Interview Howard Berg | Speed Reading: Read and Comprehend

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This is Penny Zenker.  Today I am joined by Howard Berg.  America’s fastest reader.  He attended State University of New York at Binghamton.  He majored in both biology and psychology.  He taught science and computers for ten years in New York City.  He went to start his own company dedicated to learning and success for all.  He has created more than 14 brain based learning program.  His Time Warner Books Super Reading Secrets.  It’s in its 28th reprint.  Congratulations.  Barons Books requested him to write Speed Reading, the Easy Way.  At Nightingale Conant they sold over 650,000 copies of his mega speed reading program.  I want to welcome the man of speed.  Howard Berg. 

P:  Thanks for being here.

H:  Thanks for having me. 

P:  I know you finished your college courses in a record amount of time and your products help others to do the same.  Did you have some kind of speed reading AHA moment in college or were you speed reading and practicing brain based learning or accelerated learning before then?

H: I started when I was younger.  I grew up in the projects in Brooklyn.  It was like the West Side Story.  I had a lot of knives pulled on me.  The safest place in my neighborhood was the library.  Kids from gangs don’t hang out at libraries or book store.  All I could do that was safe, was read.  When I went to college, I started studying the brain and brain based learning.  I was up to 80 pages per minute.  That is Mega Reading maximimim speed reading, reading rate. I did a graduate course in psychology in 7 hours.  I took a test in 15 minutes and got a B+.  I wondered if this accelerated learning was trainable.  I had a young man pass the bar at 19 in California.  Micha Stanley was able to graduate U of Texas at 16 with a 4.0.  Learn Chinese in 3 weeks became my mission.  I teach how people can apply this accelerated learning to their businesses and be more productive and have more time for things you love.  Have less stress.

P:  Yes, it is a challenge that our listeners are sitting at the edge of their seats.  Did you work with these people personally or was this through your program that they were able to learn?  Do you have to be a genius to learn this?

H:  Good example is a C student when he started.  He graduated with his 4 year degree at 19.  His masters in English at 21.  At age 22 he is an English Professor.  It teaches people something that we were never taught.  Brain based learning.  How does your brain work?  Why can you turn on the radio and listen to a song and learn it and sing it for the rest of your life, effortlessly?  I cracked the code on learning and that’s sort of what we will be doing today.  I will talk about some of these strategies people can use immediately. Mega reading is a thing everyone can do at a high reading rate with maximum speed.

P:  What inspired you to bring this to the world?  You could have kept it for yourself and just continue to grow your own business and yourself?

H:  I spent 10 years teaching in the inner city in New York.  I told the principal that I could help the students.  He said, what I was going to teach is not in the curriculum.  I realized that someone needed to do something.  People are unable to stay on top of data.  Right now it’s doubled.  Every six months, information doubles.  Nobody has figured out a way to stay on top of that.  It’s important for people to do that and be successful.  I figured since I knew what I was doing and it worked and it was something I could teach, I had that responsibility.  I was given a gift and wanted to share accelerated learning to make a better world.

P:  Terrific.  I hope that everyone who is listening here taps into their gift.  It’s almost an obligation isn’t it Howard?

H:  Yes, I just help develop what you already have.  We all have something special.  People that I have helped, live better and see more possibility.  You have more dots you can connect.  More ways to approach a problem and you find more solutions.  Too many problems.  We need more problem solvers and less problems.  I feel like that is something I can help bring about with brain based learning.

P:  You are right.  As you help more people throughout the world, is this something that can eventually break into the curriculum and be a standard part in the way we learn? This could be a  mega reading class where accelerated learning allows us to read and comprehend atmaximumm speed?

H:  Probably not in the United States, but maybe other countries.  Our system is really, um, we are still fixing it.  Here is a statistic.  50% of college students dropped out.  70% of two year college students dropped out.  The average person take 6 years to finish college.  90% of high school graduates can’t write a paragraph.  20% of high school graduates can’t read at the 8th grade level.  38% of high school can’t do sixth grade math.  They just had a story on CNN.  80% of graduates in New York City, which is not the worst, or best, went to city college needed remedial training in Reading, Writing, and Math, before they could start college courses.  This country is in crisis.  They don’t want to change.  They say they do, but I live in the city where I volunteer for 10 years to help for free just to be a good citizen.  It says a lot about the system.  I read a book, if people were put to sleep in 1950 and woke up today one of the only things that stayed the same is school.  It hasn’t changed.  We are teaching kids how to be farmers.  How to be industrial.  Help their parents with the crops over the summer.  That is the purpose of summer. 

P:  People listening are here because they want change and want to increase their productivity.  We can take responsibilities for ourselves and our families.  There is a ripple effect that can take place here.  I am so grateful that you are here and we can really go over this information.  With the information age of the internet, entrepreneurs and every individual is overloaded with information today.

H:  The most common speed of reading is 200 words per minute.  With information doubling, that is just not fast enough.  Most people today are missing important information.  They are not able to read and comprehend the amount of information available and as a result are making expensive mistakes. 

P:  Yes.  I don’t think any of us can afford expensive mistakes.  We want to learn from the best.  We want to progress efficiently and effectively.  I resonate with your message because the more we learn, the better we can manage our energy investment.  We also need time to relax and do other things.  By learning faster with this accelerated learning method, that will enable us to do that. 

I ask every guest this question.  I am interested in your definition.  How do you define productivity and why?

H:  For me it is the ability to get things done quicker and better and more efficiently.  Not have the aggravation of stress.  A good example is I needed to get credits to get my teaching license.  I didn’t have time to go to school. I did a five month course in 7 hours by reading a book 4 times in 7 hours.  I took the sixth hour to take the test in 15 minutes. Mega reading in maximum speed. I got 4 graduate credits for 7 hours with a B+ for $65.  I saved so much money in driving, parking, and just time per week.  That is productivity. 

P:  That is productivity.  That is a wonderful example. 

H:  Getting things done and getting it done right and not wasting a lot of time getting the results that you need.

P:  I talk about focus in my program.  What they are doing with their time.  How much of themselves do they bring to that time and how do they feel about what they accomplished in that time.  How they manage their energy.  What is your take on that concept?

H:  That is so important.  Emotional intelligence.  It is the single most important skill.  Here is an example.  A lot of people ask, why am I a loser?  Your brain will tell you why you are a loser.  A lot of people in their learning will say, why am I so stupid?  Why do I have to learn this?  Instead, they should ask, how can I learn this faster and better.  We set ourselves up for failure.  While we are performing our activities throughout our day, if we ask a positive question, how can I get this client to agree to my contract quicker?  I can I learn this new skill better and faster?  Instead of why and how am I going to learn this?  These negative comments set up a program of failure.  Success doesn’t just come only from positive thinking.  If that was the case, everyone in Vegas would go home rich.  You have to have a good plan.  But if you have a negative attitude and the wrong question and not focused on the right one, no matter how hard you work, you will only get the answers you are looking for.  So many people spend their time trying to accomplish something they don’t even need. 

P:  I love that you bring in the quality of questions in terms of learning.  I never thought of it like that.  You are actually turning off your ability to learn by the questions you ask yourself while you are learning.  We talk about language.  That is so key.  I love how the quality of questions go through every aspect of our lives. That makes sense because the questions direct the enegy and focus around our brain based learning.

H:  So many students fail, because they say Math is too hard.  Science is boring.  So is it a shock that that child can’t learn science and math?  I am curious about how things work and I love numbers.  A lot of problems that people have are self-created.  Their attitudes and questions are creating them.  I can actually change someone’s emotional state. 

P:  they would love that.

H:  One of the states that people need is energy.  Have you ever been in a long meeting, or take a long exam, maybe your commute home?  To combat this, stand up and touch your left arm to right shoulder.  Then your right arm to left shoulder.  It’s like the Macarena but without music.  Now bring your right elbow to your left knee.  And do the same on the other side. Both sides of your brain are becoming active.  Make a fist in your right hand and hold it over your head and say:  I feel great.  Pull it down and go YES!!  With passion.  Do three sets of these.  This will create energy when you need it. Counts of 8.   Speed it up on your second set.  Third set even faster.  Put a smile on your face, sit down and feel great.  When you do this three times Penny, you know what happens.  Nothing?  But do it three times and do it every day three times for a month.  Then when you are in a long boring meeting, or sitting in traffic, or you are in a exam, you need a burst of energy.  Do you remember Pavlov’s dog?  You will drill your mind into creating energy.  You are making your own bell like Pavlov’s dog.  Your brain remembers what it felt and then you get a boost of energy just when you need it.  The same way to learn this you can learn to focus, relax, be creative, and then you can turn this state on when you need it.  I talk about all of this in my program. 

P:  That’s great.  And my program has that in it too.  That is key in every aspect.  What you are doing is the same as a song that takes you back to a particular place in time.  We have these anchors that we create for ourselves all of the time.  I would like our listeners to know that you have negative ones there and there are ways to remove those as well.  It’s a balance of creating these positive anchors for ourselves.  That is great.  Thanks for sharing that.  Everyone is leaving here with a huge value with them able to take away and boost their energy at any time. 

H:  Here is an example.  You learn how to drive.  Then you get your license.  You slide in the car and the instructor is right next to you and suddenly you can’t remember your name because you are taking a test.  You went brain dead.  That is an example of an emotional state sabotaging all of your hard work.  Every day that happens to kids.  They study hard for a test, they know the information, the test starts, and they get so nervous, they can’t even remember their name.  It’s critical to learn how to manage your state.  Critical.

P:  It’s not as much about time as it is about energy.  You hit the nail on the head.  It’s about how you manage that emotional state or energy.  I have coined a phrase called Championship Psychology.  That is what we are creating. 

H:  That’s right.  Those are great words. 

P:  That is the productivity x factor.  It sounds like you believe that as well.  Do you think there is another x factor in there?

H:  I think productivity is a lot like accelerated learning.  It’s not one single thing.  A lot of people think reading is learning.  It’s not.  You can read a book and the next day fail a test even though you read the book.  You didn’t understand it or didn’t remember it.  They need to read and comprehend. How do I learn and understand something I don’t understand.  Brain based learning requires three blades:  Read, understand, remember.  Whether its learning or productivity we are talking about a complex thing not just one thing by itself.  Taken together with the right proportions you get an amazing outcome.  That is why my program is different.  Most speed reading programs focus on maximum speed and reading.  I focus on accelerated learning.  The problem is people read too fast and don’t learn anything. that isnt mega redaing. Learn smarter in less time – that is mega redaing.  I teach how to make sense out of what you are reading.  If you like I can show you some of the tricks I teach. 

P:  yes, I just want to make sure I understand.  I am sure there are some skeptics.  They might be thinking, ok I can read fast at that reading rate but am i going to comprehend what I have read.  Are you saying that you have cracked the code in that you are able to not only help people to improve their reading rate to read faster but also to retain and access that information faster?  Is that what you are saying? Read and Comprehend, right?

H:  it is how the brain makes sense of the words.  You are understanding better because we understand what the brain is looking for to make some sense.  This program works.  I see this over and over again, these young people taking college level tests and doing well.  There are so many ways to improve comprehension.

P:  If it works with an eleven year old, it can work for you.

H:\radio for more information.

P:  We will go to that at the end with that. 

H:  Would you like something else about comprehension?  One of the things people often ask me is this is too much to learn.  The book is too big.  I don’t even know what to look for.  All you have to look for is five things.  New words, the names, numbers and statistics, 5 points in each section.  We took a group of 18 children ages 11 to 16.  We gave them a 30 chapter book at a college level.  In one week they finished the book with speed reading.  15 out of the 18 students took the test and 15 of the students passed the course with full credit in one week because they knew all of the words, names and numbers, and the five most important ideas.  They had the answers to every question.  If you learn just those five things you will master any subject in a fraction of the time. 

P:  yes, because that is what you are being tested for, right?  I just want to ask a question.  What about comprehension?  Really being able to understand the material.  Like when you are getting a medical degree.  When you really need to apply something and not just answer the question.

H:  When I did that graduate course in 7hours I knew it was going to be multiple choice.  Which meant I didn’t have to know the answer, just recognize it.  I knew it was given to the whole state.  They couldn’t make it too hard because no one would pass.  Too hard and all would fail.  I spend time in the glossary because that is where words are to identify.  When you learn a system for analyzing tests and analyzing business experiences, you begin to know exactly the questions to expect from a client or an instructor.  So you are prepared.  The secret to school is one thing.  The answers to the questions.  Most people are studying all of the information and none of it’s on the test. 

P:  They need to learn what is relevant. 

H:  It’s a game.  But the reality is all you really need to know is the answer to the questions.  If you are trying to learn something and the questions are not focusing on what you need to know, you may do poorly on the test part.  My strategy teaches you what to look for even before you sit down and read. 

P:  It’s time for us to take a break.  We will be back.  We will talk about proactive training.

Welcome back. I am Penny Zenker and I am joined with Howard Berg, the world’s fastest reader.

P:  We just had two segments of great value that you provided to our listeners.  Not only did we learn how to boost our energy and our state in the moment through some exercises, but we also looked at how to anticipate and understand the schema, the key into speed reading and being able to read faster and read and gather what is really important in order for us to be able to take tests and be able to utilize this information.  I want to talk about like myself, there are many books on my shelf that are just sitting there.  There are people who think I just don’t have the time to take this method of learning.  How long does it take to learn your program?

H:  It only takes 2 and half hours to read 100% faster.  The other 90 minutes are on the comprehension and tension.  And the emotional state. 

P:  That is incredible.  This is an audio program?

H:  Actually its 3 DVD’s.  One of them is a practice DVD to help people get quicker.  They don’t have to.  I would like to think that if you double the four hours and practiced more you could triple your results.  If you want just the quick fix, then it only takes a few hours.  That’s fine because everybody is different and so are their needs.  I try to make sure I cover everybody’s needs properly.

P:  In four hours, people are going to be able to double their reading speed.  That will give them more time to spend with family, focus on sales, or to apply the skills that they have just learned through reading.

H:  I let people contact me.  They can text me on my phone.  If they need my help, I try to make sure that everyone who takes the program will learn.  I am still part teacher.  I may have left the schools, but I still like to teach people. 

P:  Do you have a place where people share their results?

H:  We did a third party investigation company.  We used a standardized test for reading speed and comprehension.  They took 100 people at random and gave them just the program.  I was not in the room or even the city it was in.  The average person doubled or quadrupled with no problems. 

P:  ok. 

H:  We know for sure it works.  Different age groups, backgrounds, experiences, etc.  This study proves what you can do what you are claiming.  Most programs don’t do this study to validate the quality.

P:  Sounds like you have many people who have excelled and you are able to show that the system really works. 

H:  It makes me feel good.  Me doing it is fun, its entertaining, other people doing it, can change the world?  That excites me.

P:  That’s great.  You mentioned that student who freezes for a moment, do you have any tips for you to give our listeners about memory and accessing that information that you are looking to bring up at a particular time?  Whether it’s a test or speech or whatever.

H:  Yes.  First thing is wording is state dependent.  A memory strategy is the second part.  I will give you ten things to remember.  I will show you how.  Poles, shoes, tricycle, car, glove, gun, dice, skate, cat and bowling pin.  Most people might know how to say them backwards and forwards.  I will show you the secret.  If you take something you know already like the numbers 1-10, link them to something you need to know, it takes a fraction of time to learn.  This is called Pegging.  Figure number one:  a big tall one that looks like a pole.  Two, how many shoes are you wearing.  Three, is a tricycle it has three wheels.  Four is the car and it has four tires.  Five is glove it has five fingers in the glove.  What is five? Six is gun.  They love them in Texas.  Seven is lucky in dice.  Seven is dice.  What is seven?  Say Eight Skate.  What is eight?  That is a rhyme.  Rhyme is powerful.  Nine:  How many lives does a cat have?  Nine is what?  Last one is ten bowling pins in a lane.  Ten bowling pins.  What is ten?  Let’s put the numbers together 1..2..3..4…5…6…7…8..9..10.  Name the ten items.  The whole system is just like this. 

P:  That is great.  It’s a system that helps you to access things by connecting them to other things that are easier to remember.

H:  Its supersonic speed reading.  It teaches you how to read faster and understand what you are reading.  It shows you how to find things that are important and how to remember them.  Now you have a complete system for learning instead of just the reading program.\radio and they can try it risk free for thirty days.  We guarantee that we double your reading speed.  If you need help, call me.  My phone is not ringing.  I have been giving out my number for 30 years.  I have taught so many people, what does that tell you? They have paid me to help them.  Someone has trusted me, I make sure it gets done. 

P:  That is fantastic and thank you.  You can try Howard’s program it is a money back guarantee. 

H:  You won’t need to return it because it works.  But if something happens, you can send it back.  But they just don’t.   It’s so easy to learn.  It is exactly what they expect.  If you give people what they expect plus a little more, they are really happy and want to keep it. 

P:  Knowing you and the value you have created with this program as well as hearing you speak at other forums, the value will be more than people expect.  It will be over the top and I encourage everyone to go to\radio to check it out.  Before we end, I want to ask you what are you working on?  You have gone through so many books and skills and different things, what is next for you? 

H:  I do products for memory.  How to make products.  How to get on shows.  26 advance speed reading lessons.  I do a program every month on a business problem.  Like how to make a website or Photoshop or create a membership press.  I teach people how to do things that would traditionally would take months, I teach in an hour.  My services help people in business who are trying to be productive.  I cut the time to learn it.  I do this every month. 

P:  Thank you so much for being here.  It’s been a world of information, but we have learned a lot of practical things that we are able to take away with us and apply immediately.  Thanks for sharing that.

H:  Thank you again.   You will be really excited with the results you get.

P:  Just to close out, in my program I talk about the type of energy that you bring to a project or task.  It’s not about the amount of time you spend on something, it’s about what you bring to it.  Howard says that as well.  Its state dependent.  You need to be in a certain state to learn and you need to be in a certain state in the way you do everything in your life.  It also helps to have strategies like speed reading to proactively reduce the time it takes to do certain things.  Find, harness, and use your best and smartest energy.  In order to do this, you need to prepare and anticipate.  Howard talked about anticipate the questions before they come.  You want to anticipate your environmental changes or obstacle that may obstruct you in getting to where you want to go.  Prepare your knowledge and expertise by learning and getting the skills you need.  Find the fastest way to learn.  Train yourself and your staff to be exceptionally and exponentially more productive.  What obstacles await you in your future?  Write them down what you need to learn to create and maintain a competitive advantage in your field.  I have heard it said, if you are not growing, you are dying.  Start writing those things down and anticipate what you need to do in order to grow your life and your business.  If you like what you have heard, send us a message on Facebook, twitter or text.  Let us know what you think.\pennyzperspective and also at twitter\pennyzenker  questions can be posted on the site and we will answer them over the program or via email.  Join us next week as we talk about another of the most important elements of the ten elements of time and energy management and how to make yourself more productive.  We talk about quantum productivity.  Until next time, this is Penny Zenker reminding you to take charge of your time and energy.  It is a choice you can feel good about.

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