Most helpful critical review
49 of 59 people found the following review helpful
on July 3, 2007
The cover of the book says that using its method, you will be able to improve your comprehension skills. However, inside the book, you discover that the way you "improve" your comprehension skills is by learning to read quickly and then rereading to make up for the lost comprehension.
So instead of understanding the ideas of what you are reading in the order they are presented, you will learn 15% of the first idea, 15% of the second idea, and 15% of the third idea. And after rereading, you will understand 30% of the first idea, 30% of the second idea, and 30% of the third idea. With practice, you might be able to learn to speed your comprehension as well. Speedy thinking, also known as manic thinking, has been shown scientifically to cause elated feelings. In other words, you might be enthusiastically zipping through a book, believing that you're understanding everything, when in fact you're missing a lot. It has been shown experimentally that this sort of self-deception is very common in speed readers.
At the end of the book, there are quizzes for novels that the author recommends speed reading. Here are some sample multiple choice questions about The Death of Common Sense, a 51,000 word book.
1. The book's title is [a, b, c, d answers are given].
2. The book's subtitle is
3. Which of the following is a chapter title?
4. The author's name is
5. How many chapters are in the book?
6. The author grew up in small towns in eastern
7. The author is a professional in the field of
8. In the "selected bibliography" in the back of the book, there are [options listed for this question: three pages, 10 pages, four pages, six pages.]
9. Which of two widely known persons are mentioned on the first page of the first chapter?
12. According to the author, the laws of government controls affects [sic]
Many of the other questions could easily be answered just by knowing the politics of The Death of Common Sense.
21. Trying to get rid of an inept federal employee is
a) so difficult most supervisors don't try.
b) very easy to do.
c) very time-consuming.
d) encouraged by the bureaucratic process.
Aside from the fact that A and C imply the same thing, you could probably answer this question just by knowing the title of the book. If you actually wanted to evaluate the book's arguments, you need much more than the title.
If you're looking for information on speed reading in general, try Wikipedia.