Haste Makes Waste

Monday, February 10, 2014

"Why Speed Reading Is for Fools": A speed reader is sure to notice the title. I hope the many good lines sprinkled throughout act as speed bumps, helping would-be passers-by slow down and sit for a spell, as it were.

You could drive by the Grand Canyon at 100mph. "I saw 20 landmarks today." "Oh, really, I saw 45". But did they see anything? Did they experience anything? They'd have felt and learned far more if they had tried to do far less. You can race through a foreign nation checking items off a list of "must-sees" or you can dig in deeper and actually experience something of the culture you've taken so much trouble to go and visit. Books, art, movies and meals are no different. Two people can see the same exact thing in the same moment and have entirely opposite experiences simply because of how quickly or slowly they pay attention.
I am no speed reader, but I did, at first, think, "But you do sometimes need to skim something or read it quickly." Berkun doesn't deny this, but he does raise the following possibility: If you are rushing through everything, maybe you should consider doing fewer things better.

"Haste makes waste" applies to mental activities just as much as it does to physical  ones. Man, the rational animal, can neither go through life properly without thought nor can he really think without taking in relevant data. Unwarranted haste deprives us of both, because both take time.

-- CAV

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