I always considered myself a slow reader. It was a frustrating ordeal. I wanted to read interesting books and fascinating stories, yet I was restricted due to my slow reading ability. Is this you? Do you want to absorb more information in less time? Jim Kwik’s speed reading course might be right for you. He promises to triple your reading speed and comprehension. If you took 9 hours to read a book, you can do it in 3. Is this course worth the money? Or does he over promise and under deliver? I tested it to find out.
I went into course with some speed reading knowledge already under my belt. However I was ready to forget all of this and start from scratch. I know that it’s possible to increase reading speed without falling short on comprehension. This course isn’t learning to skim reading. This course is about increasing your natural reading ability. You’ll be comprehending just as much as you would as if you were reading at an average reader’s rate. I was promised big things by Jim.
I set myself a goal to read one book in one day. The book I chose was Stealth War, by Robert Spalding. I’ve never read an entire book in one day. I wanted to challenge myself. Usually I am one that takes a few weeks to get through any book. So I was a bit nervous going into this. But again, I was promised by things by Jim.
The first day was to establish our words per minute (wpm) base rate. How do we know if we’ve improved if we don’t measure it? Using a couple basic speed reading techniques that I use on a regular basis, I hit 300wpm. I think to be fair I shouldn’t use any speed reading techniques at all - so this started me out at 230wpm (in the video I say 260wpm, this is a mistake). Triple my reading speed? This would take me to 690wpm. That, is extremely ambitious. I was sceptical, to say the least, but determined to put in the work. Remember, I don’t want to prove this speeding reading course wrong, I want this to work out.
The book I chose to practice on was Animal Farm, by George Orwell. Turns out, it was far too short and I ended up just starting again when I finished it. But I felt it was important to measure my reading speed on the same fiction book the whole time. I was told to focus purely on speed this week. So that’s what I did. My reading speed went up to 750wpm in a matter of days. More than what was promised by Jim. But I wasn’t comprehending shit. So at this rate, you’ll be able to read the entirety of Crime and Punishment in about 2 hours and walk away knowing that it’s about a murder that occurs in Russia.
First week was going over the basics of speed reading. Most of the techniques are commonly known and can be learnt on YouTube. I won’t disclose everything they teach in the course as I think that would be unfair and disrespectful, but I’ll share a couple techniques. One of which, that I recommend everyone do, is to use a pointer, such as a pen or a finger (preferably your own) to guide your eyes across the page. Dragging a pen across the words as you read will increase your reading speed by at least 20%. So for a beginner who knows nothing of speed reading, YES ! This first week is great for you. However, you can get all this information for free on YouTube. So… why would you pay for it? There needed to be more in this course for it to be worth it.
The second week lived up to expectations. More techniques were introduced. Some were a bit more… Out there. Strange. They almost seemed ‘woo woo’. Trying to connect the different sides of the brain to each other exercising your peripheral vision to boost your comprehension. Surprisingly, (I think) they worked. Jim also introduced some speed reading drills. These drills were intense and hard to complete. I tried my best, and did all optional speed readings as well. I could feel myself becoming more confident.
The thing I was most sceptical about was the tripling of my comprehension. Wpm is really easy to measure, but comprehension is more of a subjective feeling. I’m usually quite harsh on myself, so I think I can say that despite this harshness, my comprehension had increased. This was a good sign as that’s exactly what Jim had promised we would be focusing more on. I finished the 2nd week feeling optimistic. I was prepared for the final week that would unlock the secrets to push me up to the 500, 600, possibly even 700wpm mark. I strapped on my seat belt. Gripped the side of my seat and waited for Jim to slam on the accelerator in this final week.
It never came. He didn’t go into 5th gear. In fact it felt like we hardly left 3rd. The final week didn’t have much to do with speed reading at all. Now, in Jim’s defence, he is more than just a speed reading coach. He is a life coach. He helps develop life long skills that can help improve your mental faculties. He gave lessons on habit development, building a personal identity, the importance of breaks - all very helpful. But not what I paid for. Lots of these things I have learnt about in the past (and you can find on YouTube) so there really wasn’t any new information for me (albeit, I have been one to dive deep into personal development and productivity).
As I was going through the final week, I was still expecting speed reading techniques. There were some, but they were few and far between. The last week was a bit of a let down considering how much my experienced changed during the second week. I went back to being disappointed. My reading speed had not increased since the end of the first week. Fortunately, I did feel my comprehension had increased steadily over the 3 weeks. But as for my reading speed, I was sitting at around the 400 - 450wpm range. Still rather impressive from 260wpm. But triple my reading speed? My scepticism was well grounded.
I did end up reading Stealth War in one sitting. It took me just over 4 hours, (5 and a half with a few breaks) and I was super proud. But is this course worth the time and money you’ll be investing?
Don’t spend your last dollar on this.
As advertised this course is a $497USD one time special, down from $797 (ignore this more expensive price, this is a lie - they offer everyone this price. They do this to anchor your mind to the more expensive price to give the illusion that you’re saving money). I managed to get one of those ‘quick you have 24 hours to purchase this’ type deals. I’m positive this occurs often. That managed to drop the price down to $197. I’m sure if you emailed them and begged them, they would give you this offer as well. Still, that’s rather expensive though. I suppose it’s one of those things that you purchase, and it’ll last you rest of your life. The potential compounding interest of this is huge. If you are able to triple your reading speed. If you are able to triple your comprehension. If you weren’t able to learn most of this stuff on YouTube already. Then this course would be worth it.
The 80/20 Pareto Principle applies to this course. The Pareto Principle is that 20% of the work will amount to 80% of the results. You are able to find this initial 20% of information on YouTube, that will give you 80% of the knowledge you need to increase your reading speed by a significant amount. There’s nothing too special or groundbreaking about this course. There’s a few positives, in the way that I have lifetime access to this course and if I feel like going back and redoing it, I can at any time. There’s also the fact that when you start this course, you are committing yourself to it, this can help create a habit of daily reading which many people struggle to do. And since I was able to finish a book in one day, something that I had never done before, I am no long intimidated by long books (although I still can’t see myself reading Dostoevsky’s, ‘The Brothers Karamazov’ any time soon…)
Look, if you have money and struggle to build a habit and this is something you really want to do. I won’t stop you. Go for it. But purchase this knowing that you can find almost all this information elsewhere. Maybe you can’t be bothered finding this stuff for yourself. Or you really need a teacher to help motivate you to come back and read every day. But this course is not necessary. My reading speed increased from 260wpm to around 400wpm. Maybe I didn’t try hard enough. Maybe if you decide to do this, you’ll get better results. All I can say is that I would not spend this much money on something like this again.
For me, it over promised and under delivered.