Book Summary Apps – The Bright Side and the Dark Side

If you are a voracious reader or you are someone who’s actively working on forming reading habits, I am certain that you would have come across an ad of some book summary service like Instaread, Mentorbox, Blinkist etc. If you are in India, you might also know the app by Amrut Deshmukh called Booklet which again has summarised version of the books that he has read. 

Now the idea behind these book summary apps is that instead of reading an entire book, one can simply digest its main ideas, in 10-15 minutes. These apps primarily cater to the nonfiction books, especially the self-help books category. And by the same premise, they sell further by painting a vivid picture of one person being able to digest hundreds of books.

I am sure that they would be having a lot of paid subscribers who have found it as an interesting concept and thus signed up for it. I understand their premise – why spend hours into reading a book entirely when you can digest some key ideas from a book summary app in 15 mins & then read 10 more books in half the total time spent.

For those who don’t really wish to invest in their reading habits, then these book summary apps are good substitute. Some amount of reading is thousand times better than no amount of reading at all.

But if you are someone who’s actively working to form long lasting reading habits, then you will be better off by giving these apps a skip.

Reading self-help books is like shopping at a supermarket. When you are in a supermarket you don’t pick every item that’s there. You pick what you need the most, what suits you the most.

Your point of view of reading that book will definitely be different to the person who had made a summary on the book summary app.

What if their interpretation overlooks a portion of the book that could have been important, or even life altering for you?

When you read and invest your time into these self-help books, you’re not just reading for the sake of it. You’re reading to apply. And thus the approach to read the book in small portions and applying it, each day. You will thus pick the best elements out of that self-help book, ones that you found were most applicable.

Instead of trying to read too many books and applying too little from them, pick ones that are most applicable to your current life and future self.

The mindset should be that the book must be deserving enough to be read by you. This will serve as a handy filter into bringing down the shortlisted books to 5-6.

Read them, a little bit each day. Apply them, a little bit each day. And summarize them for yourself each weekend. Repeat the process with the next book and the book after & before you know it, you would have already become what the book promised you to.

If you still wish to use a book summary app, then choose Blinkist. It has a “free daily pick” which has one book summary available to all its users – both paid and unpaid. If a book appeals to you, put it in your wishlist and if sometime later it makes the cut, then the book summary app would have served its purpose.


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