July 23, 2024

Use the OPIR method to accelerate reading and learning.


Read the front and back covers. Look at the flaps inside each cover. Read the table of contents, looking for subjects and headings that are of special interest to you. Use a highlighter to mark out anything that stands out. This should take no more than 5 minutes.

Next turn the pages quickly, about 30 to 40 a minute. Get a feel for the way the book is structured. Read a paragraph here and there to get a sense of the style. This should take no more than five minutes for a 300 page book.

At this point you can decide if the book is worth reading. If nothing has caught your attention, discard the book. Throw it away, put it on a shelf, or give it away. You will never read it.


Turn the pages again one at a time. Stop and read an occasional sentence or paragraph. Read the first sentence or paragraph of each chapter if it helps to have some structure. Read any questions or summaries at the end of each chapter. Seek a better sense for what you will learn when you read more. Use a highlighter to mark out sections that you want to spend more time on. Limit this phase to ten minutes.


Return to the parts that you are interested in and skim the relevant material. Read each paragraph or page quickly. Drag your hand or finger down the page to keep your eye moving. Slow down for anything that is particularly interesting for you. Use a coloured pen or highlighter to mark useful passages. Make notes in the margins. Turn down the page corners or colour page edges for any pages that you might want to access quickly. You should find it relatively easy to cover the good parts of a 300 page book in less than half an hour.


Review what you have learnt. Return to the pages you have marked. Read your notes and what you have highlighted. Make a separate aid memoir of what you have learnt. Mind maps are a useful visual way to create your learning record. Google Mind maps if you havent come across the term or want to know more.

Finally, note how you plan to use the learning and schedule any relevant actions in your ‘To Do’ list or calendar.

The whole OPIR process should be complete in less than an hour. The you use it, the faster your will become. This will save you at least an hour and probably two for every book you apply it to as well as double or triple retention.