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I have a school competition coming up and because of school (and I'll admit, my laziness and other stuff like workout, running) I haven't been exercising for the competition. I read 100 pages out of 400.

Anyway, it's a programming competition and I still have 300 pages left. There are various problems and there are algorithms that are explained in this book and I'd like to read the book fully till tomorrow.

So, one day left before the competition, but I'm asking you advices on how to read this book and comprehend it better?

I know that I should've started earlier, but as I stated, I really had no time.

I'll have about 8 hours for reading, then I'll go exercise and run, shower then go to sleep.

So, your suggestions on this and is it possible that I retain most of the information (that I learn the algorithms presented in the book) in one day?


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BTW: How did it go? – Daniël W. Crompton Feb 25 '14 at 11:57

This is nearly impossible, and what you need to do is remove all distractions and start reading.


  • If you need a computer unplug the cable or turn off the wifi - don't allow yourself to procrastinate outside your scheduled procrastination time
  • Every 60 minutes take a 15 minute break - procrastinate - it's useless to push your brain too hard


  • Go through the index and highlight all the thing you think you know and verify it - you don't want to waste time learning this you already understand
  • Start reading a difficult thing first and figure out what you don't understand and read that section of the book - working backwards in this way you find what the things are you need to learn
  • If after spending more than 10 minutes on a section you don't understand take a 5 minute break go to a different related or relatively easier section

You're going to lose, but at least you took part. Right?!

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+1 on the impossible task. You'd have to read a page roughly every 2 minutes to complete that amount of material. And computer books are dense enough that you won't retain (or understand) much at that speed. – Jeanne Boyarsky Feb 21 '14 at 2:21
This is why you need to triage, everything you can drop you should drop sooner than later. – Daniël W. Crompton Feb 21 '14 at 8:52

Alas, it is not impossible!

Check out Spreeder. This web app speeds up the process of reading by placing the words in the exact same location so your eyes never have to move. I tried this yesterday and I was able to blaze through nonfiction material. It lets you set the words-per-minute that you can read.

I started out at 220wpm and I am up to about 250wpm now.

Be sure to go in advanced settings and enable the following:

  • Slight pause at end of sentences and paragraphs
  • Speed variability : slow down for larger chunks and speed up for smaller chunks so average wpm stays the same

These options will give sentences a more natural flow.

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I sketched a design for this a few years ago after listening to a BBC forum podcast about how we process text. Happy that someone has managed to create an app! Looking forward to checking it out. This would be an obviously huge asset to kindles and other readers and could potentially hugely reduce the size of the device – Andrew Welch Feb 26 '14 at 17:23
@AndrewWelch I recently heard of Spritz app which accomplishes this on the mobile devices. Unfortunately, it rolls out with the Samsung S5. – Gaʀʀʏ Feb 26 '14 at 17:55
+1 for the awesome link! Although, I'd bet this method just won't work on (m)any technical books. – NeuroFuzzy Feb 27 '14 at 10:37
A speed reading app might accomplish the reading part, I currently read at about 400 wpm using fastreader on Android. At 250 wpm & 250 w/p this would take 5 hours (6.75 adding in breaks), which is in the 8 hour limit although I think that the text would be too technical to read. Add to that that speed reading in very brain intensive I have some doubts somebody would be able to keep it up for this long. – Daniël W. Crompton Mar 10 '14 at 11:51
@DaniëlW.Crompton Oh yeah, it would be challenging. I doubt much would be retained, especially if this is the first time speed-reading. – Gaʀʀʏ Mar 10 '14 at 19:31

I find using inspectional reading is the best approach to reading a 300 page book in 2 hours. Others prefer speed reading but the comprehension is lacking if you don't know how to do it well.

The Method I Use To Read A 300 Page Book in 2 Hours Without Speed Reading

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Can you edit and explain why? The answer is now only an opinion and a link. – Jan Doggen Feb 23 at 14:10
Welcome to Personal Productivity! As Jan Doggen also mentioned link-only answers here as discourages because your answer becomes worthless if the link breaks. Could you please summarize the main points in your answer? Also are you affiliated with the website you are referring to? – THelper Feb 25 at 8:47

There are some techniques they say if you develop then you can read faster, like a superman.. :) I have not practiced any of the fast-reading techniques myself for I believe by doing that, you might miss the phase called "introspection" and this is important phase for non-fictional reading.

For Fictional reading or reading something for the sake of Information - you can surely use those techniques. They help.

* ~~ This is a view of what I understood from various sources including life experiences, & there may be better explanation/justification out there. *

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Personally, it all comes down to self motivation like anything else. But don't feel disappointed by my advice, since there is a way to improve this as such. Think of the entirety of the whole question and come to some sort of abstract conclusion and you will find that the best way to solve such a thing when coming to your motivation to read a 300 page non-fiction book boils down to one conceptual idea - that is the idea of daydreaming about the whole thing to the point of motivation.

If you daydream the idea of reading a 300 page book, use your senses to exaggerate the desire to do such a thing, and use all of this to further formulate the urge to read the entire book. You will by most chances give at least some attempt to do such a thing.

However, this advice is rather subjective on my own terms as it only applies to myself or at least so I think.

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