel that my comprehension has suffered a little.

I need to practice the excercises in the first half of the book for awhile before I move on to the rest of the book. But, I do intend to finish this eventually.

Picking this up again. Breakthrough Rapid Reading (BRR) is a good book of it's type.

I care more about what I get out of a book (enjoyment,comprehension & knowledge) than when I get out of a book (how quickly i read it). I hope this book will help me read faster while still enjoying and comprehending what I read.

As a starting point, I read at the speed of an average college student. (though its been a long time since college....).

The 36 chapters are to be read one per day and reading them and
Sep 24, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: self-help, reference
Okay, after finally having some time to read books again, I realized that I was going to have to learn how to read faster. I had heard little things here and there about speed-reading, but I didn't understand it. I love reading and hated the idea that I would be pushing myself to read faster at the expense of enjoyment or comprehension. But this book pointed out that there are ways to read much faster that can help with both. It does come down to that old paradox about quantity vs. quality a lit ...more
May Ling
Summary: Not bad for a book about speed reading. I'd choose this over some of the hacks that exist on the topic.

I'm currently researching techniques on Speed Reading for an upcoming course I'm going to co-teach and wanted to see what others are doing. Kump, who is the director of Evelyn Wood provides a solid resource for those that are already reasonably good readers. Myself a speed reader with a max rate of 2500-ish wpm, I can attest that the techniques used are accurate. That said, I would say
May 24, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Ok. Where to start? This book is basically a self-paced six-week course, which I completed in the last three months and a half. I embraced the book fully, deciding to always follow its instructions and do all exercises to the best of my ability.

A small Speed Reading FAQ:

A note: when referring to hand movements, I mean a certain pattern that you do with your finger on top of the page of texts, which your eyes follow.

1) Is it REALLY the same as reading?
A) Yes and no. Reading is actually a far m
Aug 25, 2007 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Ambitious readers
As far as I know, this is the premier text for speed-reading. I first used it for a class during my second year of college. Despite the fact that I was far less consistent in working through the book than I should have been, I more than doubled my reading speed without substantial loss in comprehension. If a slacker like me can make that kind of improvement...
I recently started going through the book again and have once again seen a drastic improvement in both my fiction and nonfiction rates. Co
Leon M
Jan 23, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: skills
Ingenious book on speed reading techniques that really guides you through acquiring the skills as if you were in a real course with instructor and everything. Be warned: You will really need to practice if you want to acquire the skill of speed reading - I took an hour and more for all the pratice drills every day in the last week!
Oct 06, 2012 rated it really liked it
This book was an interesting read for so many reasons. The biggest because it will challenge the way you read. Instead of stressing complete comprehension, it stresses quick reading thru of material while active organizing how the material is arranged and structured. So it's as much a course about understanding the process of reading as speed reading. By the end of the book I have found that my reading rate has doubled, and my comprehension has increased. It's almost one of those situations in w ...more
Talia Colley
Feb 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Looking forward to seeing if the tips and drills in this book help me to reach my goal of reading a book a day! Lots of study tips as well for note-taking and retaining info.
Jan 10, 2012 rated it really liked it
I read 3 books to learn to speed read and this was my favorite of the three. It was a really good resource. This is a long term book. My library copy is going back and I'm going to buy my own copy and have it on hand to teach my kids when they are ready. I need to do the drills and get my speed up. It was really good.
Jun 07, 2013 rated it liked it
Practiced this during holiday of my junior year of my high school. Now my finger keeps moving in the zigzag fashion on the page :D It's a good training program

Having said that, speed reading is good when it is just to scan for its ideas. Deeply reading any book requires a lot more interaction and hence time.
Jan 10, 2014 rated it liked it
I found many interesting ideas in the book, but ultimately I consider it a bit dated. The exercises are particularly not suited for users of ebook readers, such as myself, as they add a lot of overhead. Also, the exercises are mostly of one type so personally, I feel the need to explore more books on this topics.
Nov 13, 2011 rated it really liked it
Excellent techniques for practicing reading faster while keeping or improving your comprehension and retention. Also covers what to focus on when you're reading - what is it your trying to get out of the material you are reading. The purpose changes how you read.
Apr 21, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: how-to
This book is not just about reading fast (moving eyes quickly, etc.), it's more about enhancing reading comprehension. So I think it's good. But to become a fast reader, you have to practice, practice and practice........
George Simons
Mar 21, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Highly recommended, above almost everything else. Lets not call it "speed reading" lets call it "reading and learning exceptionally".
Allan Fisher
Nov 06, 2010 rated it really liked it
Good for the practical side to kick in hopefully.......
Mohammed Barakat
Apr 23, 2020 rated it did not like it
Although there are few tips and tricks to speed reading in this book, I feel it is somewhat fluffy and over-promising.

The following main points are the ideas that I only see of value and of proven results for boosting one's WPM rate, but not to the far extent that the author promises:

1. Use your hand as a pacer. However, I found using a pencil is pretty more efficient especially in reading small paperback books.
2. Avoid regression (re-reading sentences/words) as much as you can. The pacer really
Aug 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Super valuable lesosns and important to understand techniques, well written and explained and the practice exercises, though I didn't do them, were really well designed. Great teacher, I used the techniques in the book to finish the book, really changed my life even because now I am imagining a future where i read a book a day, or atleast a few books a week.

Of course, my definition of reading is now different. Instead of hearing yoru voice in yoru head and going slowly and trying to remember and
Aviya Carmen
May 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is one of the best book purchases of my life. I read and did the exercises from this book a few years ago and my reading speed more than doubled. It literally changed my life! As of this week, I will be going through this book again and further improve my reading speed!

Thank you Peter Kump! For sharing the secrets of rapid reading and changing my life forever. There are no words to express what this book has done for me.

I would highly recommend it to everyone who's looking to become more pr
Apoorva Kumar
Mar 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Peter Buzan book is nothing wrt this book. This book is Dale carnegie's book on How to win friends and influence people. He explains common ideological backlog with his personal experience rather than giving just fundae.
Jul 11, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: unfinished
Too much of this book consists of exercises of questionable value. As for the advice itself, there is too much repetition and too little substance.
Joseph R.
Nov 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
I didn't make it all the way through this book but got some useful tips early on.
Ayesh Perera
Feb 05, 2020 marked it as to-read
1st week into this and here's the drill results -

1) 355 WPM - starting rate
2) 453 WPM - 1st attempt with finger
3) 595 WPM - Skimming
4) 702 WPM - Highest !

Mir Ahmad
Nov 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
The book, and the method, is predicated on the idea that we don't have to read everything at the same level of depth. Thus, some things we only need to breeze through, other things we need to be able to get more focused with etc etc. It's not all about speed,
Feb 01, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
One of the first speed reading books I read. Really helped me pick my reading speed. Not the only book I used though.
I wanted to give speed reading a try, or at lease learn a few ways to increase my reading. The first 60 or 70 pages has some great tips and exercises to do to speed up your reading. It is all about using your finger while you read and to try to get rid of sub-vocalizing words. The rest of the book though, is outside the realm of possibility for most people. Once the author starts talking about speeds over 600wpm, it is a little out there, and it feels like the people that can read that fast, or ...more
May 20, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I'd recommend this to EVERYBODY. I used to think reading was a challenge in general and took a lot of mental effort, usually taking a month or two to read even a fictional novel. Now I read a book per day! Literally. I've read 4 books this week and its Wednesday night, I owe all the credit to Mr Kump.

Since finishing this large book (and admittedly getting lazy with some drills at the end, some of which I feel can be considered optional or at least tweeked to a subject of your own interest), I h
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“There are many famous people who could read extremely fast. It was said that England’s Samuel Johnson could read almost as fast as he could look at the pages. While in the White House, President Theodore Roosevelt used to read a book every day before breakfast, and he occasionally read three a day. John F. Kennedy was well known for being able to read 1,200 words per minute.” 3 likes
“Rapid reading is not a difficult skill to learn.” 1 likes
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