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Can you really read a book in 15 minutes? We put Blinkist to the test

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© Screenshot / nextpit

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I am practically addicted to information that constantly broadens my horizon. I regularly have up to three books lying around which I read all at the same time. Whether in bed, on the couch or in the quiet little place - I cannot commit myself to one book. Especially with non-fiction books on a wide range of topics, whether it is for professional reasons for self-optimization or industry knowledge or out of private interest for personal development - there is far too much literature that I would like to absorb in the blink of an eye. The App Blinkist wants to help me to do just that. The app for iOS and Android offers numerous current and classic non-fiction books, which can't be read with a blink of an eye, but within about 15 minutes. I thought I'd give it a go.

More than 3,000 titles from 27 categories such as psychology, marketing, profession & career, mindfulness, sex, and love have been prepared by the founders of Blinkist into 15-minute reading adventures. Every title that is either read or played as audio via the app should convey the core messages of the book. The core statements of a book are called "Blinks". I have tested the app to find out how valuable the core information in Blinkist really is by reading a book I have read in the past.

I must admit that I was very skeptical about the Blinkist app. I am a bookworm and I relax when I read. I enjoy the journey to new insights and it is very important to me to understand and internalize the way to the core message of a book. At first, I thought that I would definitely miss this with the app. At the same time, there are books in my life that I can't go through fast enough, sometimes even skip uninteresting chapters in order to get to the core thesis quickly. Blinkist is for me, so to speak, an app with two sides, because the pleasure of reading, of fading out the environment around you, is missing.

Instead, one quickly acquires theses, absorbs knowledge, and if necessary, you can still purchase the book in its full version if you want to later. With these thoughts in mind, I installed the app and took out a seven-day trial.

How much does Blinkist cost?

The design of the app is very appealing and reminds me of apps like Kindle or Audible. I find the fact that books are also available as audio versions and are set to music by pleasant female and male voices particularly successful. So the Blinks can be consumed while doing housework or in the car. If you install and use the app for the first time, you have the possibility to take out a 7-day trial subscription. The costs are then as follows:

  • Blinkist Premium 1 month: $4.99
  • Blinkist Premium 1 year: $49.99

I personally find the annual model most attractive. Around four bucks per month is a good investment given the thousands of titles available. The monthly access is worthwhile for those of you who can narrow down quite exactly which titles are interesting in which categories. In four weeks you can consume some Blinks and expand your knowledge.

The app is visually very appealing. You can scroll through the categories and filter popular titles or new titles. I was a bit overwhelmed at first and didn't know where to start. I had the feeling that the knowledge of all mankind was in my hands in an app. This excessive demand has not subsided even after three days and the consumption of four Blinkist books. In spite of the summary, somehow it can never go fast enough. But does this rapid pace and the access to numerous categories and even more books really help?

blinklist app
The Blinkist app is very clearly arranged. / © Screenshot / AndroidPIT

To find out how valuable Blinkist's summaries are, I chose a book that I have read already: How to Stop Worrying and Start Living by Dale Carnegie. The book version of the life guide comprises a proud 416 pages. So it is hardly surprising that the Blinkist version is indicated at 18 minutes of reading or listening time instead of 15 minutes. The self-help classic presents three core ideas using several examples from real life, short introductions to psychology and partial repetitive explanations of the concerns of humanity. The reading experience is very comprehensible in the book, although reading it often tempts one to skip pages and stories.

In the Blinkist app, the themes of the book appear as two summarized case examples from the text. The derivation is somewhat neglected here, the three themes seem somehow immature. After the main solution for problems and worries has been presented, the Blinkist version of the book contains further tips from the author, which are explained broadly in the book, and which are only so conclusive and have the ability to motivate the reader, who is in need of help in life, to make a change.

Statements such as "think positively", "be grateful" or "don't envy others" are not very helpful in everyday life when the spiritual friend comes around the corner with her "hippie tips". However, the Blinkist app shows that there is a lot of substance behind the motifs. Moreover, it is the repetition and the understanding on a spiritual level of these beliefs that make a self-help book really valuable. And here I see a great benefit of the app. My textbooks are full of bookmarks, marked text, and circled passages which I read through again and again to achieve an inner change. Thanks to Blinkist, browsing and remembering these is easy, as the app version of a book summarizes the core topics in optimal language and in a way that is easy for me to understand.

For profound psycho literature, Blinkist is in my opinion only suitable for people who have already read the book and want to refresh the content. Or for people who first want to understand the core messages of a book, for example, to find out whether they can learn something new, and then buy the real book.

The app makes you want more

Of course, Blinkist seduces bookworms like me to read as many books as possible in one go. I wanted to find out how valuable the new knowledge the app could give me was. For this, I chose a book from the career section that I don't know yet: The positive power of doubt - uncertainty as a success factor by Emanuel Koch. It sounds fantastic, doesn't it? Who sometimes does not doubt his abilities and still wants to be successful? According to the Blinkist, the title addresses:

  • Doubters who despair of their doubts
  • Self-confident doers and decision-makers who often get carried away because of their firm convictions
  • All those who are not sure whether they should read these Blinks

The short summary of the book grabbed me immediately and I started to work. According to the time specification, the book should be read within 12 minutes. The information was there, the topic was interesting and understandably prepared. In a very short time, I learned a lot about the origins, benefits, and disadvantages of doubt. Why doubt drives mankind forward but can destroy an individual. In the end, there were tips on how to interpret your doubts correctly and use them as a weapon for great success. The Blinks did what they were supposed to. The core statements of the book were summarized.

My first impulse was to order the book from Amazon and read it in full. Blinkist is therefore enormously suitable for purchase decisions for technical literature and non-fiction. For me, as a bookworm, this also means: I would probably spend even more money on literature in the future and together with the costs for the app this would be irresponsible. But I have the feeling that it is exactly this fact that allows Blinkist to access several books, as both author and publisher definitely benefit from the app with the potential for follow-up sales.

Conclusion: Blinkist advantages and disadvantages

Things I like about Blinklist

  • Large number of titles
  • Regular new publications
  • Clear operation of the app
  • Text and audio available

Things I don't like about Blinklist

  • Slightly overwhelming due to the selection
  • Intensive derivation of themes is missing
  • No markers in the text possible
  • Entices you to buy books
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  • 2
    Lachlan Gatehou Aug 27, 2021 Link to comment

    very interesting!

  • 2
    Den Lopez Oct 20, 2020 Link to comment

    On the contrary, I think this is a great application. This future, the formation is becoming more complicated, the world in which we live has become more complicated and interesting.

  • marco sarli 39
    marco sarli
    • Admin
    Feb 22, 2020 Link to comment

    A writer spends sometimes years to write a book. Reducing it to a pill that can be gulped down and assimilated in instants is an insult to human intelligence. This desire to do everything without effort and without spending time is the premise for a scary world populated by zombies

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