Blinkist: Staying Current in a Break-Neck World
Overview of Blinkist
I’ve been using Blinkist for well over a year now and am quite happy with it. There are free accounts (one Blink available to read each day selected by Blinkist) but I’m a paying subscriber ($4.16/mo.), I’m a little tempted to go Premium ($6.66/mo.) just to gain the ability to export my highlights to Evernote, but for now, I’m being good.
What Blinkist does is summarize important non-fiction books which generally take 10-20 mins. to read. It allows one to be familiar with the book without investing hours into it.
I also use it to figure out which books I really want to read. It is great to read a brief summary and quickly see whether a full reading will be productive.
Blinkist is accessible on smartphone, tablet, and via desktops/laptops. I tend to read most frequently on my smartphone.
Guide to This Post
You’ve already made it through a quick overview of Blinkist, but there is still a lot of material I’ll be covering, so here is a quick guide to what follows so you can jump around if you so desire:
- Blinkist Features I Love
- Small Things I’d Like to See in Blinkist – This main consists of inconsistencies in their user interface – features aren’t available on mobile that are on full web, and vice versa.
- Big Things I’d Like to See in Blinkist – I have three specific features I’d like to see in Blinkist to make it more useful.
- Blinks I’ve Read That Convinced Me I Should Read the Book
- Books I Don’t Feel the Need to Read After Reading Blinks
- Blinks I’m Currently Reading
- Blinks I’m Most Eager to Read
Blinkist Features I Love
- Favoriting – If you like a Blink you can favorite it. I use this to keep a list of books I want to buy / read in full.
- Highlighting – I love being able to highlight portions. I actually have OCD and my highlighting is more than a bit compulsive, but I’m still happy to have the feature.
- Introductions – Provide a brief introduction to the book, oftentimes highlighting the books major topics, and usually including a small bio of the author.
- Final Summaries – Sums up the main point(s) of the book, recommends a related book to read.
Small Things I’d Like to See in Blinkist
- The ability to take notes like one can on the Amazon Kindle.
- Consistent features across devices, e.g.
- Web App Lacks:
- Ability to add to one’s To Read list.
- Ability to add tags to a blink.
- Ability to add Blink to favorites.
- Ability to delete book from Currently Reading.
- Ability to listen to audio.
- Mobile App Lacks
- Ability to add via the wish list items for Blinkist to create Blinks of.
- Ability to buy book from currently reading list.
- Finished List of Blinks completed.
- from the web app.
- Web App Lacks:
- The introductory material (especially the blurb about the author), quotes, and heading sentences for each “page” to be highlightable.
- When highlighting on the mobile app, sometimes the arrows allowing one to expand or contract the selection never appear (I find this inconsistently happens when selected the first [or last?] word in a line).
Big Things I’d Like to See in Blinkist
There are several rather large changes I’d like to see Blinkist bring about. All three have to do with making the Blinks more productive and useful.
First, there is the need for page references. Right now one knows the Blink is about the book, but not the particular pages or even chapters being referred to. Ideally, there should be chapter and/or page references for all the major points the Blink summarizes so one can pick up the actual book and quickly read the specific section one wants to read more deeply, rather than needing to browse the entire book.
Second, it would be great if there were quotes from the book summarizing each of the major points the book makes. These could be footnotes included in the Blink. They’d allow us to read controversial viewpoints in the author’s own words.
Finally, it would be great to be given resources to see what the critics of the book say. For example, Noam Chomsky criticizes American Foreign Policy in Rogue States, but how would his opponents rebut his arguments?
Another, even more important example is those books dealing with health and psychology. Authors make statements but it is unclear their sources or whether this is the author’s own opinion of scientific consensus.
Blinks I’ve Read That Convinced Me I Should Read the Book
- (3) Jennifer Kahnweiler. The Introverted Leader.
- (1) Dr. Eric Berne. Games People Play.
- (3) William James. The Varieties of Religious Experience.
- (5) Dr. David Perlmutter. Grain Brain.
- (5) Dr. William E. Paul.
- (4) Noam Chomsky. Rogue States.
- (4) Leonard Mlodinow. Subliminal.
- (5) Atif Mian and Amir Sufi. House of Debt.
- (5) Giula Enders. Gut.
- (4) Joseph Campbell with Bill Moyers. The Power of Myth.
- (3) C.L.R. James. The Black Jacobins.
- (2) Stephen R. Covey. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.
- (4) Tim Spector. The Diet Myth.
- (3) Roy F. Baumeister and John Tiernye. Willpower.
- (4) Daron Acemoglu & James A. Robinson. Why Nations Fail.
- (3) Susan Cain. Quiet.
Books I Don’t Feel the Need to Read After Reading Blinks
- Dr. David Perlmutter with Kristin Loberg. Brain Maker.
- Laurence J. Peter and Raymond Hull. The Peter Principle.
- James Rickards. The Death of Money.
- Carl Zimmer. A Planet of Viruses.
- Michael Alvear. Make a Killing on Kindle.
- Timothy Snyder. Bloodlands.
- Tim Ferris. The 4-Hour Workweek.
- Rachel Botsman and Roo Rogers. What’s Mine Is Yours.
- Walter Isaacson. Einstein.
- Amir Levine and Rachel S.F. Heller. Attached.
- Margaret Cheney. Tesla.
- Stephen LaBerge and Howard Rheingold. Exploring the World of Lucid Dreaming.
- Marshall Goldsmith and Mark Reiter. Triggers.
- Jon Ronson. So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed.
- Alex Epstein. The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels.
- Christopher Hitchens. The Trial of Henry Kissinger.
- Christopher Clark. The Sleepwalkers.
- Chris Brogan. The Freaks Shall Inherit the Earth.
- John Lanchester. I.O.U.
- Benjamin Graham and comments by… The Intelligent Investor.
- Philip Zimbardo. The Lucifer Effect.
- Gary Taubes. Why We Get Fat.
- Suki Kim. Without You There Is No Us.
- Thomas Paine. Common Sense.
- Edward W. Said. Orientalism.
- Phillip Coggan. Paper Promises.
- Edward D. Kleinbard. We Are Better Than This.
- Kevin Roose. Young Money.
- Ha-Joon Chang. 23 Things They Don’t Tell You About Capitalism.
- Kabir Sehgal. Coined.
- Ha-Joon Change. Economics: The User’s Guide.
- Robert Skidelsky and Edward Skidelsky. How Much is Enough?
- Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels. The Communist Manifesto.
- Eric D. Beinhocker. The Origin of Wealth.
- Karl Pillemer. 30 Lessons for Loving.
- Niall Ferguson. The Ascent of Money.
- Christopher Ryan and Cacilda Jetha. Sex at Dawn.
- Masha Gessen. The Man Without a Face.
- Niccolo Machiavelli. The Prince.
Blinks I’m Currently Reading
- Stephanie Coontz. Marriage, a History.
- Abhijit V. Banerjee and Esther Duflo. Poor Economics.
- Ha-Joon Chang. Kicking Away the Ladder.
- Todd Kashdan and Robert Biswas-Diener. The Upside of Your Dark Side.
- Karen Piper. The Price of Thirst.
- Jeffrey A. Leberman, Ogi Ogas. Shrinks.
- Steven Pinker. The Better Angels of Our Nature.
- Adam Braun. The Promise of a Pencil.
- Seth Godin. Tribes.
- Lawrence Lessig. Free Culture.
Blinks I Am Most Eager to Read
- Tom Rath. StrengthsFinder 2.0.
- David Richo. Daring to Trust.
- Oliver Sacks. The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat and Other Clinical Tales.
- Doris Kearns Goodwin. Team of Rivals.
- Mark Goulston. Talking to Crazy.
- Donella H. Meadows. Thinking in Systems.
- Dr. Richard Bandler, Alessio Roberti and… The Ultimate Introduction to NLP.
- Noam Chomsky. Failed States.
- Jeremy Rifkin. The Zero Marginal Cost Society.
- Ori Brafman. Sway.
- Walter Mischel. The Marshmallow Test.
- Helen Fisher. Why We Love.
- Robert Karen. Becoming Attached.
- Brene Brown. Rising Strong.
- Thomas Lewis, Fari Amini and Richard Lannon. A General Theory of Love.
- Ray Kurzweil. The Singularity Is Near.
- Josh Kaufman. The Personal MBA.
- Richard Koch. Living the 80/20 Way.
- Brian Tracy. Eat That Frog!
- Donna Jackson Nakazawa. Childhood Disrupted.
- Laura Putnam. Workplace Wellness That Works.
- Patrick M. Lencioni. The Advantage.
- Ron Friedman. The Best Place to Work.
- Daniel Goleman. Emotional Intelligence.
- Dr. Frank Luntz. Words That Work.
I Make Money
I try to write only was is worth reading and to only recommend products I believe in,still I figure you deserve to know that I will get paid if you sign up for Blinkist through one of the links on this page.