- Learn to speed read
- Solve a Rubik's Cube
- Play the world's shortest game of chess
- Work out maths in your head better (some Americans still call it 'math' . . . so annoying)
- Scan people like Sherlock Holmes
I've been trying out the speed reading technique - they link to it in the article. Here it is. It's actually really good - and only takes a spare 20 mins to get an idea of how to do it. I'm sure I don't have any psychos reading this, so I can assume you're not interested in memorising a book's contents in order to quote things to people just before you commit a heinous act. They do that in films all the time (Hannibal, Butterfly on a Wheel etc). Anyway, as long as memorising stuff isn't on your to-do-list you can read way faster than you think. Unfortunately it does involve using your finger to underline everything you read, as if you were back in nursery school, but it means you can get through things much quicker.
Try it now: grab a book (novels are best because they have a good line length of 10-14 words - after all, 12 words is the optimum, as you knew) and read it by underlining each line with your finger as if to pull your eye along the line. Go through two lines per second. It's fast, and you may not get an understanding of any of the words at first, but keep trying – you'll eventually no longer need to say the words to yourself in your mind while you read (which is the main reason people only read as fast as they can speak).