Blinkist Delivers Key Book Insights in 15 Minutes

Have you ever wondered about the habits of successful people? One common trait is they are avid readers. While I can’t afford to spend hours a day reading a whole book, I have found a book summary service that allows me to prioritize my non-fiction reading list.  Each abstract can be read in about 15 minutes and includes actionable advice. The nice part is I can read and sync these text summaries across my  Kindle devices. Sit back while I offer my latest Blinkist review so you can decide if it’s worth it.

I can’t change the number of hours in a day, but I can change my reading and discovery process.  Several years ago, I started using a service called Blinkist Premium. It was one of the few times I could say, “I’m one in a million” because that was the number of subscribers they had. They’ve since grown to over 10 million users. The service tends to lean toward the self-improvement and personal growth crowd.  The library contains popular books from categories ranging from entrepreneurship to philosophy.

Blinkist Summaries

The phrase “book summaries” upsets some critics. They claim that these shortened versions omit key points. These are the same folks who like to tell the Woody Allen joke about speed reading.

I took a speed-reading course and read War and Peace in twenty minutes. It involves Russia.

Actually, the above joke references an important point. Blinkist doesn’t include fiction books, so you’ll miss out on some great books. Fiction writing is constructed differently with subplots, twists, and dialog. As such, those summaries would need more pages and analysis. A typical Blinkist summary might be 10 pages.

Although these abstracts are short, I think the critics overlooked some key value points. From my perspective, these summaries offer other benefits.

  • They set my expectations by telling me what I’ll learn.
  • They provide enough of a synopsis for me to determine if the full book is worth reading.
  • They offer key points as text and audio.
  • They provide a way for me to review what I learned.
  • They suggest related books I might like to read.
  • The Blinkist app works on the web and mobile devices.

Discovering Blinkist Book List

At the time of this review, Blinkist offers over 3000 non-fiction books, including business books, self-help books, and classics. The service is adding about 40 new reviews each month. There are several ways to find books.

You can search by book title or author. Below I entered the book name. As I type, the entries start to appear.

You can click the title to see more information. The page includes 4 useful sections:

  1. Title
  2. Buttons to Read now or Send to Kindle.
  3. Links to the target audience and author info
  4. Book synopsis
Blinkist book page with info.
Book Listing page for Willpower

From this page, I can get a pretty good idea if the book is one I want to read. While some people may jump in and immediately click the Read now button, I glance at the Who is it for. If I don’t fall into one of the defined groups, I move on to a different book.

The system also allows you to drill into many predefined categories using the Discover link at the top.

Blinkist category selections.
Blinkist book categories

I find these two methods cover most of my needs. However, if you’re into lists, you can go to the footer section and choose from some curated book lists such as Top business or Top motivational books.

Setting Expectations and What’s In it For Me?

Let’s face it; there is no shortage of books that could benefit us. The question is quickly determining if the book has value now. That’s why I like to have a goal in mind when I read non-fiction books.

After you click the Read button to open a book, Blinkist helps answer that question. Some of the material is the same as the initial panel, but there are differences.

  1. The blink title answers the question, “What’s in it for me?”
  2. Provides more details about the book
  3. Offers several questions about what you’ll learn
  4. Provides an audio version of the current page.
Blink example.
Blink 1: What’s in it for me

This is enough information to let me know if I want to continue. Even though I can read a Blinkist summary in 15 minutes, I still want to make sure it’s one that will help me. The ending questions also condition my mind to start looking for the answers once I start reading. This process is similar to what Mortimer Adler called “inspectional reading.”

One item that appealed to me about Blinkist is the summary structure because it works well across all platforms. Each summary contains a series of “blinks.” You might think of a “blink” as 1 page dedicated to an essential insight or “big idea.” On average, each book has about eight blinks and a final summary with actionable advice. Some books, like Abundance,  had fifteen.

Regardless of the device, you’re using, it’s easy to read and is free of images. The fonts are clean, and you can adjust the size as needed. You’ll also see that I can highlight text with my mouse or finger in the example below.

highlighted Blink.
Individual Blink with highlighting

The service nicely condenses the titles of these pages onto an “Insights” page. This structure is ideal if you’re on a mobile device. At a glance, you can see the key points and tap to see the full page. I find this page very useful when reviewing books, kind of like my method of spaced repetition.

The Insights page includes:

  1. The title from each page or blink
  2. Green items show unread items
  3. Menu control to get to other sections.
Blinkist insights
Insights page and progress

Another feature of the service is you can highlight items within a Blink. I find this another useful tool for reviewing. I prefer reviewing from the Blinkist mobile app because each note fills the phone’s width. On the desktop, I get staggered notes that can be two columns wide based on my selection.

book highlights on phone.
Book highlights on Android phone

If you’re a Blinkist Premium member, you can link your account with Evernote. As I highlight something in a blink, it goes over to Evernote. Evernote assigns it the proper notebook and tags.

Blinkist highlighted item in Evennote.
Blinkist highlight that appears in Evernote

Blinkist Cost

As you probably noticed in the screen snap above, I’m a Premium member. I started with a trial and then upgraded. And yes, I did try the Free plan for a bit, but it didn’t work with my reading process. However, I prefer to select which book to read.

It’s a great plan if you want to get exposure to different areas, but I’m still focused on my time. I prefer to pay and be able to choose my books.

The Premium plan also adds an audio version of the book. For complex books or ones I really want to grasp, I will listen and read. The audio is also useful when your eyes are tired. The Blinkist app allows you to play the audio from 0.5x to 2.0x speeds.

The Evernote integration is great as I can leverage my highlights. I also find it easier to read my highlights in Evernote if I’m working on my desktop.

Blinkist pricing table in US dollars
Blinkist Premium pricing

I have noticed various specials throughout the year for first-time buyers. 

Blinkist Alternatives

As with most services, there are competitors. One service that started in the print format is SoundView Executive summaries. The service concentrates on business books and produces about 30 new summaries per year. You can purchase a yearly subscription, which can work with your phone. You can buy individual summaries.

There are also some book summaries you can purchase on Amazon. I’ve had mixed luck with these. I’ve mostly used them when I couldn’t find my book in Blinkist. Before buying one of these, you might to check the reviews section of my Amazon Shopping Tips article.

Service Summary

If you find yourself falling behind on your reading and can spend 15 minutes a day, you’ll cherish Blinkist. You can take advantage of your commute times, scheduled breaks, or downtime to quickly catch up on a book either from the web or on your smartphone. The format makes it easy to gather the book’s salient points and decide if you want to purchase the entire book. The Insights page and highlighting features also make it easy to revisit these books and reinforce the points.

Cost: Ranges from Free to about $16 monthly for Premium. Lower if purchased annually.


  • Large and rapidly growing book catalog
  • The premium plan includes audio summaries with variable playback speeds
  • Cross-Platform (Web, iOS & Android)
  • You can vote for books to review
  • Share highlights via social media or email
  • 7-Day trial


  • Pricing is on an annual or quarterly basis
  • Desktop highlights change layouts based on whether you select “book” or “date”
  • The new book layout requires you to click to see “Who is it for” and “About the author” info
  • The Buy book button and category tags no longer show on the book page.
Ease of Use5

Service URL: Blinkist

  • The link above is an affiliate link, and I will receive a small commission if you choose to sign up for the service. You may also go directly to the site at

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