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Last Updated on February 25, 2018

If You Want to Read 10 Times Faster, Outread Is the App You Need

If You Want to Read 10 Times Faster, Outread Is the App You Need

An average adult reads about 200 words per minute (WPM). A speed reader, though, reads about 1,500 WPM. The world speed reading champion is about 4,700 WPM, but we’re not going to worry as much about that level in this article.

If you assume the average article is 500-1,000 words and the average book is 55,000-100,000 words, then an average adult reads an article in 2.5-5 minutes and reads a book in 275-500 minutes, or somewhere between 4.5 and 8 hours.

A speed reader, though, could finish three articles in 1 minute and an entire book in 36-66 minutes (so slightly over an hour at most).

Imagine if you increased your reading output at this level. The amount of information you would be able to consume over an average reader is staggering. Across a year, it looks like this:

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  • 360 books vs. 30 books
  • 30,000 articles vs. 3,000 articles

Reading is a cornerstone of information-gathering and coming across as intelligent in group dynamics. If you’re operating 10-12x higher on consumption simply because of a change in your reading approach, it could be huge for your career and personal life.

The Fast Way to Speed Up Reading

The app that I want to introduce to you will guide your eyes through a reading list with the help of a highlighting marker. This improves your speed, and you can adjust the preferred speed — and the highlighter size, determining how much text you’ll be shown at once — to either scale back or push yourself.

Outread has a number of features, including a built-in eBooks directory with classic books and sync with Instapaper, Pocket, and Pinboard. A simple switch of reading mode will help you read faster and read more.

Let’s take a look at some of the key features of the app.

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Create a Reading List

You start by creating a reading list, which you can do from one of the connected services like Pocket and iBooks, or pull in from stories loaded into Outread.

    Adjust the Reading Speed

    You can also adjust the reading speed in the top right, as seen here.

    The highlighting technique teaches your eyes to move more efficiently through the text. It provides a rhythm, which lowers the number of unnecessary jumps and makes you more focused.

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      Start Your Training with A Preferred Reading Mode

      There are two modes to train up your speed reading skill. You can pick from one of them that fits you best.

        Track Your Reading Speed Progress

        Outread also allows you to track daily (and other time duration) progress points.

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          Start your speed reading training now!

          Simply install Outread here for $2.99 and you can start your speed reading training and read 10 times faster.

          And hey, this article was just about shy of 500 words. So if you were already a speed reader, you’d have been done a while ago … think what you could be onto now!

          More by this author

          Brian Lee

          Chief of Product Management at Lifehack

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          The Productivity Paradox: What Is It And How Can We Move Beyond It?

          The Productivity Paradox: What Is It And How Can We Move Beyond It?

          It’s a depressing adage we’ve all heard time and time again: An increase in technology does not necessarily translate to an increase in productivity.

          Put another way by Robert Solow, a Nobel laureate in economics,

          “You can see the computer age everywhere but in the productivity statistics.”

          In other words, just because our computers are getting faster, that doesn’t mean that that we will have an equivalent leap in productivity. In fact, the opposite may be true!

          New York Times writer Matt Richel wrote in an article for the paper back in 2008 that stated, “Statistical and anecdotal evidence mounts that the same technology tools that have led to improvements in productivity can be counterproductive if overused.”

          There’s a strange paradox when it comes to productivity. Rather than an exponential curve, our productivity will eventually reach a plateau, even with advances in technology.

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          So what does that mean for our personal levels of productivity? And what does this mean for our economy as a whole? Here’s what you should know about the productivity paradox, its causes, and what possible solutions we may have to combat it.

          What is the productivity paradox?

          There is a discrepancy between the investment in IT growth and the national level of productivity and productive output. The term “productivity paradox” became popularized after being used in the title of a 1993 paper by MIT’s Erik Brynjolfsson, a Professor of Management at the MIT Sloan School of Management, and the Director of the MIT Center for Digital Business.

          In his paper, Brynjolfsson argued that while there doesn’t seem to be a direct, measurable correlation between improvements in IT and improvements in output, this might be more of a reflection on how productive output is measured and tracked.[1]

          He wrote in his conclusion:

          “Intangibles such as better responsiveness to customers and increased coordination with suppliers do not always increase the amount or even intrinsic quality of output, but they do help make sure it arrives at the right time, at the right place, with the right attributes for each customer.

          Just as managers look beyond “productivity” for some of the benefits of IT, so must researchers be prepared to look beyond conventional productivity measurement techniques.”

          How do we measure productivity anyway?

          And this brings up a good point. How exactly is productivity measured?

          In the case of the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, productivity gain is measured as the percentage change in gross domestic product per hour of labor.

          But other publications such as US Today, argue that this is not the best way to track productivity, and instead use something called Total Factor Productivity (TFP). According to US Today, TFP “examines revenue per employee after subtracting productivity improvements that result from increases in capital assets, under the assumption that an investment in modern plants, equipment and technology automatically improves productivity.”[2]

          In other words, this method weighs productivity changes by how much improvement there is since the last time productivity stats were gathered.

          But if we can’t even agree on the best way to track productivity, then how can we know for certain if we’ve entered the productivity paradox?

          Possible causes of the productivity paradox

          Brynjolfsson argued that there are four probable causes for the paradox:

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          • Mis-measurement – The gains are real but our current measures miss them.
          • Redistribution – There are private gains, but they come at the expense of other firms and individuals, leaving little net gain.
          • Time lags – The gains take a long time to show up.
          • Mismanagement – There are no gains because of the unusual difficulties in managing IT or information itself.

          There seems to be some evidence to support the mis-measurement theory as shown above. Another promising candidate is the time lag, which is supported by the work of Paul David, an economist at Oxford University.

          According to an article in The Economist, his research has shown that productivity growth did not accelerate until 40 years after the introduction of electric power in the early 1880s.[3] This was partly because it took until 1920 for at least half of American industrial machinery to be powered by electricity.”

          Therefore, he argues, we won’t see major leaps in productivity until both the US and major global powers have all reached at least a 50% penetration rate for computer use. The US only hit that mark a decade ago, and many other countries are far behind that level of growth.

          The paradox and the recession

          The productivity paradox has another effect on the recession economy. According to Neil Irwin,[4]

          “Sky-high productivity has meant that business output has barely declined, making it less necessary to hire back laid-off workers…businesses are producing only 3 percent fewer goods and services than they were at the end of 2007, yet Americans are working nearly 10 percent fewer hours because of a mix of layoffs and cutbacks in the workweek.”

          This means that more and more companies are trying to do less with more, and that means squeezing two or three people’s worth of work from a single employee in some cases.

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          According to Irwin, “workers, frightened for their job security, squeezed more productivity out of every hour [in 2010].”

          Looking forward

          A recent article on Slate puts it all into perspective with one succinct observation:

          “Perhaps the Internet is just not as revolutionary as we think it is. Sure, people might derive endless pleasure from it—its tendency to improve people’s quality of life is undeniable. And sure, it might have revolutionized how we find, buy, and sell goods and services. But that still does not necessarily mean it is as transformative of an economy as, say, railroads were.”

          Still, Brynjolfsson argues that mismeasurement of productivity can really skew the results of people studying the paradox, perhaps more than any other factor.

          “Because you and I stopped buying CDs, the music industry has shrunk, according to revenues and GDP. But we’re not listening to less music. There’s more music consumed than before.

          On paper, the way GDP is calculated, the music industry is disappearing, but in reality it’s not disappearing. It is disappearing in revenue. It is not disappearing in terms of what you should care about, which is music.”

          Perhaps the paradox isn’t a death sentence for our productivity after all. Only time (and perhaps improved measuring techniques) will tell.

          Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

          Reference

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