Developing your personal style

Quite often I urge the students to develop their personal style, but occasionally I wonder if they understand what I mean. Below are some examples. Each examples has its strengths and weaknesses,  and you should focus on those that fit your own style.

Technocrat

This is one of my favourite styles. I produce stylized markers similar to icons you could see on a web-site, then I get into deep length linking them to other content. While the original marker has very little details, I encode details on the links themselves. I read at 2000 wpm, heavily prioritizing the material. This means that I occasionally jump between 300 wpm and 3000 wpm with average retention ~70%. This enables learning huge sets of material with passable quality and very high creative capacity, but also skipping a lot of details here and there.

Perfectionist

This is basically Anna’s style. The markers are very lively with exquisite detail, but they are connected within very simple double-linked structure. Prioritization is neglected, meaning 95% retention at 600 wpm. The extremely high retention comes at a price of creative edge and speed.

Sportsman

This is basically how I view Jonathan’s style. The markers are almost minimalistic, but sufficiently detailed for accurate retention of 1-2 details. The prioritization is medium, meaning the reading speed does not jump at 800 wpm, but retention jumps between 60% and 85% based on the complexity of the material. The links are connected in a list with additional encoding of details into association. The whole style is built on keeping the speed constant, and juggling all other criteria to match.

Creative

This is another style I use, typically when the material is either very graphical and interesting or very boring and I need to generate the interest. In this scenario I create a comics-style mental page, where each section is encoded into a picture and all the details are carefully positioned within the picture. There is no explicit linking within a picture, but there is some linking between images. This style allows good long-term retention of details (90% retention), but the reading speed drops to 500 wpm.

People’s person

This is style I occasionally see with salesmen and education people. All the markers are encoded into people that wear strange costumes. The links are created by people talking to each other and moving in space. Some additional details and markers from preparation stage generate the space where the people move. The prioritization is based on ability to put information on people, usually resulting in loss of abstract information. Surprisingly the performance is usually good about 1000wpm and 80% retention, but the most important information may be lost when creating markers, often resulting in wrong understanding of the content.

Echo

This is style reported by some of my students. When reading a paragraph and generating content some words still get vocalized generating an echo in their head. The echo become the body of the marker upon which the details are collected. The prioritization of information is based on spontaneously generated echo, which reduces both speed and retention but not sufficiently to cause troubles. Typically speed is about 800wpm and retention is about 80%.

Emotional

We do encourage our students to encode some of the content with colour, smell or emotion. Typically these features either set the background for a whole set of markers or are encoded into details of specific markers. Occasionally the emotional information becomes the dominant part of the marker, with the content being some sort of background explanation for this emotion. For these students we present the 6 thinking hats concept and explain more structured form to encode emotion. We did not have enough students of this type to get proper statistics.

Highly visual

All of our students are encouraged to visualize. However some people are extremely successful at visualization, especially the students with severe dyslexia. They develop whole imaginary landscapes with levels of detail I cannot understand. Then the story just happens within these landscapes. Generally this is a memory palace method, which is well established methodology, but very few of our students could perfect it above all other methods. The results are very good, like 90% retention at 1500wpm or above, but this method is suited for very few.

Subliminal

There are many reports of people who can “read” without subvocalization and without creating markers. Somehow the content is registered in their brain in unprocessed form. These people are true recordsmen and can read at 10000wpm and 50 retention or 2000 wpm and 90% retention.  However the unprocessed nature of the information intake means that all the information need to be reprocessed upon retrieval, occasionally leaving large gaps in understanding and unrepeatable results.

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