I know that many people will disagree with my opinion on this matter, but I think that the vast majority of Americans actually enjoy reading, passionately. I say this in spite of every survey and study that says otherwise. Why?
If you ask a significant number of people how many books they’ve read this year, the majority of them will probably express some kind of embarrassment at the number that their actions have forced them to divulge. They will likely try to explain the number away. They didn’t have time. New job. New wife. New kids. New eyeballs aren’t calibrated correctly yet. You’re likely thinking that same thing I am: give these people all the time in the world, and they won’t read even one book more. Right?
But does that necessarily mean that they don’t want to read?
I think that almost everybody wants to read lots of books. I think that the problem lies in that most people can absorb knowledge much more quickly than they can read. Imagine that you had to watch your favorite television show or film at quarter-speed. Would you still enjoy it? Would you still enjoy a morning stroll the same way if you were so narrow-sighted that you couldn’t take in the view? This is the experience of being a slow reader.
I’m a slow reader. I normally read at about 250 wpm (words per minute), but I know that I am capable of consuming information much more quickly than that. For most fiction, I can top out at about 1,000 wpm. For non-fiction, I like to move between 500 and 700 wpm, depending on the topic. Just as you wouldn’t want to watch your favorite show anymore if you had to watch it in slo-mo, I wouldn’t want to read very much if I had to consume books at a painful 250 wpm. That’s why instead of reading, I Spritz!
I gave up trying to learn how to speed read more times than I care to remember. The problem with speed reading is that it requires you to learn two very different skills simultaneously, both of which give you no benefit until you’ve mastered them both. First, you need to learn to recognize entire phrases at once by their shape, like you do with words. That’s a big leap. But in addition to that, you need to change the way you move your eyes across the page. Instead of halting your eye movement on each word, you’re now halting your eye movement on some optimal location within a chunk of words. It’s overwhelming, and for some, not worth the painful learning process.
Spritz speeds up your reading by eliminating the time you would normally spend moving your eyes from one word to the next. You don’t have to learn anything. It just flashes the words at you, and each word is positioned in the way that best facilitates quick recognition. Just keep your eyes pointed at the same spot.
I’ll admit that Spritz takes some getting used to. It only takes a few minutes to surpass your own average reading speed with it, and probably 30 minutes to double it. However, the feeling of strangeness that comes with using it didn’t go away for a few weeks. After finishing my first book with it, I felt like Neo near the beginning of the first Matrix film. Unhooking himself from the simulator, he said, “I know kung-fu,” too bewildered to celebrate that fact.
Just like in the Matrix, where living in the real world was worth it in the end, Spritz is worth the bewilderment. You get to read more books. You get to enjoy the books you read ; more than you might otherwise. On top of all that, when people see you Spritzing, you’ll look like a super-genius!