Archive for December, 2013

From my buddy Paul at Facebook:

 “The Rules: In your status line list 10 books that have stayed with you. Don’t take more than a few minutes and don’t think too hard. They don’t have to be great works, just ones that have touched you. “

I only use Facebook to get access to other people’s stuff so I post my list here. In no particular order and with only 1 entry per author:

  1. “Book of the New Sun” by Gene Wolfe
  2. “Cat’s Cradle” by Kurt Vonnegut
  3. “If on a Winter’s Night a Traveler” by Italo Calvino
  4. “Foucault’s Pendulum” by Umberto Eco
  5. “Hyperion” by Dan Simmons
  6. “Brilliant Air, brilliant Fire: On the Matter of the Mind” by Gerald Edelman
  7. “Downward to the Earth” by Robert Silverberg
  8. “Golden Age” by John C. Wright
  9. “Case and the Dreamer: And Other Stories” by Theodore Sturgeon
  10. “Watchmen” by Alan Moore

What would be your top 10?

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Speed Reading: Session 4-6

After my first 3 sessions I already had a good understanding of the material. In the next sessions I was particularly interested in quarks and the string theory.

Session 4: reviewed my mind map, looked up the chapters about quarks and quantum theory

Time needed: 20 minutes 

I was interrupted and had to cut short the session. I learnt something new though and started to understand what the spin was all about. Even the quantum theory finally made sense.

Session 5: again, reviewed my mind map and looked up more about quarks

Time needed: 20 minutes

Interesting session but not in the spirit of speed reading. I was completely immersed and tried to memorize as much as possible. Quarks are fascinating.

Session 6: reviewed my mind map. My only open question was – again – the spin property of quarks.

Time needed: 30 minutes

I jumped more or less straight to chapter 5 and can now say what quarks, spin and the 4 forces are all abou. Yeah. 🙂


This finishes my reading of Stephen Hawking’s A Brief History of Time. The overall topic wasn’t too difficult to understand but some of the concepts needed multiple re-reads. In total I spent 2:15h with the book and pretty much enjoyed every minute! With a normal approach I assume that 5-6 hours would have been the absolute minimum.

An interesting observation was that speed reading not only allowed me to go through the book rather quickly but it was also easier to see the big picture. Concepts are first introduced and then in later chapters used to explain more details. My mind was actively paying attention and could follow the train of thoughts pretty well.

I will review in 1 month how much I still remember. This will be the real test because reading alone isn’t worth much if you can’t recall or use the new knowledge. I will keep you up-to-date!

Here is my final mind map (click to enlarge):

Brief History of Time Stephen Hawkins


What’s next

I will try out the method with other books too and report my success. It won’t happen in such a detailed form (only on public demand) but it should give you an idea if it’s useful or not. If you have a book that we should read together then please leave a comment. Happy reading!

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