Listening at double spped

I listen to most books (and podcasts) at either 1.5x or 2x speed. A lot of people when they find out tend to ask if I am getting good retention from this, I used to have the same reaction when a friend first told me he was listening at speed multiples.

The short answer is yes, but it requires you to pay attention and have a better focus. I also find that the more you listen to it the better you are at retaining, I started gradually

Couple of tips/thoughts;

  • It might sound fast at first, but you’ll be amazed how quickly you’ll adapt to the higher tempo. The one thing that I still find that it sounds weird is intro music!
  • Not all books are suited for audio at least not for a first read – Generally you need to look at the type of book and consider if you will get the most out of it.
    • Typically, I find, that fiction is more easily consumed in audio than for example, a book on advanced calculus.
  • You need to understand what you want to get out of the book, if you expect to make plenty of notes I always go for hardback as I can scribble directly in the book, highlight etc.
  • Slow down for intense parts/topics – If something is complex you should take time to reflect and I many times slow down the speed to ensure I get time to digest
  • Rewind and re-listen – Something caught your attention? Good make sure you re-listen to the important parts. Drifted off? Maybe you should re-wind just in case
    • you’ll be surprised how much of it you retained on the first listen
  • Understand the readers tempo – Different narrators speak at different speeds and as such if you 2x an already very quick reader you will get less retention (1.25-1.5x speed is better suited)
  • Take notes as you go marking up paper books are easy but when listening, I at least, have found I won’t remember that much unless I write down notes shortly thereafter
    • I also find that writing it down enhances the memory

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