How To Read A 223-Page Novel In Just 77 Minutes

How To Read A 223-Page Novel In Just 77 Minutes

JIM EDWARDS3MAR 1, 2014, 01.45 AM

Spritz is a company that makes a speed-reading technology which allows you to get through a mass of text, reading every word, in a fraction of the time it would take if you were turning the pages of a book or swiping through a Kindle.The basis of Spritz concept is that much of the time spend reading is “wasted” on moving your eyes from side to side, from one word to the next. By flashing the words quickly, one after the other, all in the same place, eye movement is reduced almost to zero. All that’s left is the time you take to process the word before the next one appears.

The company is selling licenses for other companies who might want to use the technology in operating systems, applications, wearables, and websites.Obviously, the tiny screen of a smart watch instantly springs to mind.

But the real revelation of Spritz is in trying it yourself.

Here’s a line of text going by at 250 words per minute:


Now try the same thing at 350 words per minute:


And now try 500 words per minute:


A college-level reader tends to read at between 200 and 400 a minute,according to HuffPost. Using Spritz, if you can handle 1,000 words per minute, you’d only need 77 minutes to complete the first Harry Potter book (which is 223 pages long).

The company’s blog – which can also be read via Spritz – explains that the placement of the word is key. Each word isn’t simply centered in the Spritz box. Rather, it’s placed optimally so that as little eye-movement is needed as possible. The only thing that limits comprehension at that point if your personal cognitive ability to recognize words and process their meaning.

10 Simple Postures That Boost Performance

Psychological research suggests simple actions can project power, persuade others, increase empathy, boost cognitive performance and more…

We tend to think of body language as something that expresses our internal states to the outside world. But it also works the other way around: the position of our body also influences our mind.

As the following psychological research shows, how we move can drive both thoughts and feelings and this can boost performance.

1. Pose for power

If you want to feel more powerful then adopt a powerful posture. Carney et al. (2010) found that when people stood or sat in powerful poses for one minute—those involving open limbs and expansive gestures—they not only felt more powerful but had increased levels of testosterone flooding their systems. Powerful poses take up more space, so spread your body and open up the arms or legs. When you dominate the space, your mind gets the message.

2. Tense up for willpower

Tensing up your muscles can help increase your willpower. In a series of 5 studies Hung and Labroo (2011) found that when people firmed up their muscles they were better able to withstand pain, resist tempting food, take an unpleasant medicine and pay attention to disturbing information. So, if you need to increase your willpower, tense your muscles. It should help.

3. Cross arms for persistence

If you’re stuck on a problem which needs persistence then try crossing your arms. Friedman and Elliot (2008) had participants do just that and found they worked longer at a set of difficult anagrams. In fact about twice as long. Their persistence led to more correct solutions.

4. Lie down for insight

If crossing your arms doesn’t work then try lying down. When Lipnicki and Byrne (2005) had anagram solvers lying down, they solved them faster. Since anagrams are a type of insight problem, lying down may help you reach creative solutions.

5. Nap for performance

While you’re lying down, why not have a nap? Napping is an art-form though. Nap too long and you’ll suffer from sleep inertia: the feeling of being drowsy for an extended period. Nap too little and there’s no point. Where’s the sweet spot?

Brooks & Lack (2005)compared 5, 10, 20 and 30 minute naps to find the best length. For increased cognitive performance, vigour and wakefulness, the best naps were 10 minutes long. Benefits were seen immediately after 10 minute naps but after longer naps it took longer to wake up. Five minute naps only provided half the benefit, but were better than nothing.

6. Gesture for persuasion

The way people’s hands cut through the air while they talk is fascinating. But it’s more than just a by-product of communication.Maricchiolo et al. (2008) found that hand-gestures help increase the power of a persuasive message when compared to no use of gesture. Most effective are gestures which make what you are saying more understandable. For example, when referring to the past, point behind you.

7. And gesture for understanding

Gestures aren’t only helpful for persuading others, they also help us think. In a study of children, Cook et al. (2007) found that children who were encouraged to gesture while learning, retained more of what they learnt. Moving our hands may help us learn; more generally we actually seem to think with our hands.

8. Smile for happiness

The very act of smiling can make you feel happy, whether it’s justified or not. Strack et al. (1988) had participants holding pens in their mouths either so that it activated the muscles responsible for smiling, or not. Those whose smiling muscles were activated rated cartoons as funnier than others whose smiling muscles weren’t activated by the pen in their mouth. So, forcing a smile really does make us see the world in a better light.

9. Mimic to empathise

If you want to get inside someone’s head, you can try copying their behaviour. Those who are good at empathising do it automatically: copying accent, posture, expressions and so on. If you can copy it, you will feel it yourself and then you’ll get a hint of what others are feeling. It’s what actors have known for years: mimicry is a great way of simulating others’ emotional states.

10. Imitate to comprehend

The idea that copying helps us understand others works for thought as well as emotion. In an experiment by Adank (2010), participants found it easier to decipher an unfamiliar accent if they tried to imitate it themselves. Some psychologists go further, claiming that imitating others helps us predict what they are going to do (e.g. Pickering & Garrod, 2007).

Embodied cognition

Many of these studies support a theory about human life (and indeed all life) called ‘embodied cognition’. The idea is that we don’t just think with our minds, we also think with our bodies. Our mind isn’t a brain in a jar, it is connected to a body which moves around in an environment.

As life becomes increasingly virtual, played out on screens of varying sizes, we need reminding that the connection between mind and body is two-way. Human intelligence is more than abstract processing power; it’s about the interaction between mind, body and the world around us.

Image credit: Hector

How to Plant Ideas in Someone’s Mind

How to Plant Ideas in Someone's Mind

If you’ve ever been convinced by a salesperson that you truly wanted a product, done something too instinctively, or made choices that seemed entirely out of character, then you’ve had an idea planted in your mind. Here’s how it’s done. P

Note: We’ve gotten a lot of emails about how to do this in specific situations. Although some of those situations have been legitimate, this post was written to teach you to detect these tactics rather than use them on others. If you want a good way to convince people to do what you want that doesn’t involve the dark side of manipulation, read this.P

Before we get started, it’s worth noting that planting an idea in someone’s mind without them knowing is a form of manipulation. We’re not here to judge you, but this is the sort of thing most people consider evil, so you probably shouldn’t actually do anything you read here. Instead, use this information to stay sharp.

If you’ve seen the film Inception, you might think that planting an idea in someone’s mind is a difficult thing to do. It’s not. It’s ridiculously easy and it’s tough to avoid. We’re going to take a look at some of the ways it can work.P

Reverse Psychology Actually WorksP

How to Plant Ideas in Someone's Mind

Reverse psychology has become an enormous cliché. I think this peaked in 1995 with the release of the film Jumanji. (If you’ve seen it and remember it, you know what I’m talking about.) The problem is that most people look at reverse psychology in a very simple way. For example, you’d say “I don’t care if you want to go risk your life jumping out of a plane” to try and convince someone not to go skydiving. This isn’t reverse psychology—it’s passive-aggressive. So let’s leave that all behind and start from scratch.P

If you’re going to use logic reversals in your favor, you need to be subtle. Let’s say you want your roommate to do the dishes because it’s his or her turn. There’s always this approach:P

“Hey, would you mind doing the dishes? It’s your turn.”P

But in this example we’re assuming your roommate is lazy and the nice approach isn’t going to get the job done. So what do you do? Something like this:P

“Hey, I’ve decided I don’t want to do the dishes anymore and am just going to start buying disposable stuff. Is that cool with you? If you want to give me some money, I can pick up extras for you, too.”P

What this does is present the crappy alternative to not doing the dishes without placing any blame. Rather than being preoccupied with an accusation, your roommate is left to only consider the alternative. This is how reverse psychology can be effective, so long as you say it like you mean it.P

Never Talk About the Idea — Talk Around ItP

How to Plant Ideas in Someone's Mind

Getting someone to want to do something can be tough if you know they’re not going to want to do it, so you need to make them believe it was their idea. This is a common instruction, especially for salespeople, but it’s much easier said than done. You have to look at planting ideas in the same way you’d look at solving a mystery. Slowly but surely you offer the target a series of clues until the obvious conclusion is the one you want. The key is to be patient, because if you rush through your “clues” it will be obvious. If you take it slow, the idea will form naturally in their mind all by itself.P

How to Plant Ideas in Someone's MindSEXPAND

Let’s say you’re trying to get your friend to eat healthier food. This is a good aim, but you’ve got a tough enemy: they’re addicted to the Colonel and need a bucket of fried chicken at least once a day. Out of concern you tell them to eat healthier. They either think that’s a good idea and then never do anything or just tell you to stop nagging them. For them to realize what they’re doing to their body, they need to have an epiphany and you can make that happen by talking around the issue.P

How to Plant Ideas in Someone's MindSEXPAND

To do this you need to be very clever and very subtle, otherwise it will be obvious. You can’t just say “oh, I read today that fried chicken is killing 10 million children in Arkansas every year” because that’s a load of crap and comes with an incredibly obvious motivation for saying it. If chicken is the target, you need to make chicken seem really unappealing. Next time you sneeze, make a joke about coming down with the avian flu. When you’re ordering at a restaurant together, verbally convey your decision to order something other than chicken because you just learned how most chicken is processed by restaurants. When you’ve done enough of these things—and, again, with enough space between them so that it doesn’t seem like odd behavior—you can start being a little more aggressive and stop going with your friend to get fried chicken. You can also take proactive steps to improve your own health and tell your friend 1) what you’re doing, and 2) how well it’s working for you. After a few weeks, if your friend hasn’t decided to reconsider his or her position on frequent fried chicken, you can casually mention it and they should be much more open to having a real discussion.P


How to Plant Ideas in Someone's Mind

Underselling is probably one of the easiest and most effective ways to plant an idea in someone’s mind. This is another version of reverse psychology but at a less aggressive level. Let’s say you’re trying to sell someone a hard drive. They could buy a 250GB, 500GB, or 1TB hard drive. You want to sell the largest hard drive possible because those cost more and mean more money for you. Your buyer is coming in with the idea that they want to spend the least money possible. You’re not going to get very far by telling them they should spend more money when you know they don’t want to. Instead, you need to cater to what they want: the cheap option. Here’s a sample dialogue:P

Buyer: Can you tell me about this 250GB hard drive? I want to make sure it will work for me.P

You: What kind of computer do you have and what do you want to use it for?P

Buyer: I have a 2-year old Windows laptop and I need it to store my photos. I have about 30GB of photos.P

You: 250GB is definitely more than enough for just storing your photos, so as long as you don’t have many more files you might want to put onto the drive it should be just fine for your needs.P

This last sentence instills doubt in the buyer. You could even add “you’d only need a larger drive if you wanted to be absolutely sure you’ll have enough space in the future” but that might be pushing it a little bit. The point is, if you appear to have their best interests at heart it can be easy to make them think they want to buy more from you.P

Again, I’d like to take this opportunity to remind everyone that planting ideas in the minds of others is not necessarily a nice thing to do. Use this information to detect when someone’s doing it to you and not necessarily as a guide to do it to somebody else.P

This post is part of our Evil Week series at Lifehacker, where we look at the dark side of getting things done. Knowing evil means knowing how to beat it, so you can use your sinister powers for good. Want more? Check out our evil week tag page.

The 9 Epiphanies That Shifted My Perspective Forever (Unfortunately written by some “mysticism” guy I stumbled…upon, but it is interesting)

1. You are not your mind.

The first time I heard somebody say that,  I didn’t like the sound of it one bit. What else could I be? I had taken for granted that the mental chatter in my head was the central “me” that all the experiences in my life were happening to.

I see quite clearly now that life is nothing but passing experiences, and my thoughts are just one more category of things I experience. Thoughts are no more fundamental than smells, sights and sounds. Like any experience, they arise in my awareness, they have a certain texture, and then they give way to something else.

If you can observe your thoughts just like you can observe other objects, who’sdoing the observing? Don’t answer too quickly. This question, and its unspeakable answer, are at the center of all the great religions and spiritual traditions.

2. Life unfolds only in moments.

Of course! I once called this the most important thingI ever learned. Nobody has ever experienced anything that wasn’t part of a single moment unfolding. That means life’s only challenge is dealing with the single moment you are having right now. Before I recognized this, I was constantly trying to solve my entire life — battling problems that weren’t actually happening. Anyone can summon the resolve to deal with a single, present moment, as long as they are truly aware that it’s their only point of contact with life, and therefore there is nothing else one can do that can possibly be useful. Nobody can deal with the past or future, because, both only exist as thoughts, in the present. But we can kill ourselves trying.

3. Quality of life is determined by how you deal with your moments, not which moments happen and which don’t.

I now consider this truth to be Happiness 101, but it’s amazing how tempting it still is to grasp at control of every circumstance to try to make sure I get exactly what I want. To encounter an undesirable situation and work with it willingly is the mark of a wise and happy person. Imagine getting a flat tire, falling ill at a bad time, or knocking something over and breaking it — and suffering nothing from it. There is nothing to fear if you agree with yourself to deal willingly with adversity whenever it does show up. That is how to make life better. The typical, low-leverage method is to hope that you eventually accumulate power over your circumstances so that you can get what you want more often. There’s an excellent line in a Modest Mouse song, celebrating this side-effect of wisdom: As life gets longer, awful feels softer.

4. Most of life is imaginary.

Human beings have a habit of compulsive thinking that is so pervasive that we lose sight of the fact that we are nearly always thinking. Most of what we interact with is not the world itself, but our beliefs about it, our expectations of it, and our personal interests in it. We have a very difficult time observing something without confusing it with the thoughts we have about it, and so the bulk of what we experience in life is imaginary things. As Mark Twain said: “I’ve been through some terrible things in my life, some of which actually happened.” The best treatment I’ve found? Cultivating mindfulness.

5. Human beings have evolved to suffer, and we are better at suffering than anything else.

Yikes. It doesn’t sound like a very liberating discovery. I used to believe that if I was suffering it meant that there was something wrong with me — that I was doing life “wrong.” Suffering is completely human and completely normal, and there is a very good reason for its existence. Life’s persistent background hum of “this isn’t quite okay, I need to improve this,” coupled with occasional intense flashes of horror and adrenaline are what kept human beings alive for millions of years. This urge to change or escape the present moment drives nearly all of our behavior. It’s a simple and ruthless survival mechanism which works exceedingly well for keeping us alive, but it has a horrific side effect: human beings suffer greatly by their very nature. This, for me, redefined every one of life’s problems as some tendril of the human condition. As grim as it sounds, this insight is liberating because it means: 1) that suffering does not necessarily mean my life is going wrong, 2) that the ball is always in my court, so the degree to which I suffer is ultimately up to me, and 3) that all problems have the same cause and the same solution.

6. Emotions exist to make us biased.

This discovery was a complete 180 from my old understanding of emotions. I used to think my emotions were reliable indicators of the state of my life — of whether I’m on the right track or not. Your passing emotional statescan’t be trusted for measuring your self-worth or your position in life, but they are great at teaching you what it is you can’t let go of. The trouble is that emotions make us both more biased and more forceful at the same time. Another survival mechanism with nasty side-effects.

7. All people operate from the same two motivations: to fulfill their desires and to escape their suffering.

Learning this allowed me to finally make sense of how people can hurt each other so badly. The best explanation I had before this was that some people are just bad. What a cop-out. No matter what kind of behavior other people exhibit, they are acting in the most effective way they are capable of (at that moment) to fulfill a desire or to relieve their suffering. These are motives we can all understand; we only vary in method, and the methods each of us has at our disposal depend on our upbringing and our experiences in life, as well as our state of consciousness. Some methods are skillful and helpful to others, others are unskillful and destructive, and almost all destructive behavior is unconscious. So there is no good and evil, only smart and dumb (or wise and foolish.) Understanding this completely shook my long-held notions of morality and justice.

8. Beliefs are nothing to be proud of.

Believing something is not an accomplishment. I grew up thinking that beliefs are something to be proud of, but they’re really nothing but opinions one refuses to reconsider. Beliefs are easy. The stronger your beliefs are, the less open you are to growth and wisdom, because “strength of belief” is only the intensity with which you resist questioning yourself. As soon as you are proud of a belief, as soon as you think it adds something to who you are, then you’ve made it a part of your ego. Listen to any “die-hard” conservative or liberal talk about their deepest beliefs and you are listening to somebody who will never hear what you say on any matter that matters to them — unless you believe the same. It is gratifying to speak forcefully, it is gratifying to be agreed with, and this high is what the die-hards are chasing. Wherever there is a belief, there is a closed door. Take on the beliefs that stand up to your most honest, humble scrutiny, and never be afraid to lose them.

9. Objectivity is subjective.

Life is a subjective experience and that cannot be escaped. Every experience I have comes through my own, personal, unsharable viewpoint. There can be no peer reviews of my direct experience, no real corroboration. This has some major implications for how I live my life. The most immediate one is that I realize I must trust my own personal experience, because nobody else has this angle, and I only have this angle. Another is that I feel more wonder for the world around me, knowing that any “objective” understanding I claim to have of the world is built entirely from scratch, by me. What I do build depends on the books I’ve read, the people I’ve met, and the experiences I’ve had. It means I will never see the world quite like anyone else, which means I will never live in quite the same world as anyone else — and therefore I mustn’t let outside observers be the authority on who I am or what life is really like for me. Subjectivity is primary experience — it is real life, and objectivity is something each of us builds on top of it in our minds, privately, in order to explain it all. This truth has world-shattering implications for the roles of religion and science in the lives of those who grasp it.