Stuff We Like: Blinkist

Blinkist is a tool for summarizing books, and is available for web and iOS. It has quickly become on of my favorite iOS apps.

If you are similar to me, you have a longer reading list than you could possibly finish. Blinkist helps me condense many of the books I want to read to shorter, white paper versions of the book. Something I can read in a single sitting. It is a great time saver.

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How about content? The idea is great, but it only works if Blinkist has the books you want. Blinkist seems to have all the major publications, and is adding new content daily. If it is a book that was recommended by a friend or colleague, there’s a good chance Blinkist has it or will have it soon. If it’s something more obscure, you are out of luck.

What about accuracy? I was skeptical of the accuracy of the app so I started by reading the summaries for books I had previously read. I was pleasantly surprised. Blinkist was able to considerably condense the content of the book without losing any of the lessons or advice. I had nearly the same effect to reading the full book as reading the Blinkist version.

Since launching in 2014, Blinkist has updated the app with clever tools; you can tag books and find them easily, you can sort books alphabetically, by the date they were added, or by reading progress. If you accidentally close the app in the middle of a Blink, the app will open exactly where you last left off. No more lost progress!

You can even “favorite” the books you loved, so you can come back to them later for a second read. Better yet, if you really loved the Blink, you can now purchase the full book straight from the finish page.

If you’d prefer to listen to an audio version, you can download and listen to your Blinks offline. Once you’re finished with a Blink, the app will find and recommend new reads based on books you’ve added as favorites.

One thing that struck me as interesting and got me to sign up was this line on their website:

Blinkist believes in human brilliance, which means nothing you read from us will ever come from an algorithm. We recruit bright, inquisitive readers to craft our blinks so that you get a thoughtfully composed, human-made work that’s heavy on substance and light on fluff.

Blinkist doesn’t take summaries from publishers or crowd-source a summary of the book. They have real people reading the book and writing intelligent summaries of what they read. I think this is a unique app that can save you a lot of time if you have a reading list you just can’t seem to get to, like me.

Blinkist offers a three day free trial on their website. And there is no limit to the amount of books you can read when you are a subscribing member.

Now, Blinkist also has a magazine that puts out two editions per month. Each edition is based around a theme and offers curated original writing, interviews, and images.

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