Read a Book in the Blink of an Eye!

I love reading. Sadly, the 24 hours I get per day seems to be inadequate for the tasks I need to accomplish. That might change as my teenagers turn into college kids and then begin to start families of their own. For now, however, between drama class and basketball practice, it seems like it takes about 30 hours to accomplish a 24-hour day. Needless to say, I don't read as many books as I'd like.

Normally I take advantage of commute time to listen to audiobooks. That actually works quite well, and I'm able to read 30–40 books a year. Most of those books are fiction, but still, I'm grateful for audiobooks. Not long ago, I discovered a different sort of audiobook. I honestly have mixed feelings about the concept, but imagine if Cliff Notes and Audiobooks had a baby. That baby might be called "Blinkist".

Blinkist is a company that condenses books into very short summaries. They are available via text (for Kindle and the like), but for me, the professionally narrated audio versions are really what work best. Rather than reading an audiobook over the course of a week, I can "read" a book on the way to the grocery store. I'm shocked to admit, the summaries of entire books are surprisingly useful. For many books, the summary from Blinkist is enough. For some, the "blinks" make me want to read the entire book. That means although it's not a 100% replacement for reading, it adds value (and knowledge) to my life.

There is a three-day free trial that allows you to read as many books as you like. I urge you to give it a try. After the three days, you can either default to the free account, which allows you to listen (or read) one pre-chosen free book a day, or opt for a paid subscription. For text-only "blinks", it's $50/year. For unlimited text and audio "blinks", it's $80/year. Thankfully, three days is a enough time to figure out if it's something you find worth buying.

Blinkist is a cool way to fit more information into our over-busy lives and it's a handy mobile app for "blinking" on the go. Check out the free trial You can read a surprising number of books in three free days!

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Shawn Powers is a Linux Journal Associate Editor. You might find him on IRC, Twitter, or training IT pros at CBT Nuggets.