Update April 27, 2020: This post is a review about Blinkist. I’ve stopped using their app and no longer recommend it.
I’ve been an avid reader since I was 16. One of the first novels I (voluntarily) read was Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky. That’s a serious read at 450 pages, but I loved it. Around the same time, I also discovered non-fiction books. 48 Laws of Power by Robert Greene was the first self-help book I read. I immediately got hooked to reading—fiction and non-fiction.
But self-help books were different. When I finished 48 Laws, I knew that I could use the knowledge to my benefit. By reading historical examples of people who lied, cheated, killed, to get the power I understood the world isn’t all rainbows and unicorns. It could take me decades to learn some of the lessons from 48 Laws of Power—I’m sure I wouldn’t even find out half of the lessons in a lifetime.
Books are everything you need if you want to learn something. Instead of trying to figure out everything on your own, you can read a book and learn from the experiences and research of others.
Elon Musk didn’t know much about aerospace engineering—so he bought some books. He later founded Space X, a company that wants to make space transport accessible to anyone who isn’t an astronaut.
Books equal knowledge. And with the right knowledge, anything is possible. But there is one problem—books take time to read. Even when you train your reading skills and can read faster, it will take you at least several days to read a book.
And I add new books to my reading list every week. Every time I read a book, I look for books that the author cites or mentions.
“What book should I read next?”
Once I cross off a book from my reading list, I always add 1 or 2 new books. It’s a never-ending adventure of discovering new books. I ask myself: how do I find the time to read everything? I’ve decided that I would never be able to read all the books I want. So I need to determine which books are worth reading, and which books are not.
I had no idea how to do this until recently when I heard of ‘Blinkist’ from a friend. She knows I read a lot and told me I should check it out. I immediately got a premium account, and I’ve been using it almost daily ever since.
Blinkist captures the key insights of non-fiction books. They call these insights ‘Blinks’. When I got Blinkist, I checked their quality first. I did this by reading the Blinks of the books I’ve read and summarized myself. I found that the summaries by Blinkist captured the actionable advice from the books. That is what I always look for when I read a book, “how can I apply this in my life or work?”
What I like the most are the audio versions of the Blinks. This is the perfect way to use ‘dead’ time. To me, the dead time is when you are doing something, which doesn’t require your brains to work. I hate wasting time and I always try to have something to read.
But driving, making breakfast, or doing cardio at the gym is time I can’t use for reading or learning. I’ve thought of audiobooks, but I’m not a fan because they take too long to finish. When I read books I try to absorb knowledge—I take notes, highlight text and sometimes take pictures of really interesting things. I can’t do that with audiobooks.
The audio Blinks works well because they are short (15 minutes on average). I use dead time by listening to the audio versions of the Blinks. Or when I’m waiting at the dentist, I just open the app and start reading valuable information instead of the news.
Blinkist has saved me time and money and gave me new ideas. I decided not to buy some books that were on my reading list because the content wasn’t good.
This doesn’t mean I’ve stopped reading entire books. Blinkist doesn’t replace books—it is a tool that complements books. Blinkist feeds of books. I use them both to increase my knowledge.