OUR favorite Woody Allen joke is the one about taking a speed-reading course. “I read ‘War and Peace’ in 20 minutes,” he says. “It’s about Russia.”
The promise of speed reading — to absorb text several times faster than normal, without any significant loss of comprehension — can indeed seem too good to be true. Nonetheless, it has long been an aspiration for many readers, as well as the entrepreneurs seeking to serve them. And as the production rate for new reading matter has increased, and people read on a growing array of devices, the lure of speed reading has only grown stronger.