File this under dubious and interesting claims: the PX Project has developed a technique to increase the average person's reading speed by 386 percent. That would bring the average reader from about 200 words a minute to 772 words per minute. The project claims some of its trainees can read up to 4000 words a minute -- or about 10 pages. How does that work, exactly?

Ezra Klein directs us to a page that breaks down some of the training techniques. They look rather simple. One involves simply using a pen to trace sentences with increasing speed. Don't worry about comprehension, they say, just read the words above the pen tip -- one line-a-second, then two lines-a-second and so on. Another strategy involves humming while you read so that your larynx isn't latently trying to pronounce all the words you read, which allows you to read with your eyes.

The underlying theory here seems to be that your eyes don't read in a straight line, but rather in jumps, like taking sips of water. If you can train your eye to swallow more words per saccadic movement, or gulp, even without initially knowing how to understand the words you're reading, it's easy enough to add the comprehension level afterward.

Does it work? I have no idea. If it were truly this easy to train people to quadruple their reading time without sacrificing understanding, you'd think this method would be adopted in every school room and law firm in the country. But despite my gut doubts about the authenticity of this technique, I guess I shouldn't really bash it before I try it.

Via Ezra/Tyler Cowen