It’s perhaps a bit over-the-top to describe an app as “life changing.” But in this Blinkist review, I discuss one that certainly has the potential to be life enhancing.
I love reading, but I also have way less time to do it than I’d like. I suspect many people reading this have the same issue.
That’s where Blinkist comes in. So let’s start with the real basics:
What is Blinkist?
Blinkist is an app that condenses non-fiction books into short, digestible sections known as “blinks.” It allows you to read or listen to the key messages from a book in a very short time – typically just 10-15 minutes.
Unsurprisingly, plenty of people don’t like the idea of this concept. There’s an argument that grazing on books in this way devalues the work authors put into creating them.
I’m not here to participate in that debate. To me, Blinkist solves a very real problem: too many books and not enough time.
When I found out about Blinkist it felt like the answer to my prayers: a way to consume way more information than I would otherwise have time to.
What Kind of Books Are On Blinkist?
Blinkist focuses on non-fiction books, covering everything from careers and entrepreneurship to science, history and tech. There are also lots of “self help” style books on the platform – the ones that you’d typically find in the “mind, body and spirit” section.
I’m a big fan of these books, but rarely follow their advice to the letter. Instead, I always feel that if a book delivers a few valuable insights and “knowledge bombs,” then the time reading them was time well spent.
But let’s be real for a moment:
Sometimes self-help books spend a long time labouring their key point. It’s very common to see reviews stating that certain books could really have been condensed into a pamphlet. In the time I’ve spend trying out this app and working on my Blinkist review, I’ve come across a fair few that fit into that category!
But – in the interests of balance – I’ve also consumed the “blinks” from some books that have left me feeling keen to buy and read them in full.
For this reason alone, Blinkist is a fantastic app for me, and one I’ve already privately recommended to a lot of people.
How Many Books Are on Blinkist?
There are over 3000 books condensed into “blinks” on Blinkist, with the library growing by over 30 new titles monthly. The majority of the books are available in both audio and text format.
Blinkist Pricing: How Much Does Blinkist Cost?
Blinkist is available as both a free and a premium service. There’s also a seven day free trial of the premium service, that you can grab here.
If you choose the free option, you gain access to just one pre-selected “free daily read,” so it doesn’t really give you the full Blinkist experience. I started out with the free premium trial, and after just a couple of days I was convinced that I wanted a full subscription.
Blinkist Premium costs £4.99 per month IF you pay for a year at a time. A monthly-paid subscription is £9.99 per month. I’m giving you Sterling prices as I’m in the UK, but if you subscribe elsewhere you’ll pay an equivalent in Dollars or Euros.
Since the trial comes with no commitment, I’d encourage everybody to give it a go – you can always cancel if you don’t think you’ll make use of a full subscription.
Blinkist Review: How Does Blinkist Work?
When you open the Blinkist app, you arrive at a home screen where you can browse through the various titles.
Alternatively, you can delve into specific categories or “learning paths,” where complementary books on specific subjects have been curated together. Examples include:
- Mastering your Money (includes books like The Barefoot Investor and From Here to Financial Happiness).
- Better Goal Setting (includes books like Mind Gym and Measure What Matters).
- 5 Days to a Better Work-Life Blend (includes Making it All Work and Personal Kanban).
- 10 Days to Changing your Career (includes The New Rules of Work and The Proximity Principle).
- 14 Days to Supercharged Productivity (includes Eat That Frog, and Marie Kondo’s Joy At Work).
These learning paths are there for those with specific goals, but there’s absolutely no requirement to stick to them. I personally prefer to select individual titles myself.
As you do so, the “Blinks for You” section begins to suggest titles the system thinks you will like based on the previous blinks you’ve consumed.
All you need to do is tap on a “Blink,” and you have the choice of either reading or listening to the summaries of that book.
The best part is that you can flick between the two. As such you can, for example, begin to consume a book by reading the blinks in bed, and then listen to the rest in audio form when you take a walk the next day. This, for me, is one of the killer features to highlight in this Blinkist review, as being able to switch between the mediums means you can dig in whenever you have the time.
(It’s worth noting that you can do something similar with Kindle and Audible, but we will need WAY more advanced tech before you could do the same with a paper book!)
Other Blinkist Features and Content
Blinkist is a pretty simple app, but there are some extras tucked away when you delve below the surface:
One particular thing I like, which is also possible with Kindle books, is the ability to highlight and save sections when you’re reading blinks. These are all collated for you in one place, allowing you to create your own personal database of all the wisdom that’s resonated with you as you consume content on Blinkist.
The one thing I wish could be added here would be the ability to do the same while you’re listening to blinks, but obviously this would be much more complicated to implement. I often find myself out walking and hear a “knowledge bomb” that I’d love to retain and remember, but obviously it’s not practical to stop, switch to the text version, and do the highlighting.
Unfortunately this means that your bookmark library ends up consisting only of things you’ve read and not those you heard.
Smart Speaker Support
I used to work in the digital privacy and security field. As such, there’s no way Alexa is coming into my home! However, if you have a smart speaker like an Amazon Echo or a Sonos, Blinkist comes with support for these speakers.
Blinkist doesn’t only offer “blinks” of real-life books. There are also short podcasts (imaginatively named “shortcasts!”) on various topics. As with the blinks, they’re laid out in subject categories, and Blinkist also recommends episodes to you based on your reading history and preferences.
Full Length Audiobooks
There’s a library of full length audiobooks available for purchase via the Blinkist platform. These are available at a reduced price if you have a paid Blinkist subscription.
This could be of interest as an alternative to an Audible subscription. In some cases, the Blinkist prices seem to be cheaper. (While we’re talking about Audible, if you use this link you can trial Audible with your first audio book free).
Reading Blinks on Blinkist
While I’ve been completing this Blinkist review I’ve both read and listened to many different books in their “Blink” form.
The reading interface is basic, but does everything it needs to do.
- Adjust text size – very useful for somebody like me whose eyes are getting worse with age.
- Access a chapter list and skip to specific blinks.
- Access a share menu with all the usual messaging and social media options.
- Highlight text to save it – this is accessed by pressing and holding, which wasn’t especially obvious to me to begin with.
Listening to Blinks on Blinkist
The audio quality on Blinkist is great. With lots of different narrators, you’ll inevitably enjoy certain voices more than others, but none have caused me to switch off – yet!
The interface for playing blinks is simple, but there are some handy features there, such as:
- The ability to skip forwards or backwards by 15 seconds: This comes in handy more than you might think, especially if you realise that your concentration has slipped.
- Playback speed adjustment: I find it’s easy enough to keep up at 1.25x speed, but any faster a bit much, unless you want to pretend your narrator is a cartoon character. The slow speeds do nothing for me, beyond simulating the feeling of being stoned.
- Sleep timer: As somebody who often falls asleep to audiobooks, the range of sleep timer options is invaluable. These include set times from five minutes to an hour, or to the end of the next blink, or set of blinks.
- Blink queue: You can can also “pre-cue” the next books you want to consume, creating yourself an on-the-fly playlist.
Examples of Blinks on Blinkist
If you’re thinking of giving Blinkist a try (free trial here), you’re probably keen to find out what kind of titles are on offer.
Here’s a short list of examples, both of well-known tomes you may not have read yet, and a few I’ve enjoyed and learned from:
The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People – The self help / business classic that I’d somehow never read despite dozens of recommendations.
The Lazy Genius Way – Definitely one of those books that delivered some great nuggets of knowledge. It’s ironic that I picked up that knowledge in a “lazy” way, and didn’t read the whole book!
The Power of Habit – This is one I’ve previously read in full and recommended many times. I credit this book for several positive life changes I’ve made, so it’s great to see it on Blinkist.
The 4-Hour Work Week – Another one that’s had an impact on my life and a MUST read for anybody with an entrepreneurial spirit.
A Brief History of Time – Want to hear (or “read”) Stephen Hawking’s magnum opus in just 21 minutes? Get Blinkist!
Factfulness – I LOVED this book when I read it in early 2020. It made me much more positive and less fearful of the world. Ironically, the one thing it said we should worry about is a global pandemic and – well – we all know what happened shortly after I read it…
(I should also point out that the illustrated edition of this book is a thing of beauty and highly recommended. Maybe have a listen on Blinkist and buy the paper copy if it intrigues you).
How to Win Friends and Influence People – I’ve yet to dig into this one (and only noticed it whilst researching my review of Blinkist), but it’s been around since the 1930s, so I shall have to give it a go soon.
Blinkist Review: Conclusion.
As you can probably tell, I’m really taken with Blinkist.
I LOVE the fact that I can learn the key points from three different books while on an evening walk. It’s the stuff of dreams for those of us who love books but never have the time to read enough of them.
I find nothing major to criticise about this platform, and with pricing that only equates to a handful of books each year, it’s not a big investment either.
I highly recommend grabbing a trial and seeing what you think.
Blinkist: A MUST For Avid Readers