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"Read from page 19 to 34; you have one minute." (Entertaining and Provocative)

September 13, 2008
by Joe Bormel
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How fast do you read ? Here's

a WSJ article from 2006 (by Shivani Vora) that's heavily discussed in other blogs. The title is "Bring It On, InBox: Speed-Reading's Back"


a six minute video from 1975 Tonight Show with Johnny Carson referenced in the WSJ article that's remarkable.

Most of us read about one page per minute. Fifteen pages takes most of us 15 minutes, not one minute, as the title of this blog post describes the problem.

Do you read

faster from paper (print outs) than a computer screen? The reverse? Is the same true for folks in their 20s compared with folks in their 50s?

How many books a year do you read? A handful? 100? 200? Is that reading with comprehension, or skimming? Do you apply what you read?

Do your subordinates read, such that they grow professionally in their current or prepare for next role?

What is our role as leaders when it comes to reading?



In the last few months, I started paying attention to the reading habits of others. A few recurring themes emerged. More accomplished people read and they read a lot. It's a lot easier to find management books on theory than succinct, actionable, tactical and useful management books. There are several established schools of thought regarding BOTs (Books-On-Tape, although no one listens on magnetic tape.) TV competes and may short-circuit rational evaluation of content, unlike reading. And, a biggie - we've got to want to read and make time to do it. So, the key questions for group discussion are in the blog post, if only to ask yourself.

(Comments posted are, of course, greatly appreciated, too.)

I continue to find reading habits an interesting topic.  Take WSJ piece today by Karl Rove:

Bush Is a Book Lover
A glimpse of what the president has been reading.


With only five days left, my lead is insurmountable. The competition can't catch up. And for the third year in a row, I'll triumph. In second place will be the president of the United States. Our contest is not about sports or politics. It's about books.

It all started on New Year's Eve in 2005. President Bush asked what my New Year's resolutions were. I told him that as a regular reader who'd gotten out of the habit, my goal was to read a book a week in 2006. Three days later, we were in the Oval Office when he fixed me in his sights and said, "I'm on my second. Where are you?" Mr. Bush had turned my resolution into a contest.

By coincidence, we were both reading Doris Kearns Goodwin's "Team of Rivals." ...

I believe our role as leaders is to recommend a reasonable volume of professional reading (titles) to those with whom we work. That means taking into consideration everyone needs time for "play," be it family time, vacation, or just doping off.

Further, over the years I've found that recommending some reading "on the lighter side" away from professional text is not only useful, but often very well received. It adds a nice dose of humanity to professional relationships, and you can learn a good deal about others if you know what they read for recreation.