Un-Speed Read

These days, it’s like I can’t STOP hearing about the latest speed reading tips and insane “7-books-a-week” challenges.

It seems like everyone’s obsessed with reading more more more, faster faster faster! Man, it’s crazy.

Here’s something I want you to try next time you read a book you dig:

Read sloooooowwwwww.

That’s right. I said it. And I didn’t stutter one bit.

I know what you’re thinking, “Read slower??  I’ve got like 30 books I want to read and a twitter to update and Facebook photos waiting to get tagged.  You want me to read SLOWER?”

Yup, give it a try.

If you’re reading for pleasure, slowing down really forces you to ENJOY the book. You remember why you’re reading in the first place: cause it’s an enjoyable experience. Why the hell would you want to rush through that?

That’s like getting an hour-long massage and asking your masseuse to speed it up. “Jesus, why are you taking so long? Can’t we get this down to 15? Chop chop!”

Crazy, right?

If you care more about getting to the end than enjoying the current page you’re on…you might want to re-examine WHY you’re reading in the first place.

Is it so you can check off another mental todo box? Is it so you can proudly display the book on your shelf and tell people, “Oh, that?  Eh, the character development was a little lacking”?

Take a second and think about it. You might be surprised at the answer.

Now besides reading for pleasure, there’s another reason people read AFAFP (As Fast as F*cking Possible): because it’s productive.

Ah yes, reading is productive. So the more I read, the more productive I’m being, right?

Uh, not exactly.

Being productive isn’t about cramming in as much info as possible and being proud of how much knowledge you’ve acquired.

Being productive isn’t about HOW MUCH info you take in. It’s about how much you DO with the info you take in.

It’s about how much of that info leads directly to ACTION. To actual CHANGE.

And I guarantee if you’re reading as fast as you f*cking can, you’re not taking the time to actually let that book change you.

See, when I read, it’s usually with the goal of making my life more awesome. And doing that usually means changing the way I think.

Now, changing our thought patterns doesn’t happen super fast. Our brain is one stubborn son-of-a-b*tch.

If you want to change your mind (ha!), it’s best to introduce thoughts constantly, over and over again, over a long period of time. Binging and finishing a book in one 8 hour plunge will do jack SHIT for you compared to spreading that out bit by bit over 1 month.

You gotta look at books differently: don’t think of it as INFORMATION that you need to consume like a robot. Think of it as directly plugging in to an author’s mind…the way he sees the world, how he approaches life, the way he talks about things.

And by going slower, you keep entering this author’s mind over and over again, every day.  You soak in that wisdom bit by bit, at a constant, steady pace. One that your stubborn-ass mind can slowly absorb.

You give YOUR mind a chance to actually soak it all in. You give yourself a chance to process their ideas and thoughts in small bite-sized chunks. Way easier to digest.

Reading slow is also a great way to keep inspired if the book you’re reading is really lighting you up. Keep that fire burning day after day. Don’t blow the whole load all at once (San Diegooooo!)

Now I don’t slow down with every book I read. But always with the ones that are REALLY resonating with me. For example, it took me 2 months of slow and constant reading to finish The Power of Now.

And I think it’s BECAUSE I read it so slow, I was able to soak the concepts in and actually apply them to my life every single day. I couldn’t imagine reading it any other way.

But if you do this, make sure you combine SLOW with CONSTANT. A little bit every day is the way to do it. A little bit every other month won’t do anything for ya.

Oh and while I’m at it, here’s another protrip: don’t finish books you aren’t into anymore!

Remember, just cause you started it, doesn’t mean you have to finish. No one’s giving you a gold star at the end.

I know you’ll feel really good about yourself for having checked off another item, for having “finished” another task, but you ain’t doing yourself any favors here.

Read only as long as you’re engaged. If it stops engaging you, stops resonating with you, and stops bringing you joy…it’s time to move on baby.

Time to (slowly) move on.


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Right now I’m slow reading the shit outta “Love Yourself Like Your Life Depends On It”  Amazing book.  It’s only $1 and 30 pages, but it’s having a huge impact on my life.  And I’m not the only one.

It’s totally one of those books that came around at the exact time I needed it.  Right when I was realizing that the root of all my problems is that I don’t give myself enough love (thanks to the always amazing Taneen).  Timing couldn’t have been more perfect.  I love when that happens.

Anyways, it should’ve taken all of 30 minutes to read but I’m milking it out for all it’s worth.  Trying to make it last til the end of the week!


  • kamalravikant

    No bias here, but I loved seeing the book you chose to show in the photo :)

  • kamalravikant

    Seriously though, this is a great post, nice reminder that productivity is about practical action, real change. I’m honored that you used my book to highlight this message. Thank you.

    • Dude, the honor is all mine. I love that paragraph in the photo. It’s a badass way to start your book:

      “If I could do anything,” I said into the microphone, “I would share the secret of life with the world.” Laughter from the audience. “And I just figured it out a few months ago.”

      • kamalravikant

        Thanks :) It’s exactly how it happened…

  • Carlo

    jaemin! been following your awesome productivity/lifehacker tips and really impressed! i’m trying to figure out a good way for managing projects. any recommendations (apps in particular)?

    • Yo Carlo, thanks man! Hmm…managing projects… Honestly, I just use Evernote and crafted my own to-do list system using it. I can’t recommend any specific apps but if you’re managing big teams, I recommend checking out Basecamp. What are you using now?

  • Enrico

    Great… Slow… Read… =)