A little over a year ago I shared my shortcut of using Blinkist to read book summaries in about 20 minutes versus the hours it takes to read a full book. There are advantages both ways, but I’m finding that Blinkist helps meet the Pareto Principle — I’m getting 80% of the value of the book in just 20% of the time.
It’s the point now where I’ve decided that pretty much every non-fiction book that I want to read will done via Blinkist, rather than taking the time to read the full book. I’ll miss some context from the book, for sure, but it allows me to read at least five times as many books.
This doesn’t work for fiction books, though. For example, I read Mark Richt’s excellent “Make the Call” last year, and a summary of the book just wouldn’t work. I wanted to hear his stories, not a summary of what stories he told in the book.
I’ll still perhaps read a short summary or review of a non-fiction book to make sure it’s worth my time, but those still ultimately require a full read.
There’s also the case of new non-fiction books from authors that I love, such as Malcolm Gladwell, Seth Godin, and Adam Grant. If any of them release a new book, it’s very likely that I’ll read it cover-to-cover.
This can still happen with my Blinkist books, too. If I finish “blinking” a book and really feel like I want more, there’s no reason I can’t go back and read the full book. However, I find that in most cases I’m able to extract almost all of the value from the book in a fraction of the time, so why not just do more of that?
Reading versus studying (or reading for work versus pleasure)
For most of the books in front of me, the reason why I want to read it is the key. If it’s a book for work/study, then hacks like Blinkist are fantastic — I simply want to extract information from it, so efficiency is key. If it’s a book that I want to read for pleasure, then taking my time and enjoying the full work makes a lot more sense.
My plans on this will still likely flex a bit as time goes on, but right now I’m really enjoying this setup. I’ll again point you back to my older post about Blinkist if you want see more about exactly what I do, and I’d love to hear your thoughts on how you most efficiently work through business books.