25 OCTOBER 1963, Page 33

onsuming Interest '

Read at a Glance


LET'S assume—and it's not something I want to encourage you to do for .any length of time —that you are reading this article purely for the information it con- tains and not at all for any pleasure it might give you. Are you read- ing it as fast as you could or are you wasting time that could otherwise be devoted to another part of the Spectator or to playing bingo?

The normally busy executive or administrator may read anything from 10,000 to 100,000 words day, I'm told, and a large proportion of this, if not , all, is material that his job makes it necessary for him to read rather than material that he would choose to read for pleasure. It seem reasonable, therefore, that he should be encouraged to get through it as quickly as pos- sible and then get on to more productive work. or more enjoyable leisure. The cult of quicker reading is growing and I took a course in it recently to see what it's all about.

,,•1 was following in the footsteps of Mr. tdward Heath, who took a course before becom- ing involved in the Common Market talks and increased his speed to, it is said, 600 words per minute (you and I normally read at 200 or so), and of President Kennedy, who has developed 4 speed reported to' be as high as 1,200 words per minute. (It's a big country, as they say.) It has been calculated that Mr. Harold Wilson read the Denning Report at 400 words a minute. assuming that he was reading all the time that he Was at Admiralty House and that he read the Whole of the Report. The object of a quicker-reading course is to increase your speed without reducing your understanding of what you've read. It is the Most effective way -of reducing the burden of reading that many of us are carrying. Persuad- ing People to write more succinctly, more clearly and less often has been tried, but hasn't suc- ceeded; presenting material in digest form re- quires more labour and not everything we want to précis is digestible, if that'sThe word I'm trying cf to avoid.

A quicker-reading course will help you to read better and quicker (at least double your present speed) the kind of material that you usually find in Your. in-tray: letters, memos, reports, tech- nical journals and the like. This is done by a series of exercises aimed at getting you out of the habits you learned at school, at persuading You to stop reading carefully and slowly, stop Vocalising. in your mind the words on the page, atop re-reading sections of a page, paragraph or entente and start increasing the span of words in a line that your eyes can cover at a single


The course I did lasts for five hours and can be taken in five one-hour sessions, ten half-hours or two two-and-a-half-hour sessions. It should be done in as short a spread of time as you can arrange. Thereafter you have to devote a good deal of time to practice in your own time. There is an excellent book, Quicker Reading, by Harry Bayley, one of the most effective prac- titioners and instructors in this country (Pitman, 21s.), and you can, with the book and some dedication and self-discipline, increase your speed considerably. Courses are not as wide- spread here as they are in the United States, but Mr. Bayley gives his at the British Institute of Management for a fee of seven guineas, includ- ing a copy of his book. Yoir can get details from the Conference Secretary, BIM, Management House, 80 Fetter Lane, EC4 (HOLborn 3456). You don't have to be either a manager or a member of the Institute. There are also courses at some universities and at sonic technical colleges. Many of these are done with the 'use of instructional films, a method which is not entirely satisfactory because it assumes that everyone increases speed at the same rate. Mr. Bayley's method lets everyone advance at his own rate, be it faster or slower than other people's.


Secondhand car buying can Jose you more money than playing the stock market. Both, these adventurous undertakings demand knowledge, and the acquisition of enough inside.information to bring you out on the right side, is bound to be laborious and long-winded.

There are, of course, a multitude of .investors' guides. The used car buyer is less vvell ,served. But , now one of the • large retail and .service companies, the Kenning Motor Group ,(Kenning House, West Street, Chesterfield) is offering a free booklet, complete with an inspection chart re- printed from the Atttocar, to anyone who is thinking of taking to the road on the cheap.: The advice given in this booklet is sound, if not comprehensive. But the thing I liked most about it was the announcement on page. 15 that AA and RAC tests are welcomed. Most garages I have dealt with have tried to talk mc' out of an AA test on a used car (for members the cost is £4, and is as thorough as could be expected), once with disastrous consequences. Like the Lex people, the Kenning Group are showing the right spirit.

Having, as a labour-saving measure, discarded all my silver in favour of stainless steel (no polishing—but not stainless either), 1 now dis- cover something that goes one better than either: rhodium plating.

Rhodium—a kind of platinum --is a metal rarer than silver, and costs over £50 an ounce (compared with 9s. 2d. for silver). What makes it outstanding is that, though indistinguishable from newly polished silver, it never tarnishes. The sulphur which attacks silver and darkens it has no impact on rhodium at all. Nor, so hard is it, does it collect those fine scratches which dull and ultimately wear silver away. It is said to be ten times as durable as silver. Rhodium itself is not new, but the skill needed to plate things with it has only recently been mastered. 'Because of its hardness, only a thin coating is needed, which means that plating with it is not as costly as might be supposed (40-50 per cent more than silver). A Queen Anne tea- pot might cost £5, cutlery about 8s. 6d. a piece. Anything can be plated provided the base metal is smooth and not too soft (Britannia metal is unsuitable for this reason): dents and damaged bits can normally be repaired before plating is done. This means new life for many a junk-stall find. The firm which does the Rhodoplate process is the BJS Electro Plating Company, 346 Kil- burn High Road, NW6.