Let’s spread some doom and gloom on this nice Friday morning.
I just stumbled on something that was a mixture of disturbing and fascinating.
It’s worth commenting on.
A lot of Twitter has been bashing this idea. But the productivity nerds love it. And they bow to the new “god” who invented it (if you’re in the circle there’s a lot of cult mentality).
I’m talking about “Bionic reading”.
The idea is, since our brain is faster at processing written information than our eyes, why not let it do most of the work when we’re reading?
Which basically means using bold text for the initial letters of all words, so the eyes can focus only on those and let the brain complete the rest. The theory? Faster reading and increased retention.
This is what it looks like if you’re curious.
Now, what do I think about it?
One thing is sure, when I try to read it, it feels like I’m sliding through words much faster. But do I remember what I read? Not sure, maybe I’d need to try and read a full article or book with this system.
What I feel also is that my mind is entirely focused on performance, rather than enjoyment or full immersion. And I know that’s a problem.
I tried speed reading courses in the past but all they gave me was headaches. Reading for me is a moment of complete and utter immersion in another world, another person or character’s life. Into another way of thinking.
You can back this stuff with how much research you want, but just because research tells us something works, it doesn’t mean that’s the direction we’re supposed to go.
At the end of the day, data is only good when we need to optimize something. Do we really need to optimize reading? I think first we should optimize our attention.
I like how someone on Twitter put it:
“This is an abomination, a sickening techno perversion of the human experience of reading with leisure and thoughtfulness, turning it into another soulless act of efficiency and speed, and calling this “progress. You’d finish a book if your mind wasn’t so damnably broken.”
Extreme and a bit funny, but true.
It’s also a personal preference I guess. Some people learn from audiobooks, I can’t. But the point is, look at the root problem, before you solve for the wrong one.
Have a great weekend.
P.S. My UX Teardown Chrome extension is on Product Hunt and you can still give it an upvote to help me make it to the top of the week. Just head here and click “Upvote”. 🙌🏻