Speed reading

One thing everyone should learn is how to speed read. I have to because of the number of books, newspapers, and magazines I have to keep up with. And time is money.
Take a tutorial to learn the basic techniques. Or take a test to see just how fast and good a reader you are, to determine if you can benefit from speed reading.
The principles are simple: scan blocks of words at a time, keep your eyes moving forward. Your mind can absorb information faster than you can read it, and you don't need to read each individual word to comprehend the meaning. Most words don't have meaning in isolation anyway--blocks of words convey thought. We read slowly because we're taught at an early age to read out loud, and later in life we continue to read "out loud" in our mind out of habit. That slows us down because reading out loud requires you to fixate on each individual word.
It takes time to learn. It helps to use some simple training techniques. The basic principles once again:
1. Scan blocks of words--don't read word by word.
2. Don't linger on any words. Keep your eyes moving forward on the page, and don't let them wander.
3. Don't go backwards to scan things you missed (or at least reduce the number of times you do so)
What's even better is that speed reading tends to improve comprehension which may not be intuitive but has proven true in my own experience.
There's enough info on speed reading online that you needn't take a course or pay to learn to speed read. But if you have to, you can always download a trial copy of software like RocketReader to give yourself a kickstart.
Generally, I read at b/t 500 and 600 words a minute, though I could hit 1000 when I was younger. I remember using this machine that would flash a bright horizontal light on a page and move it down at a constant pace which could be adjusted. Your goal was to keep up with the line while reading. I think all this reading off of computer screens has slowed me down (on average people read 25% slower off of computer screens than off of paper).
One thing which helps readers is to keep horizontal blocks of text reasonably short, which is why I insert so many line breaks in my blogs.
One thing which I've also found is that it's difficult to spead read certain writers, whose sentences tend to meander, or who use non-conventional sentence structures. And foreign texts are hard to speed read, mostly because they contain so many words which aren't in my limited vocabulary.
So if you're looking for a self-improvement goal for this coming year, forget yoga, or losing five pounds, or quitting smoking, or all that stuff you pledge every year and have to start over the next. Set a goal to triple your reading rate--it's like biking, once you learn, you never forget. It will benefit you for life.