Within my Facebook news stream I came across an interesting post called 50 Ways Happier, Healthier, and More Successful People Live On Their Own Terms written by Benjamin Hardy from Medium.com, a life learning blog focused on “accelerated learning, tech, anti-fragility and definite optimism”.
I go through book-borrowing phases, and my current one focuses on subjects like happiness, meditation and mindfulness, so this post was right up my alley. I’m one for top-ten style lists since reading Nick Hornby’s High Fidelity (plus I can find goals for the New Year within a list like this), so I clicked.
As I began to read down the list, I was surprised at how many items I have already tackled – or at least read about – in 2015. For me, the daily struggles of avoiding the consumption of refined sugar, caffeine, and overuse of the Internet have been ongoing since last August. Other items on the list such as omitting negative newscasts, going to bed early, getting more sleep, and flossing daily, have been the easier goals to meet. Hardy’s suggestions like getting a juicer or consuming coconut oil I feel are optional…but I found suggestion #20 an intriguing one that I had never heard of: Listen to audiobooks and podcasts on a 2x speed, your brain will change faster.
Apparently this was a trend in 2010 that I missed, but I guess when you omit much of the world’s negative news you can also drop the ball on a few other trends as well. Hardy writes that the audio “speed reading” trend manifested in Silicon Valley and was popularized when a well-known tech blog, GigaOm, suggested reading podcasts at 150 or 200 percent faster to “cut reading time in half.”
As I dug for more information about speed-reading audiobooks, my online search kept leading me to pay-to-read (or in this case, pay-to-listen) reading apps. But I wanted to know how I, a hardcore library user for my own literary consumption, can use this technology free of charge and get through an audiobook like City on Fire by Garth Risk Hallberg (with a nearly-four-figure page count) within a reasonable amount of time.
Instructions are below:
OverDrive App: After you download a book into your account and select it, click the Settings icon from the top menu to open a menu listing “Playback Speed” at the top; once selected, a menu opens offering you speed selections from 0.6x to 2.0x.
Hoopla App: After opening a borrowed audiobook, select the timer icon on the bottom right. Once clicked it should open a Playback Speed menu, offering speed options from 0.75x to 1.5x; select your desired audio speed and start reading.
Another great option is the PLAYAWAY® device, which you can find as a format for few titles in the catalog. The device itself has a SP button that provides three narrator speeds to help you get through a hefty book (like any of the Game of Thrones) more quickly.
Speed-reading audiobooks is a good technique to try if you’re pressed for time. Start at a low speed and increase your speed with time – your brain will adjust as you go. Plus, you can squeeze a chapter in as easily as you would a song from your iPod. Audiobooks are great for listening in the car, during a run, or while cooking dinner. As for Hardy’s list, find your top five favorites and give yourself some goals this year.