Is the effectiveness of deep reading lost when we surf the web?  We all do it – surf the web, flipping from one page to the next, scrolling so fast that all we can really capture as we skim are bullet points, headers and other highlights – created to make our viewing experience quick and efficient.  

That’s what Internet Marketers are taught to do – try to capture your attention within seconds so you linger for just a few more seconds on their page, hoping something will hook you into reading more.

It all happens in seconds.

The Effectiveness of Deep Reading

Experts from around the world from anthropology, neurobiology and cognitive science are starting to agree that with increased web use, we’re losing the effectiveness of deep reading which results in DEEP KNOWLEDGE.

DEEP KNOWLEDGE is wisdom acquired over time as a result of countless hours of focused, word-by-word reading that once within the realm of our mind, gets magically transfused via mental osmosis into increased awareness, expanded consciousness and timeless wisdom.

DEEP KNOWLEDGE is what you notice when speaking with an expert, a professor or even an enthusiastic hobbyist who really loves his/her chosen pastime and really knows what he/she is talking about. In fact, it’s usually infectious because the fascination is how they can talk about it from so many different viewpoints and perspectives that as an ‘outsider’ you have never previously considered.

Unfortunately, DEEP KNOWLEDGE is now being replaced by the proverbial 15 second ‘sound bite’ that is digested via incomplete arguments, frequently based on false information or worse flawed reasoning. They are created for the sole purpose of tantalizing your senses for instant gratification rather than purposeful educational and informational purposes.

Don’t get me wrong, the Internet is a fabulous research tool, truly exponential in its limitless power, breadth, depth and scope of its reach. But the way we are consuming data and information does not lend itself to the creation or accumulation of DEEP KNOWLEDGE and wisdom.

Without an accompanying framework (cognitive context), the random bits and bytes acquired remain disjointed and disconnected. Creating more confusion than comprehension and ultimately losing the effectiveness of deep reading.

If after doing a lot of surfing, you’re left feeling a little empty, it’s because what you’re learning is thinner than ever, superficial and thus sometimes even meaningless.

There’s a solution.

Stop skimming and start reading again. Simply start reading MORE of any subject – ideally in book form (yes, reading on an iPad or Kindle is OK), but as a minimum, read in the context of WHOLE PAGES at a time rather than just bullet points and scattered paragraphs here and there.

Also start to pick sources of content that you know have higher credibility, prestige and standing. You can determine this easily by page rank (you can install an indicator in your browser that instantly tells you for every page you visit). I would not spend much time on any site that is less than a PR3. Google is a PR 10. 

You’ll soon realize that it’s within the envelope of the discussion – all that extra (con)text – that the data and information transform into knowledge that eventually emerges as wisdom and profound understanding.

Just for the record, I teach speed reading which enhances the effectiveness of deep reading BECAUSE it does not promote skimming, rather it promotes reading every word at a very fast rate – as fast as the eye can see.

So there you have it – a solution to the problem caused by technology designed to capture your attention at the cost of your understanding, comprehension and greater awareness.

Try it for a week and I promise you it’ll be a priceless realization.

You can have both the efficiency of superficial surfing and the effectiveness of deep reading!

Dr. Marc Dussault

Thank you to Dr Marc Dussault, author of the bestselling study guide Get The Best Grades With The Least Amount Of Effort for supplying today’s post. He really has a unique and exponential way of helping students with his accelerated learning and speed reading programs which promote the effectiveness of deep reading!