I love non-fiction books, but there’s a problem when it comes to reading them. I can’t read them all. It’s impossible. I either spend all my time reading books or I spend time take action. And since action is what gets things done, I want to devote a lot of my time to it. But, reading is where you get ideas on what action to take. So, that’s where book summaries come in. I find they help you get some key points from the books. They also help you decide if you want to read the entire book or find another book that you would rather spend your free time reading. Following are a few places that offer book summaries that can help you figure out what book you want to read next.
1. Philosophers Notes On Optimize.me
Philosophers Notes are pretty cool. They are short notes on the most popular non-fiction books that include the most important points.
As of now, they seem to have about 485 notes available for access, which means there are about 485 non-fiction books summarized. That’s more than when I was signed up, so it’s obvious they are doing more summaries of books consistently.
Basically they are condensed into:
- 6-page PDFs that contain all the big points from the book with little quotes and notes on the sides
- Or 20 minutes of audio.
I really like how Brian, the guy behind Philosopher’s Notes, summarizes the books. He highlights a point from the book and then talks about it from his own viewpoint and expands on it. And then he repeats that process.
I have no complaints about the notes themselves. I found them really valuable and I was led to read quite a few books because of them.
For years, I had access to Philosopher’s Notes, then one day they changed their platform and stopped giving me access to the notes. I contacted them, but they weren’t very helpful. They told me that they were changing sites and I had to be patient as they transferred everything over, but they never told me why I wasn’t able to access the notes on the new program.
A few months later, I contacted them again and got another unhelpful message from the staff.
I’m assuming I didn’t get access again because they made it into a monthly payment program where you get more than just the Philosopher’s Notes. With their new membership site, you also get access to a community and master classes. It offers the most bang for your buck.
But, I was so disappointed in how they treated me, I never signed up with their new site.
That said, I still think that Philosopher’s notes is a great idea and can help you get in a bunch of insight from a bunch of books without a bunch of time. You can read some free notes here to get a feel for them.
Blinkist is supposed to have summaries of 2500+ books. I don’t know that for sure. I’m not counting.
These summaries are about 15 minutes long and you can read or listen to them.
Before you jump into a book summary, you get an idea about the book, who it’s for, and about the author. This is a huge time saver. You can decide whether or not you want to read the summary or move on to something else instead of wasting your time on something you are not interested in.
You can search through 19 categories, including Science, Economics, Sex & Relationships, Personal growth, Mindfulness, and Parenting.
You do have to join the membership program, which is either a yearly membership or a monthly membership.
With a membership, you are able to get:
- Access to every title
- Access to audio
- Send your notes to kindle
- Highlight ideas that you want to remember
- Sync your highlights with Evernote
I notice that Blinkist has a button where you can buy the book on Amazon. That’s smart on their part.
They also have an app so that you can listen to the titles in the library offline.
However, one reviewer said that there are some bad ‘blinks’. He said that one contained an idea that was just plain wrong! 🤔
And unlike Philosopher’s Notes, you don’t get anything else but the book summaries.
But they do have a magazine section that you can go through without a membership.
You can learn more about Blinkist here.
3. Actionable Books
This is a free site. No membership required.
There are 1154 summaries of books as of this post.
You get a brief overview of the book, a big idea from the book, and two ways that you can integrate the message into your life.
So basically it’s like a really good blog post that helps you understand a key idea from a book and implement it into your life. But, it also helps you get an idea of whether or not you want to read the book.