One of the keys to Charlie Munger's success is the sheer amount of books he reads.
He has mentioned this on multiple occasions, and in my attempt to think rationally like he does I am trying to read as many books as I can.
However, the list of books I want to read is far greater than the amount of time I have to read them, so I really need to make the best use of what reading time I do have.
As a result nothing frustrates me more than to start a book I'm really excited about and over the course of 200+ pages find out the author only really had one or two worthwhile points to make.
That's a lot of time wasted to get what was actually 10-20 pages worth of ideas, and it drives me nuts.
A Better Reading System
I recently tried to solve this problem though, by thinking more like Charlie and trying to create a better system for choosing the books I read (I love good systems).
My goal was to reduce the time I spend reading 'fluff'. I wanted to get to the meat of a book as fast as possible, and maybe even skip time-wasting books entirely.
I realized what I needed was a good filter, and after doing some research I finally found a solution: Blinkist.
Blinkist is a book summary service for non-fiction books. They pull the meat out of a book, leave the fluff behind, and provide a very nice summary that contains just the best and most useful ideas.
Each summary is concise and can be read in 15 minutes or less, and I've found their summaries to be deep instead of just scratching the surface of the book.
This means I get all the meat while avoiding all the fluff.
Blinkist's Tiers of Service
There are three Blinkist pricing tiers:
- One book/day
- Always free
- All summaries
- Offline reading
- Audio summaries
- Kindle support
Blinkist Free is exactly what it sounds like. It's pretty basic, providing a single pre-selected book each day. On the plus side though it is always Free (it's not just a 'trial'), and they let you know in advance what books will be available in the coming week.
Blinkist Plus is what I'm using now. With Plus you can read as many summaries as you like and your library is available for offline reading, such as on an airplane. I use Plus to read the book summaries I'm most interested in when I am ready to read them, which has made all the difference.
Blinkist Premium offers even more features, including audio versions of the summaries and integration with the Kindle platform.
My New Reading System
Now, although the goal of Blinkist is to save you from reading a book by providing just the ideas, sometimes I really do like to read the whole book ... if it's worthwhile.
So I've put my own twist on it and have started to use Blinkist as a filter to decide which books I should actually read.
My system is to:
- Read the summary on Blinkist
- Decide if it's worth reading the whole book
- Either: read the whole book as usual or skip it completely
So far I've found that Blinkist lets me skip 2-3 books out of every 10, which is a massive time savings. Even better I still get the few good nuggets from the books I'm skipping!
Free Blinkist Trial
Overall I'm really impressed with Blinkist.
I've tried other book summary services (most recently getAbstract) and I think Blinkist does a much better job with the summaries, providing a lot more meat than any other service.
I also really like the interface on their website as well as the apps they provide. They are intuitive and using them to read feels natural.
The mobile Blinkist app in particular is pretty slick, which is great since I do a lot of reading on my tablet and phone. I would choose Blinkist vs getAbstract for this reason alone.
Blinkist is free to try, and their basic version is always free, so if you are like me and want to read more books in the same amount of time I recommend you check them out.