1000 articles per week

Occasionally I read 1000 articles per week. This takes me about 90 minutes per day or one entire weekend. I honestly thought it to be normal and was surprised that some people find it astonishing. You do not even need to read very fast to use this skill.

What is an average article?

A good article on average is 4000 words. Blog articles are usually shorter, around 800-1500 words. Scientific articles are longer, maybe 2000-8000 words. Wikipedia articles are on average 2800 words long. The density of the ideas also changes. Wikipedia is significantly denser.

Next, consider the range of the subjects one is interested in. AI and psychology have a lot of articles to read with very little innovation once you understand the main concepts. Understanding the innovation per article is the hard part. Business and finances offer a lot of innovative ideas, yet they are extremely easy to read and understand. History and philosophy do not offer many articles, but when there is a good article it is typically very dense. Medical articles can take any shape, depending on specific areas of interest. And there are also hobbies, which are curious, interesting and fun. Easy reading.

An average book is about 80000 words. It is like reading 40 articles. The mental challenge is similar. So 1000 articles are like reading 25 books.

Why should anyone read 1000 articles in a week?

The basic idea is to follow just the most important blogs and publications in your area of interest. From those blogs select just the most important articles. This can easily be 1000 articles every three months.

Then there is spontaneous research. A random question or idea that activates curiosity. Possibly as a result of a casual discussion, stumbling upon something in various blogs or playing various “what if” games. If the subject is interesting enough, it spawns further questions. You get 1000 articles to read within hours.

And there is planned research, for example acquiring a new skill or collecting knowledge for a new book. In this case, 1000 articles barely scratch the surface. Probably 5,000 articles is a better estimate.

Combine all of these, and I get on average once a month to read 1000 articles. Typically I do this once a month.

The initial effort.

To be honest, the mental effort of reading 1000 articles in one weekend is still a bit overwhelming. First, simply to get 1000 articles, I need to sift through 5000 excerpts and headlines making go/no-go decisions. This process alone takes several hours.

Then I preread the article to get the context right. The rate of prereading is about 5 sec per articles. About 20% of the articles are too hard for immediate reading and I delay the process by one day. Probably around 80% are easy enough to speedread at high speed. After reading each articles, I add a small 5 keyword summary in my reading diary – so I would know what to look for in the future. Typically the innovative part is added to the mindmap of the subject I have.  Many articles do not produce an interesting innovation, others produce several lines of innovation, 5 keywords per line.

What I remember and what I write down in the reading diary is not exactly the same. There are many pieces of argumentation and supporting information that I remember without writing it down. So the 5 keywords I write down is just the first visualization of the relevant mindmap. It can also be a 3×3 matrix of 9 words, but that does not happen very often.

The mental toll

For every minute of reading, I take about a minute of overhead to process what I just read. And the Pomodoro schedule is 30 min break for 30 min processing. I forgot to mention that at this stage I read about 10,000 words per minute, so I can still process quite a lot. The retention rate is suboptimal since I mainly focus on the results and the innovation. But this is not the hard part. The hard part is context switching: every two minutes addressing a different paradigm. After 15 context switches, I am too exhausted to read properly and need rest. I cannot even address or read something complex.

The secondary effort

On the second day, I read the stuff that I could not handle on the first day. Either it was too important, or too complex, maybe too long. I take my time and read slower. Important pieces I handle as slow as 1000wpm, and at that speed, I have an almost perfect comprehension and recall. By almost perfect I mean if I fail to understand or memorize something, the reason is not the speed but something deeper in that particular article.

At this rate, I almost do not get tired. I read for 12 min, take 3 min to think about what I just read, and take 30 min Pomodoro break for every 90 min of processing.


For deeper processing, I try to select articles in a way that minimizes my context switches. So if I read 12 min, I might read 5 articles without a single context switch. To do that, I sort articles by context during the first day of reading or during the Pomodoro breaks. I rearrange the tabs in my browser or do something equivalent to minimize context switches.

On the second day the hard part is not the speed and context switching, but understanding complex subjects and memorizing more information.

Perceived complexity

Notice that not everything that is written in complex way is really complex. Quite often I get lists of dozens of items that I have nothing to do with or stories that are very important for the author of the articles but meaningless for me and my goals.

Professional articles, especially mathematical articles, initially appear very complex. However, they typically repeat the same template, maybe with a different notation. If I change the notation in my mind, the result is usually very simple.


Not everything can be understood in two days. Some articles need to be read 10 times for me to understand them. Usually, I am simply not motivated enough, but occasionally I do not have a choice. I reread these articles after collecting more knowledge about the subject, typically several weeks after the previous reading.

Other articles are so good, that they activate spontaneous or systematic research questions, which require more reading.


To be honest, I do not really feel that I understand something unless I use it in my work. I do not simply randomly revisit my memory structures. I actively use the things that interested me in my blog, my work, or around the dinner table – depending on the subject.

Not all the articles I write for the blog are published. Usually, I schedule them into the future and often do not care to publish. Simply writing about subjects is a part of my processing routine.

It is like a sport

Some people think that reading a lot makes me incredibly wise or smart. This is not the case. I just know things other people do not know. You can address it as a sport. Being a good athlete in some disciplines does not make you good overall.  Whatever you do will appear incredible to someone who has no relevant experience, but your peers will be about your level, and occasionally much better in some exercises. I do not claim top memory and speedreading achievements. There are a dozen others better than me in each specific aspect. I do not want to be the best. I am curious, and I work hard. So I do what I must to satisfy my needs.



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