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Exceptional Humans // episode 3: reading

Scientists say it’s possible to speed read—we’re just doing it wrong

Michael Tabb
Member exclusive by Michael Tabb in Wuppertal, Germany

This story is part of an ongoing series on Exceptional Humans and the scientists studying them to help us all benefit from their superhuman abilities.

Dan Holloway, an administrator at the University of Oxford, reads up to about 1,000 words per minute without struggling to recall what he’s read. 

Most college-educated people read anywhere between 200-400 words per minute, but Holloway taught himself to read faster when he was a student. Now, he uses the skill to read hundreds of books a year, and compete in London’s annual Mind Sports Olympiad. (He’s won gold at the speed-reading event three years in a row.)