Blinkist Helps You Read More in Less Time

Few people really take the time to read anymore. When referring to “reading,” this does not mean scrolling through a few rants on Twitter that are only 140-characters long or some of the brief headlines that we come across on our news outlet of choice.

Technology has long been one of the reasons that people started to read less. They feel pressured to respond to their email, they want to avoid missing out on the latest headlines, and we cannot forget about the alternative forms of entertainment such as movies, music, videogames, and social media.

Nevertheless, just as technology has torn us away from reading a good book, it may now help us make the most of our reading experience. What if there was a program that could help you “filter out” the white noise of any book and help you focus on what the most important factors are? This is what Blinkist promises to do.

The concept behind Blinkist

The premise behind Blinkist (available as an iOS app and a web based service) is that it helps you understand non-fiction books in fifteen minutes. However, this is not like some of the services online that promise to help you speed up your reading. Blinkist is all about curating the best books and then condensing them down into meaningful bits. How do they do this? The name of the game is field experts with a passion for explaining complex matters and pure human brainpower.

The Blinkist app was first introduced onto the German market. In fact, it was released about a year before it ever came to English-speaking countries. This means that by the time it was released elsewhere, it was already a refined and polished app. Additionally, the international release of the service was accompanied by a new, responsive Web app.

A little more about the company

The company behind Blinkist is based in Berlin. There are four co-founders and 10 additional employees. Because the service is rather time-consuming (meaning that they have to produce the abridged versions of what might be complex material), there are only about 250 different books available for Blinkist. The majority of these are in German and an increasing number in English. Some are available in both languages.

At the time of writing, the company is adding approximately 32 books to its library every month. However, according to the co-founder and CEO of Blinkist, they plan to speed things up in the immediate future. The goal is to be able to add upwards of 50 books each month.

Blinkist Helps You Read More in Less Time

How does it work?

As previously stated, this is not a speed-reading app where you are going to read entire books in minutes. Someone has gone through the book and condensed it into consumable chunks of information that only take about 15 minutes to read.

The reading view itself warrants mentioning. All of the information presented is divided into sections that have subheadings. The service refers to these as “chapters.” You can switch between the different chapters on your phone by swiping left or right.

Most of the chapters that I came across were about 250 words. Most of the books had about ten chapters. This may seem like a great deal of reading, but remember that on average, our mind is capable of reading approximately 200 words per minute. Considering that each chapter takes about 90 seconds to read, it is easy to see how you can expect to take about 15 minutes total reading through the summary offered by Blinkist.

What can I really read in 15 minutes?

Some people are naturally skeptical about what is possible with a service such as Blinkist. Even though the selection is currently limited, a few examples of popular books that you can use Blinkist for include the 2005 classic Freakonomics, Barack Obama’s The Audacity of Hope, Richard Dawkins The Greatest Show on Earth, and separate categories such as Health & Happiness, Entrepreneurship, Business & Career, and Popular Science.

What does it cost?

Like many of the other services that offer something similar, Blinkist uses a subscription-based model. Once you register your username, you receive a seven-day trial period free of charge. After that, you pay $7.99 per month for an unlimited subscription. If you are really impressed by what Blinkist offers, you can opt to pay $49.99 for an entire year of the service.

The verdict

Now for the important question, is Blinkist worth your time and your money? To be honest, it provides two useful services. The first is that Blinkist allows you to sample books. It gives you a chance to determine whether you might find something interesting enough to read through or whether you believe that it would not be worth your time.

Secondly, Blinkist allows you to get a broad overview of books that you might just not have time for (or might want to make time for) and read cover to cover. Instead, you can rely on Blinkist to give you a good overview of the information available.

The truth is that purists might argue that you are unable to substitute reading an entire book with just using summary chapters. Even though the summary chapters in Blinkist are very good, they obviously cannot capture the richness and prose of an entire 300+ page book. If anything, Blinkist might inspire certain people to read the entire book because they find the summary interesting enough.

For me, I am going to remain a Blinkist subscriber, because I just don’t have the time to read all of the books that I want to read. Blinkist lets me get a glimpse of what I’m missing, and because it is accessible on my iPhone, iPad, or laptop, I can take my entire reading library with me. For the price, you just can’t beat that!

So check out Blinkist and let me know what you think! As an added bonus, I’ve been able to secure a 20% discount off the first yearly subscription for our blog readers. Simply enter the code Earnworthy when you subscribe.

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