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More knowledge, less time - 5-10 minute summaries of great books

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Legendary Contributor
Read Millionaire Fastlane
Speedway Pass
May 10, 2015
Islands of Calleja
I don’t know about you, but I don’t have the time to read all the shit people recommend to me.


I mean it gets overwhelming. I have to read all these books, and even worse - posts by @Real Deal Denver .. it gets to be a bit much. So I just wanted to share a couple of really good ‘book summary’ resources. People say ‘you lose some of the nuance in the summaries,’ but there has to be a tradeoff somewhere. I don’t have time to read every book people recommend to me, but sometimes I may be curious. The average book takes over 8 hours total to read.


In those 8 hours you could have breezed through dozens of these summaries, outlining the most important points. In which situation do you think you got better info? Also, if you really like a summary, there’s nothing stopping you from reading the whole book. Look at it as an ‘idea sampler,’ and feel free to dig into ideas you find compelling.

Anyway, here are a couple I use

Productivity Game on YouTube:


Brian Johnson’s Philosopher’s Notes


TED talks


These are great 15 minute summaries. For example, I posted this thread. I went through the entire “Fastlane bookstore” and rather than reading them all, I found their corresponding TED talks

Post your favorite TED / TEDx talk here.

Blinkist - Key takeaways from the world’s best nonfiction books in text and audio

This is a paid service I liked. They have a huge catalog of Personal Development, with audio and text versions of their summaries. Their app was cool. I had them for a year but never resubscribed because I found these free options.


When all else fails you can always just hop on YouTube and type in “_______ book summary” into YouTube go Google’s ‘Videos’ Tabs

Do you guys have any resources?

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George Appiah

Silver Contributor
Read Millionaire Fastlane
Speedway Pass
Aug 16, 2018
Accra, Ghana
Personally, I don't use book summaries.

Usually, I'll have to connect with an author on some level before I touch their (*) books. But when I do, I often binge read all their works. I like to take my time to reason with an author directly to see if I can arrive at the same conclusions they did. Sometimes I even dig into referenced material as I read.

Also, English is not my first language, and I use reading as a proxy for improving my English language proficiency. Because of this, I prefer dead tree books and I often buy two copies at a time: my personal copy full of my markings, notes and doodles... and an extra "clean" copy I lend out to friends. I find grammar books and style guides too boring.

And I get such an emotional high when I finally conquer a fat and difficult book that... I fear summaries may deny me this and spoil this love affair :hilarious:

For these reasons, I also don't do "speed reading."

I'm working on improving my reading speed all the time, but not the sort of "speed reading" that just scans an entire page in 3 seconds and calls it reading. There may be a place and time for that, but not for me and not at this time.

The obvious tradeoff here is that I'm unable to read as many books as I'd love to. My Amazon wishlist is a mile long and getting longer by the day.

I've currently settled on 1-2 books a month, except when I stumble upon a real gem like MJ's books... in which case, my life comes to a screeching halt until I'm through (the wife says I get possessed by books, but that's another post).

But thinking about this now, I can totally see myself using such book summaries as a sort of filter to decide if I should dig further into a book. Even then, I'm wary of judging a book through someone else's lens.

Blinkist - Key takeaways from the world’s best nonfiction books in text and audio

This is a paid service I liked. They have a huge catalog of Personal Development, with audio and text versions of their summaries. Their app was cool. I had them for a year but never resubscribed because I found these free options.
(adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({});


I heard Jason Calacanis rave about this on a recent episode of his This Week in Startups podcast.

I'll take the bite... installing now.


I'm curious what are people's thoughts on the a) legality and b) the ethics of book summaries?

I see a distinction between people summarizing books for private group study and a public book summary service... especially when a whole VC-funded business is built around such a service. And I'm seeing more and more books with verbiage in their copyright page explicitly forbidding such book summaries without permission.

Any thoughts on this?

(*) -- the use of the pronoun they (and its inflected or derivative forms) as a gender-neutral singular pronoun can be quite convenient... but always sounds weird to me anytime I use it. Singular they (Wikipedia)
Last edited:

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