“So many books, so little time.” — Frank Zappa
Ever since humans learned to read and write, everything changed.
We could pass on information and wisdom to the next generations and that’s the reason for our dramatic growth.
We all know the importance of books. Yet, not all of us are able to read books as often as we’d like to. Here are a few reasons for that:
- Lack of time and energy
- Shortening of attention span (due to technology and social media)
- The confusion of which book to read next
So we either turn to book summaries or we don’t read at all.
But there’s a problem…
When you read a book summary, you hear voices like:
“Reading summaries of books does NOT replace reading books.”
“Book summaries are NOT enough!”
Should You Read Book Summaries?
The short answer is yes.
Of course, book summary websites, apps or videos don’t replace books. But that doesn’t mean they don’t provide value.
In fact, they provide more value than you could ever get from the passive consumption of social media.
Instead of choosing between reading book summaries or reading books, why not do both?
I’ve read book summaries of so many books that I will never touch in my life and I still read the books I want to read.
The best part?
I’ve already done the hard work for you and compiled a list of websites with book summaries to read the best nonfiction book summaries (in English) along with the summarizer’s best or favorite book summary to start with.
Let’s dive in.
The Best Websites To Read Book Summaries (Free & Paid)
Best Book Summary Websites Or Blogs (Free)
James is a famous blogger in the self-improvement niche and shares his “informal” notes which are a combination of quotes from the books and his own insights.
Derek shares his insights or highlights from the books he reads so he can reflect on them later.
Nat’s notes are crisp, to-the-point, written in short sentences. Once you start reading, you will keep scrolling for more.
Arthur’s blog is a goldmine for lifelong learners. He summarizes books in no-nonsense lists, bullet points, subheadings and easy to follow sentences.
Dean summarizes books in great depth over at his blog. The best part is that he also provides audio and video summaries, so you can learn from the method you like best.
If you’re looking for a giant library of book synopsis, look no further than Nik’s collection. He further summarizes books from the Blinklist app with 3 big lessons and his own personal takeaway.
Sam provides five big ideas for each book and then continues writing a longer book summary by chapter.
Speaking of organizing, Paul’s book summaries make such good reads. You can scan, read or skip as you scroll down because they are written keeping the reader in mind.
Alex writes slick book notes that you can visit anytime you want to read or re-read the gist of books he has summarized.
I have no idea why not many people know about this beast resource. 12min blog is filled with exceptional business book summaries you will love.
Actionable books is an incredible website that summarizes books and provides an amazing reading experience.
Nils’ and Jonas’ summaries are remarkable. They break down the books in sub-headings and then cover the details so you can read them like you read articles.
The book summaries on The Power Moves are not only impressive, but they also have sections for “pros”, “cons” and “review”, which is a great addition to traditional book summaries.
Latish shares the same passion for reading and sharing his excellent notes with us. He writes 3 sections for each book — summary, notes, and thoughts.
The best thing about Marlo’s well-written book notes is that he reviews books that you may not have even heard of.
Start with: The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up By Marie Kondo (Hardcover | Audiobook)
Michael’s book notes are a yet amazing resource for reading summaries of the books that you may not have heard of. His notes are very organized.
James’s book summaries are mini-books on its own. They are truly outstanding and are covered in great depth.
Ivaylo’s goal is to get more people involved in reading by summarizing big books into easily digestible book bites.
SeeKen has an incredible YouTube channel in the Hindi language, and his blog has tons of good book summaries in English.
Another gem with a great reading experience. I love the simplicity of Basile’s and Ali’s summaries.
Start with: The Subtle Art Of Not Giving A Fuck By Mark Manson (Paperback | Audiobook)
Best Book Summary Apps And Subscription Services
Some famous apps include spark notes or cliff notes. Cliffs notes is mostly for students while sparknotes is for literature and fiction book summaries. But if you’re looking for summaries of nonfiction books, here are the top apps for that:
Blinkist is the first app that comes to mind when we speak of book summaries. It really is a wonderful app and best for listening to the summaries on the go.
Out of all the Blinkist alternatives, Instaread is one of the best I’ve read or listened to. So if you’re big on quality over quantity, it’s the one to pick.
Folks at Readingraphics are doing a brilliant job. They provide audio, PDF and a freaking infographic for each book. Infographics are great since you can revisit them to remember the big ideas from the books.
If book summaries weren’t enough, how about summaries of articles, reports, and videos such as TED talks? You get all of that at Getabstract in addition to the in-depth book summaries.
If you’re looking for a book summaries for self-improvement, it’s got to be Brian’s Philosophers Notes. They are plain epic.
I mentioned the 12min blog above. The best part is that they also have an app where you can listen to the summaries as well.
Dean (whom I mentioned previously as well) also runs a subscription membership site called (flash)books, which is an expansion of his book summaries resource with a subscription model.
SumizeIt is another emerging business book summary app. Their summarize are short, yet valuable. They will come in handy when you have less time to read.
Habitcoach (mobile only)
The app not only provides you with short summaries, but it also lets you turn insights into actions.
How To Read A Book Summary
Here’s a quick rundown of the different ways you can use these book summary websites:
- Read summaries of books to dip your toes before buying them.
- Read them to revisit the best concepts from a book (because repetition is the mother of lifelong learning).
- Read them to hunt for books to read.
- Read them like you read articles.
- Actually apply the lessons you learn from these summaries because learning more is not always the answer.
The last thing you need is a plan for reading the best book summaries. It won’t fit in your schedule by accident. For that, determine your reading frequency, set a trigger, create a focused environment and get reading.
- Reading frequency: 5 book summaries a week
- Trigger: Reminder on my phone
- Environment: Remove distractions (you can use FocusMe, Freedom or Cold Turkey)
- Set a reward (optional)
We live in an information age where we jump from one article to another. That’s no way to accelerate your learning. You need focused time-blocks to read what matters. You can learn more about how I read books or articles by clicking here.
Books are still one of the best sources of learning. Now that you know where to find the best-summarized version of them, it’s your turn to “hack” your way through life one book summary at a time.
What is the summary of a book?
A book summary may include the notes, top highlights, conclusions, and interpretation of the person summarizing the book. It’s always best to refer to the original book for full information, ideas and facts.
Which is the best book summary app?
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