Keeping up with my ‘books to read’ list is a never-ending challenge, and one I seem doomed to fail. As fast as I read – which isn’t that fast – I add books to my list much faster.
So when a promoted tweet for an app called Blinkist landed in my twitter feed recently, it caught my attention.
Blinkist offers summaries of a wide range of non-fiction books: from leadership to personal effectiveness, biographies to social issues. They currently have around 800 titles, and are adding around 40 a month.
Having downloaded the app, I signed up for a 3-day free trial which gives you enough time to browse the extensive collection and read as many summaries as you can fit in.
It didn’t take me long to decide to go for a full-year subscription. Blinkist was packed with books on my reading list, along with many I’d heard of but was unsure whether they’d be worth the time investment. I also found a number I’d never come across but which looked intriguing. And that’s the beauty of Blinkist: it gives you a taste of what’s out there in your chosen subjects, then allows you a sneak look at a book’s key messages so you can decide whether or not to read the whole thing.
Each summary takes around 10-15 minutes to read, and is divided into 10-12 self-contained ‘blinks’. This makes them ideal for fitting short bouts of learning around other parts of your day: commuting, queueing, waiting for the bus…
I started off with summaries of Daniel Kahneman’s ‘Thinking Fast and Slow’ (a book I’d previously put off due to its density) and Oren Klaff’s ‘Pitch Anything’. Both were clear, well written and stimulating enough to get me thinking. I liked how they used real examples and stories from the book to bring the main points to life, and to give you a real feel for the content. You can also highlight passages of interest and Blinkist keeps all your highlights together for future reference.
Since then I’ve got through six summaries. They’ve varied a little in usefulness – a trait they unsurprisingly share with their bigger cousins!
I now have around 80 summaries lined up on my Blinkist reading list, ready to go on my iPad and iPhone whenever I want a quick burst of knowledge. And while I’m not a big fan of audio books, many of Blinkist’s titles have an audio version too which you can unlock with a premium subscription.
Clearly nothing beats reading a full book, but I think Blinkist will help me expand my knowledge in a broader sense while helping to prioritise my reading list.
You can download Blinkist on the Apple app store or on Android. A one-year subscription costs $50 but they offer a 20% discount if you sign up before the end of the trial. A premium subscription adds a few more bells and whistles, including the audiobook summaries and the ability to save notes directly into Evernote. It costs $80.
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