A Midrand woman has become the world's fastest speed reader by reading 150 000 words per minute.
Johannesburg - A Midrand woman has become the world's fastest speed reader by reading 150 000 words per minute at a speed reading course.
Louise Howell, 42, a mother of twins and member of IT giant CS Holdings marketing team, earlier read a 30 000 word book about Albert Einstein in 12 seconds. Following that, she wrote a comprehension test and scored 95%.
Elmarie Bekker of Dr Bruce Stewart's Speed Reading International / Evelyn Wood Reading Dynamics Institute* (in South Africa) says Howell's achievement is remarkable. Speed reading centres worldwide consider it the fastest ever. Bekker says the record is not just about the speed with which something is read, but the comprehension as well. The book used for the test is not available in the trade.
Howell is not one to brag about the record. "If you now ask me to do it, I won't be able to!" She normally tries to read about 20 000 words per minute. She says she followed the (SuperReading) course because she started studying for a degree in marketing communication and didn't have enough time to keep up.
"I couldn't believe the limit you could push your brain. At one stage during the course I thought I just couldn't carry on. It's as if you have to cross a barrier. Your eyes have to get used to it."
Howell says everyone will benefit and is prompting her twin matric daughters to follow the course. "It doesn't matter what you do. If you improve your reading speed, you will save time." She acknowledges that her reading speed prior to the course was average and said her instructor, Clinton Abbott (trained by Dr Stewart), had a lot to do with her success.
© News24 2003. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
Note : The SuperReading course was developed by Dr Bruce W Stewart of Speed Reading International. Other courses developed by Dr Stewart include ExecuRead for Managers, ExecuRead for Students, ExecuRead HomeStudy and EduRead for Teenagers.
* The Evelyn Wood Reading Dynamics Institute in South Africa is independently owned & is not affiliated with any other organization of the same name in other parts of the world.
Are you drowning in “unwanted” / “unsolicited” email? Or are you comfortable now behind the bulwark of your “spam-blocking” software? Is spam a real threat to our society, or no more than mass hysteria designed to promote software sales and force us into having our email censored?
Some bright spark defined spam as “unsolicited” electronic mail. Lesser mortals took this literally – “if I don’t know you and I didn’t ask for it, then it’s unsolicited and I don’t want it.” All too often, the defining criteria of spam is the unsolicited nature of the communication, rather than the content.
Whether we like it or not, we are continually learning new information. And this information emanates from a multitude of sources – press, radio, TV, co-workers, friends and even snail-mail and email. Other than when we actually register for a training course in order to “solicit” learning, 90 percent of new information is going to be “unsolicited”, some of which we don’t want or need, some of which we will use for one purpose or another. And here’s the nub. Will spam-blocking software EVER be able to distinguish “unsolicited and unwanted” email from “unsolicited yet wanted” email?
Latest estimates are that 1 out of every 4 important email messages will not reach the intended recipient. An additional 2 out of every 4 email messages will be blocked by “spam-blocking” software, irrespective of whether the intended recipient could gain intellectual benefit from such mail.
For example. I installed a spam-management program and had it re-direct and store all “unsolicited” and “spam-suspect” email in a separate folder. Over a 10-day period, these were the results – 1470 emails were sent to me and processed. Of these, 200 went through to my regular “inbox” and 1270 were classified “unsolicited” and routed to the “suspect” folder. Of these 1270 “unsolicited” emails, 380 were new business enquiries, requests for further information, business orders and payment advisories. A further 230 emails, although unsolicited, contained new information that I found interesting, informative and relevant to the work I do. Conclusion? The ONLY effective spam-management program is the Human Mind – Mark One.
So why the hype about spam? Two reasons. First, if we can’t manage the volume of email, we either need to increase our information management skills, or reduce the volume. While Noah didn’t try to stop the rain, we have adopted the attitude of trying to avoid the effort of building an Ark. Faced with the reality of the three pillars of knowledge – that which we know, that which we know what we don’t know, and that which we don’t know what we don’t know – we shelve the Human Mind and resort to the age-old cop-out – if I don’t know about it, why should I be concerned!
Second, it’s money. Big business makes money from selling “spam-software”. Big business makes money by limiting the time we spend handling email. And big business now has a mandate to censor our email – to determine what we will read and what we will not. And by implication, if it’s directly related to your job, it’s okay, but if it only has the potential to enrich us, to expand our horizons and general knowledge, and to empower us, it’s suspect.
America became great because of its open-door and open-mind approach. Always seeking new horizons and new opportunities. More recently, a new laager-mentality is evolving – TV boxes that “block” “unsolicited” advertising, Tivo and DVR that enable us to skip the “unsolicited” commercials, email-software to block “unsolicited” messages and even a President and Defense Secretary that admit to not reading newspapers (the reason, according to some sources, being lack of time, while other sources suggest an attempt to avoid “unsolicited” media bias or opinion).
Now is not the time to become ostriches with our heads in the sand, hoping that what we don’t know can’t hurt us. To paraphrase President Kennedy’s words at Rice University in 1962, “Now is the time to choose to do things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win..”
Now is the time to decide whether we accept new information because of its content, or, reject new information because we didn’t ask for it. I suggest that one road leads to personal enrichment and enlightenment, while the other leads to darkness and ignorance.