Books or Blinkist? Rise of the summary apps

As a kid, when smartphones were yet to hit the headlines, my life primarily comprised of School, Television and playground. Twilights used to so incomplete without ‘small wonder’. In An episode she (The Robot) would simply flip a book that is over couple of inches thick and claim ‘Done Reading.’ I had my jaw on the floor and made me wonder if that’s even remotely possible.

The idea of consuming books with the least feasible human effort has always been on our minds. Reading with commitment and discipline is a mammoth task. Humanity is facing lightning fast changes, People are busy like there’s no tomorrow and the art of reading is dying. With the emerge of apps like blinkist, headway or Mentorbox, burning through 7 books a week seems pretty much a doable task. These apps are particularly used by people who wanna be as occupied as they are but also prefer, a dignity that they still read.

So What do these mobile applications do?

They summarise the novel by weeding out unwanted examples, case studies etc, to present the book in bullet points that can be examined in about 15 mins.

You can also hear the summary like an audio book.

The way I see it, blinkist strip the book to it’s bare metal framework beyond which it cannot be stripped.

I recently finished Elon Musk by Ashlee Vans (the Book) and tried the blinkist version, so as to compare. A complete disaster !

It’s better to avoid Biographical genre on blinkist and Fiction, if any.

All the summary could say was ’Elon is a visionary, he had a tough childhood, his personal life is a turmoil, Tesla and spaceX is cool. That’s something everybody know.

Then I went for ’Influence’ by Robert Cialdini. This time blinkist did a reasonable job. For starters, I read the book 3 years ago and happen to remember not much about the content. Though, Most of it came back when I finished the audiobook.

Next was ’Talking to Strangers’ by Malcolm Gladwell. It was a random select from the archives of blinkist. Never heard of it before and never read it. Sweet and simple message it had.

On one hand I feel bad for the uphill struggle of a writer to pen down a novel and on the other hand I don’t wanna diss an innovative idea.

So here’s the middle ground.

Blinkist as a teaser: It can used to sneakpeak the book you are planning to buy. Since they publish excerpt of non fiction/ management/ self help books only, there no breach of suspense.

Blinkist to commemorate: Human beings forget. Reading a book twice could be really exhausting. Blinkist might help.

Blinkist for prestige: Since the crux and elements of the book remain in the summary, these can be quoted in various individual work and conversations, which in turn might uplift social significance.

One may switch from music apps to blinkist while jogging. Coz unlike many podcasts they ain’t lengthy and By the time you are home, you have read 2 books already.