Get Smarter: 1 book, 15 mins

Blinkist caters for the time-poor and resource restricted, hiring expert writers to condense their ever-expanding online library of non-fictional literature in order to help you to read it in a fraction of the time.

Simply put, they want to help you read more, do more and learn more, in less time, boldly claiming that they can make you smarter in just 15 minutes! But how exactly?

Rather than teaching you to speed read, which limits comprehension, the Blinkist team have isolated the salient points of thousands of books, presenting them in bite-size chapters called blinks, which provide a detailed summary of a book’s fundamental lessons delivered via their website or app.

It’s true, non-fiction books can be bloody hard work to read, especially if they’re laden with data-heavy facts and figures. The time-poor can forget about digesting one anytime soon and as for skim reading, does anyone even do that anymore?

As such, getting lost in a magical novel often takes precedence over an educational read, so is this the answer to finding literary balance?

THE BLINKIST SERVICE

  • Visit www.blinkist.com  or download the iPhone/Android App for Free.
  • Sign Up: for the 3 day trial for full access and unlimited reading free of charge.
  • Subscribe: once your 3 day trial is finished you have 3 subscription options:
    • Blinkist Free: 1 free book per day, chosen by Blinkist (remember to set up the free book email reminder in your profile settings)
    • Blinkist Plus: approx £40/AU$75 per year, unlimited reading and highlights.
    • Blinkist Premium, approx £60/AU$115 per year, as as above plus: audio versions including podcasts, multi-device access and synchronisation with Evernote.

I opted for the 3 day trial via the iPhone app.

APP FEATURES

Categories: Browse books by subject, e.g. Marketing, Inspirational or History.

Discover: Trending books and recommendations based on your previous choices .

Library: ‘Reading’ and ‘To Read’ – simple organisation for your selected titles.

Collection: Highlight text to save it and add best-loved books to your ‘Favourite’ list.

Activities: Make it social, find Facebook or Blinkist friends and connect..

6 BOOKS, 1.5 HOURS, 3 DAYS

I chose a mix of self-development books, mostly at random, plus a couple of motivational reads that I have had on my wishlist for some time.

Over 3 days, I read 6 books, each in under 15 minutes and I was pleasantly surprised by the contrasting reactions each text evoked:

Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman

From my booklist – very informative summary with quality excerpts, ensuring maximum understanding. I now feel that the book might be too in depth so won’t rush to buy it. 

The Wisdom of Psychopaths by Kevin Dutton

Interesting insight, but felt blinks overlapped and fundamental life lessons are lost amongst all the unnecessary info. Neither won me over here

Losing My Virginity by Richard Branson

Unexpected gem!  The storytelling style, paired with the well-chosen content, works beautifully. Blinks make interesting stories easy to share and amazingly I look forward to reading the same stories in more details.

Emotional Intelligence by Daniel Goleman

This had some interesting points but didnt really tell me anything I didnt already know, not something I would buy at all.

7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey

This had an interesting collation of habits but not sure I would opt to buy this book as some of it I am already aware of through prior research.

Thrive by Arianna Huffington

Another book added to the booklist! Thoroughly enjoyed these blinks.

THE VERDICT

The selection of books seems quite impressive, I searched for as many worldwide best-selling personal development and motivational books that I could think of, and they were all available. Perhaps though, more complex and niche subects amongst categories such as science might be unavailable. In any case, new titles are published daily.

In light of selecting books with a common thread, I assumed that these ‘blinks’ would indeed succeed in satisfying my curiosity and that reading the whole book later would be highly unlikely – which is, of course, the sole purpose of this service, I know – however, I was worried that I would lose my interest in non-fiction altogether, becoming a lazy blink reader that seldom delves into a topic to any great depth. I was so happy that this was not the case and have now added a coupe of these books to my wishlist to buy in the future.

The app is very user-friendly; it has a sleek, minimalistic design, functions well and is mobile responsive.

Is it worth subscribing to this service? I guess this is the $75 dollar question!

If you are someone that buys lots of non-fiction books then this *could* save you money, if you find a blink gives you enough of an insight that you feel you no longer feel you need to buy the book.

On the first day of my free service the free book was The Secret Life of Pronouns – a book on our choice of words and it’s meaning. It was very interesting and I definitely learnt some new things, it’s not a book I would usually buy so the free service is definitely a great way to discover new books or learn new facts.

So does it make you smarter in 15 minutes? Yes it does.

What are your favourite non-fiction reads?

Ferg

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