The Washington Post

‘The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People’ just got a whole lot more effective


(Pre-article pro tip: If you’d like to read this post more “effectively,” stop and install this Spritz-like bookmarklet before going any further.)

A few weeks ago we wrote about this crazy new speed-reading technology called Spritz, which basically lets you read at two or more times the rate of a normal slowpoke human. At the time, said technology was pretty theoretical: Spritz had developed it and put out some pretty intriguing materials, but you couldn’t actually read any books with it … until now!

(Oyster) (Oyster)

Spritz and Oyster, basically the Netflix of e-books, have released the first speed-readable e-book, and what an e-book it is: It’s Stephen Covey’s lol-ably apt self-help classic “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People,” which you can now read even more effectively! The book, at 432 pages, would take the average person roughly six hours and 42 minutes to read. But at Spritz’s top speed — 1,000 wpm — you could theoretically finish it in under two hours.

Oyster co-founder and CTO Andrew Brown says the collaboration is a one-off; the e-book start-up has no current plans to Spritz a book again, though the company might consider it if customers seem enthused.

I also asked Brown about a common criticism of speed-reading applications like Spritz — namely, that they sacrifice the virtues of comprehension and sober consideration at the all-too-modern altar of efficiency. Wrote Olga Khazan in The Atlantic, “Wanting to speed through a good book sounds as illogical as rushing through lunch with a hilarious friend.”

“7 Habits” is, of course, no “War and Peace.” And Brown, needless to say, doesn’t see the issues that way.

“Oyster and Spritz are revolutionizing the way we read in today’s world,” he wrote in an e-mail. “Our end goal at Oyster is always to get more people reading and discovering great books. This is just one new exciting way to do that.”

Caitlin Dewey is The Post’s digital culture critic. Follow her on Twitter @caitlindewey or subscribe to her daily newsletter on all things Internet. (



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Caitlin Dewey · April 18, 2014

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