You know what would be cool? Superhuman intelligence. To walk into a room like Dr. House or Sherlock Holmes and show everyone your brain works twice as fast as theirs. Unfortunately, we can't turn you into a genius -- genetics and the public school system have already tried and failed. But what we can do is teach you all the tricks you need to seem like one.
Because with very little practice, you can ...
Note: Look, we know you're already all a bunch of geniuses -- that's why you read Cracked. You know all about college, the ruthless job market, and even know a trick or two about evading billionaire assassins. But we know that you, like all geniuses, are always looking for that extra edge. Which is why we dug up this Cracked Classic, so that you can use these tricks to augment your raw brilliance with ... well, we don't wanna say "tricks," per se, so uh ... lies? Lies sounds good. Happy lying! -Cracked
5 Become a Speed Reader
When pop culture is tasked with presenting us characters who speak 17 languages, know way too much about far too many subjects, and/or are insufferably intelligent in general, speed reading tends to be the go-to skill to display their talent. In the classic "he's secretly a genius" movie Good Will Hunting, they make sure to show Will alone in his barren apartment with a huge stack of books, rapidly flipping pages of dense text like he's casually browsing through a SkyMall catalog. Anybody who can absorb information that fast is either a genius or a robot, right?
Or the text is just really large.
Well, here's good news for the vast majority of people who aren't Mensa-brained but want to appear to be: An ability to read quickly doesn't require a genius IQ, even if it will fool people at parties into thinking you have one. Anyone and their aunt can learn to speed read in a matter of minutes.
Provided you already know how to read (in which case, hi!), then you already have the ability to speed read. The training simply involves getting rid of the flaws that slow you down. For instance, your eyes naturally move in jerky twitches that make you skip backward and reread text due to periodically losing your place (you don't notice it, but 30 percent of your time spent reading is wasted because of this). Fixing that is as simple as practicing reading with a "tracker" -- just using a pen or something to follow the text as you read it, forcing your eyes to keep moving forward. Next, you time yourself. Find out how long it takes you to get through a few lines at your normal speed, and then set a timer. This time, give yourself twice as much text to read in the same span.
"OK, now read the entire Harry Potter series in eight minutes ... go!"
Keep doing it -- you'll be amazed at how fast you pick it up. Your brain can easily handle it; you've just been reading wrong all this time. The problem is subvocalization. Whether you realize it or not, we all "say" the words aloud in our head, as if we were reading a bedtime story to our own brain. This is what makes what we view as "normal" reading speed so gosh darn slow: Your eyes can totally buzz across those lines 300 percent quicker while still delivering the same information, but your thoughts insist on dragging their feet as they bumble along, painstakingly thinking each and every word "out loud" inside your head. Using the timer to force yourself to go faster will also force you to stop subvocalizing. Yep -- as always, the only thing keeping you back are the voices in your head.
Once you get over the panic of reading without them, you'll suddenly be able to read fast enough to make strangers think you're a prodigy, even though in reality you spent the entire previous afternoon trying to light your own farts.
And the entire previous evening Googling the phrase "cauterized asshole."