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    Clickable dictation at various speeds is available at the bottom of this page. The transcript of the dictation appears here as well.

    The old shorthand books were preachy, pretty much telling students how to live and how to succeed in life. Now that's fine IF you hold the same set of underlying beliefs. I'll leave you to draw your own conclusions as to wether you agree with this month's piece or not. Nevertheless, the vocabulary is quite rich and may require some remedial work. It is far better to encounter these words in practice than to get hit with them for the first time while trying to take dictation. My belief is that that many current shorthand texts do not embrace a rich enough vocabulary to stretch the students' learning. Just remember, you may need to write vocabulary-rich pieces like this one a bit slower to start to give yourself time to create correct shorthand outlines.

Shorthand Instructor, Pitman’s Shorthand, Isaac Pitman, 1905, p. 247-249

Industry and Happiness
          Health is the platform on which all happiness must be built.  Good appetite, good digestion, and good sleep are elements of health and industry confers them.  As use polishes metal, so labor the faculties, until the body performs its unimpeded functions with elastic cheerfulness and hearty enjoyment.  Buoyant spirits are an element of happiness, and activity produces them; but they fly away from sluggishness.  Men’s spirits are like water which sparkles when it runs but stagnates in still pools and is mantled with green and breeds corruption and filth.  The applause of conscience, the self-respect of pride, and consciousness of independence, a manly joy of usefulness, the consent of every faculty of the mind to one’s occupation and their gratification in it—these constitute a happiness superior to the fever-flashes of vice and its brightest moments.  After an experience of ages, which has taught nothing from this, men should have learned that satisfaction is not the product of excess or of indolence or of riches, but of industry, temperance, and usefulness.  Every village has instances which ought to teach young men that he who goes aside from the simplicity of Nature and the purity of virtue, to wallow in excesses, carousals, and surfeits, at length misses the errand of his life; and, sinking with shattered body prematurely to a dishonored grave, mourns that he mistook exhilaration for satisfaction, and abandoned the very home of happiness when he forsook the labors of useful Industry.
          The poor man with Industry is happier than the rich man in Idleness, for labor makes the one more manly and riches unmans the other. Luxurious couches, plush carpets from the Orient, pillows of down, carriages contrived with cushions and springs to make motion imperceptible—is the indolent master of these as happy as the person that wove the carpet, the one who hunted the northern flock, or the servant who drives the pampered steeds? 

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Instructions for Self-Dictation Practice:
    Copy and paste the above article into a word-processing document, using double or triple spacing and 12- or 14-pitch type.
    As always, be sure to check your shorthand dictionary for correct outlines before "drilling"!

Dictation Practice:
    Note that the material was counted and recorded for dictation at 100; all other speeds were copied from the 100 take and electronically adjusted and may therefore sound unusual.

60 wpm 80 wpm 100 wpm 120 wpm 140 wpm

The dictation material above is copyrighted, all rights reserved.

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Gregg Shorthand Pitman Shorthand Speedwriting Shorthand