Wouldn’t it be great if we could read books in the blink of an eye? How much more information could we absorb and put to use? Or, at least, how much more information could we sort through to decide whether it is worth a deeper look?
One can – almost. It is not quite as fast as in the blink of an eye, but it is way faster than the usual way of reading a book.
In a recent Brilliance Nugget, I told you that I decided to test Blinkist. It is a service that summarizes non-fiction books. For any given book they offer, you get
- A time estimate for how long it will take you to read or listen to this book summary (often only 12-15 minutes)
- What is about and who it is for – in just a few words
- The number of key ideas the book offers
- An introduction
- A brief section for each key idea
- A final summary
You can consume the above via audio or read it, either on your mobile, laptop, or desktop.
How Good Is This Service?
As an avid reader, I was curious.
- Would I be “enlightened” by reading more books in less time?
- What are the pros and cons of book summaries versus reading or listening to the entire book?
- What is the best practice for using Blinkist?
Great questions. There are over 5,000 books in the Blinkist app right now, and about 40 new ones are being added each month.
Ideas For How to Use Blinkist
The way I use Blinkist is:
- See whether a book I heard about is in their library. If yes, I can quickly review the key ideas. If I want to dive more deeply into it, I buy the book.
- Find exciting books by searching for a subject of interest. That is so awesome! It is learning on steroids.
- Look up books I have already read but perhaps years ago. Reading the Blinkist summary of the book is a great way to refresh my memory on all the key ideas.
- Look at book recommendations Blinkist sends me. I find many of them pretty interesting.
How Good Are the Book Summaries
Last question: How good are the summaries? It is inherent to summaries to omit details, stories, and examples. I decided to test this on some books I have read. In general, I think the Blinkist summaries are pretty helpful and accurately reflect the books’ contents.
Sometimes though, the brevity comes at a price. For example, a friend had told me about the Book “12 Rules for Life” by Jordan B. Peterson. I watched a summary on YouTube. I then ordered the 400-page book. It is quite the read. The author has poured a lot of research and thought into each of the twelve rules. The blink summary is 33 minutes (longer than most). It is pretty good, given that it is a summary – but you lose a lot, too.
Interestingly, each blink didn’t use the actual wording for the rule (which in some cases is a bit tongue-in-cheek). Instead, it said what the rule means.
- For example, rule 12, “Pet a cat when you encounter one on the street,” is how Peterson phrase this rule.
- Blinkist says, “Life is hard and full of sorrow, so it is important to celebrate small joys in life.”
- Yes, I agree the Blinkist gave a more straightforward impression about the idea behind this rule. I still would have liked to see the actual wording of the rule as part of the blink.
All in all, I’m pleased about my decision to subscribe to Blinkist (by the way, they do not sponsor me – although that would be a great idea!).
- Have you ever used a book summary service (which one?)?
- What did you think of it?
P.S.: I appreciate you commenting and sharing this Treasure Tuesday with others. Thank you!