REVIEW || Blinkist - Big Ideas in Small Packages
It was only a matter of time before something like Blinkist came along.
You may have noticed their enthusiastic social media campaigning hitting your news feed. A digital platform that offers 1,500+ book titles, each able to be read or listen to within a measly 15 minutes, Blinkist is designed to bring you quickly up to speed with core concepts from a wide range of literature without having to turn a single page.
The audio book concept isn’t new, but Blinkist is doing something entirely different with it. Each title is divided up into ‘Blinks’, capturing the key messages of the book in bite-sized, consecutively-played audio files that aim to leave the listener with a quality understanding of the book - enough detail to get you through a conversation as if you had read it page for page. A written summary of each title is also provided, simply the written text of what is spoken in the audio.
The application is not designed as a story-teller - all titles are non-fiction, advice-driven books ranging through a variety of categories such as Entrepreneurship & Small Business, Science, Personal Growth & Self-Improvement, Corporate Culture, Money & Investments and Relationships & Parenting, just to name a few. Blinkist’s goal is to make new learning available to everyone, particularly so those who are time-poor can continue to keep up with changes in their occupational industry.
If you can ignore the obvious debate of whether or not we should allow ourselves to be lured away from a good old-fashioned book in the midst of the digital age, Blinkist is quite a positive idea towards using ones’ time efficiently and effectively. Their users are one million strong, and growing fast.
- The written summary of each title can be exported to your Kindle, which is (almost) a nice nod to the book’s original form.
- You have the capacity to ‘highlight’ ideas you connect with, and store them for future reference.
- There’s a strong search functionality as well as a handy predictive element that brings you suggested titles based on what you’ve already listened to.
- Thankfully, there is a free option. It’s very limited (one pre-selected title per day, and no access to the other app features), but better than nothing.
- If you’re a book lover, and particularly if you’ve read any of the books that Blinkist has diluted in to ‘blinks’, you might find this whole idea rather tough to swallow. It is, of course, a deliberate simplification of some intricate ideas that authors have gone to great lengths to carefully articulate in their literature.
- Despite trying with several different WiFi connections, and having no connectivity issues otherwise, Blinkist seemed to consistently drop out on me as I listened. Not so much an issue if you intend to stick to reading the summaries, but annoying all the same.
- On a personal note, I found the voices reading the ‘blinks’ difficult to listen to. This may be unique to me - as an Australian, perhaps it’s more difficult to listen to a thick American accent for long periods of time, but aside from that there was a sense of cheesiness, and the strong impression that the speaker was at best feigning interest in the content they were reading. Not a huge issue, but once you notice it, you can’t un-notice it! Again, if you’re happy to stick with the summaries - or if you don’t mind the odd cringeworthy vocal inclination - it’s not a big deal.
The Break Down
- Start with a free 3-day trial, during which you can listen to as many titles as you like, as well as make use of the Library and Highlights functions.
- You can then sign up to the very limited Free version, or one of their paid packages - $49.99 or $79.99 per year, both of which include a 30 day money back guarantee. The price, in fact, is quite reasonable considering the extent of content that’s been collated.
- If you’d like to give it a go, here are our favourites titles on offer to start you off:
How to Win Friends & Influence People (Dale Carnegie)
Rich Dad, Poor Dad (Robert Kiyosaki)
Changing the Subject (Sven Birkerts)
The Untethered Soul (Michael A. Singer)