The Infamous Bill Cosby Pamphlet Found!

My intrepid cousin Terri of Sense of Wonder found an html version of the Bill Cosby pamphlet that taught me how to speed read when I was 7. An excerpt:

Previewing is especially useful for getting a general idea of heavy reading like long magazine of newspaper articles, business reports, and nonfiction books,

It can give you as much as half the comprehension in a little as one-tenth the time. For example, you should be able to preview eight or ten 100-page reports in an hour. After previewing, you’ll be able to decide which reports (or which parts of reports) are worth a closer look.

Here is how to preview: Read the entire first two paragraphs of whatever you’ve chosen. Next read only the first sentence of each successive paragraph. Then read the entire last two paragraphs.

Previewing doesn’t give you all the details. But it does keep you from spending time on things you don’t really want – or need – need to read. Notice that previewing gives you a quick, overall view of long, unfamiliar material. For short light reading there\s a better technique.

11 thoughts on “The Infamous Bill Cosby Pamphlet Found!”

  1. funny! and interesting. i already do the last two, but the first suggestion (read 1st two paragraphs, one sentence each the rest, last two paragraphs) is a good one. i will try it.

  2. I ordered that pamplet when I was a kid too… about 8 or so. I read that article and have been grouping words (Clustering) to give me super fast reading skills like you!

  3. Wow, thanks for finding that and mentioning it in your blog (which is how I found it on Google). I told my son about this independent study course I did in college on speed reading that was done by Bill Cosby. My son thought I was crazy, but (thanks to you) I’ve finally found it.

    The pamphlet is actually just a tiny part of a bigger course. The course was a whole packet, made in the time when education was going to “fundamentally change” by new audio/visual techniques, like “teacher-less classrooms” where classes would be taught via videotape and tests given in carousels with students wearing headphones.

    The course had some videotapes, if I remember correctly, and a whole packet which was a self-paced course on speed reading. I still use the techniques I learned then in my reading today (combined with other techniques I learned along the way). The section on clustering was the most helpful to me.

    Thanks again for finding this!

  4. I realize this post is now several years old, but I would be interested if you could re-post a new link to the Bill Cosby pamphlet? The link here is broken and Google searches revealed very little. I already read fairly quickly (a book per day or 2 days, usually), but could always improve.

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