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Does IQ Need an IQ Boost?

June 20th, 2008 by Bob Bly

A radio commercial I heard this morning from IQ offers a free CD that promises to “boost your reading speed 1,000%.”

The commercials explains: “you’ll be able to read 10 book in the time it used to take you to read one book” — a tenfold improvement in reading speed.

The only problem is that reading 10X faster is a 900% improvement, not a 1,000% improvement.

It’s a small error. But for a company called “IQ,” I think it damages their credibility a bit.

Do you agree, or once again, am I being too nitpiky?


This entry was posted on Friday, June 20th, 2008 at 7:18 am and is filed under General. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

26 responses about “Does IQ Need an IQ Boost?”

  1. Dustin said:

    Took me a minute, and I’m a mathy guy, but yeah, they mean 1000% the speed.

    100% faster = twice as fast, 200% faster = 3x as fast, etc.

    100% the speed = the same speed, 200% the speed = twice the speed.

    People read through something like that so fast they don’t take the time to really parse out what it means (I include myself in “people”). Funny that a company selling read-faster (and I assume “better”) programs would fall into that trap.

  2. Craig Hysell said:

    Maybe it’s just me, but the claim sounds so utterly ridiculous and untenable that I’m immediately turned off by it.

    Even if it’s off by a 100%. The numbers seem fraudulent.

    What about just leading with, “Learn the power to read 10x faster and change your life.”? (Or something more down to earth like that.)

    If you’re talking to readers, or your a company called “IQ”, you’re mostly likely talking to an educated audience (or an audience that cares about getting smarter). Can’t you get their attention in a more cerebral manner? Or is it necessary to wow them with such astronomical figures?

    MAYBE I’M BEING a little too nitpicky. By the way, how much information do you retain when you read 900 or 1000% faster?

  3. Lou Wasser said:

    Well, the company could do a split-test for “nitpikyness,” to find out whether “900% improvement” in the promise pulls a measurably better response than “1,000% improvement.”

    Problem is, to do the test, the company would have to be aware that it made the mistake in the first place.

    Of course, the company already tripped up without a split test, so it might be best to counsel the folks who now have to answer its phones to offer a special discount just for paying attention to any smarty pants who catches the mistake .

  4. Conrad Hall said:

    Taking issue with using conditional clauses, or starting a sentence with a conjunction would be “nitpicky.” Suggesting an advertiser take time to consider the accuracy and honesty of their marketing efforts is just plain honest.

    I recently encountered the same situation when reviewing copy. The writer had used the word “mindfully” rather than “mentally.” The reason was that “mindfully” was more poetic.

    Unfortunately, the letter was for a coaching service for self-improvement. If the prospects were truly being mindful of their mental actions, then there would be little need for the coaching service.

    Promoting illiteracy because it reads well says a great deal about the writer. We might all benefit from re-reading David Olgivy: “I do not regard advertising as entertainment or an art form, but as a medium of information.” (Ogilvy on Advertising, 1985, Vintage Books)

  5. Jodi Kaplan said:

    I don’t think it’s nitpicky. It could be worse. I recently saw a TV ad for a company advertising tutoring help in reading and math. The ad said, “Call now to Receive [sic] $50 off a diagnostic test.”

    Would you trust your kid’s education to a company that commits random acts of capitalization?

  6. CharityPrater said:

    I’m not a math person, so I don’t quite get the math. Most people hearing that would brush it off as acceptable if they weren’t suspicious of the high claim.

    Also, it sounds better than 900%. That’s an unusual number that is harder to warm up to. 1,000% sounds much better. I’m slightly suspicious that perhaps they knew the mistake but ignored it in favor of the better-sounding number. It’s possible, but unlikely. If that’s not so, then they need knew writers/advertisers/marketers

  7. Catherine said:

    I’ve heard that commercial! The math bugged me when I heard it too. I’m not inclined to buy a reading program from someone who sounds like they don’t know what they’re talking about.

  8. Gerry said:

    This particular error is so common that it has almost entered the language. Almost everyone who reads it understands what is being said: the innumerate readers equate 10X with 1000%; we numerate readers know the error, are irritated by it but, of course, also know what is being mis-stated.

    Please know that we have far far worse in this country. I think of my adolescent daughter working for MacDonalds and being named employee of the month for the entire time she served. Why? Because she was the only employee who could make change.

  9. john doe said:

    I stumbled into your blog by searching to try to find the company & tell them about their wonderful math. Maybe they do help with reading speed, but obviously the ad writers did not get the comprehension increase they advertise … or they did not read anything about math. This is a basic thing my wife teaches to her kids in 5th grade … not college level stuff.

  10. WILL said:


  11. Caireotja said:

    Just heard that radio commercial with the lines of

    “boost your reading speed 1,000%” and

    “you’ll be able to read 10 book in the time it used to take you to read one book” — a tenfold improvement in reading speed.

    I did goggle search looking for a debunk/explaination of it & found the name of the product. It is a CD called

    “Infinite Mind IQ.”

    Since this was the only site I saw with critical info related to the product(and this pblog post does not show up on a goggle search of program name), I wanted to note the product’s name.

    Infinite Mind IQ.

  12. Ken said:

    Folks, you are hilarious. It should be intuitively obvious to the most disinterested New World monkey – a great ape unneeded for this – that they are selling SNAKE OIL. Go to their web site:
    and count the number of grammatical errors. I particularly liked the testimonial from a gentleman who could not discern the difference between the subject of a sentence and its object, as in the use of myself or me. Come on folks, we are dealing with dummies, who are no doubt raking in the cash from the great sea of unwashed #bleeped#. If you call and get a representative, and before giving your entire credit card number (give the first four digits as a tease), be sure to check whether said rep. took the IQ booster himself/herself – ask for the answer to 3!^3! – give them 30 seconds.
    By the way for all you gentle readers, what is the percentage difference between 3!^3! and 4!^4! ? (Note: a^b means a raised to exponent b)

  13. Ken said:

    In addition to my previous blurb, this website
    also does a website delete-key BLOCK. Thus they are tracking all user key depressions – no doubt they will infect your computer with either a virus, a worm, or turn it into a zombie bot if you are not well-protected. I use Mozilla Firefox latest upgrade and it did not stop the key-block adware feature of this website.

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