Are you busy and knowledge-hungry as well? We’re in the same boat. Podcasts, Blinkist, and the YouTube app might be the right tools for you. Let me show you how I ended up “reading” a book every day in the last couple of months.
|Spoiler alert: this is a teaser article of an upcoming piece where I will share one year with Blinkist.|
I don’t like to read. There, I said it. Yes, I know that it’s a huge problem. Especially, since I truly believe in self-education.
It is a scientific fact that reading both fiction and nonfiction has numerous benefits. Spending time with books can reduce your stress level, expand your vocabulary, improve your concentration and analytical skills, and increase your knowledge in countless areas.
But how can I do it if I find it hard to focus for a long time on some piece of paper?
To overcome this problem, at first I decided to try audiobooks. Using tools like Audible.com seemed like a good solution, but I have two problems with listening to the unabridged version of the books that I’m interested in:
- A) I also want to read the important parts, and B) I don’t want to spend too much time with a book without knowing if it is actually useful for me.
Luckily I’ve found a tool that could solve both problems.
It is called Blinkist, and it is a beautifully designed app that provides written and audio summaries of nonfiction books. It has the short versions of more than a 1,000 titles about economics, psychology, productivity, and other topics that you can read or listen to after downloading it from Google Play or iTunes.
The audio summaries, or “blinks,” are 15 minutes long. They are created by editors and not an algorithm and are generally well-written.
Pro tip: You can listen to them on faster speed.
One downside is that I like to listen to audio at twice the speed, and Blinkist can only do one and half times the speed. Still, with this application, I can “finish” a book in less than 30 minutes, which is great! I listen to the summary for 10 minutes and write down what is important. Then I get the e-book and search for those parts and read them.
Of course, using Blinkist is not the same as reading or listening to a full book, but it provides a very time-effective way of understanding the main ideas in a title and learning about new concepts. Actually, I got hooked on it so much that I challenged myself a few months ago to “read” a book with the app every day.
So far I’m doing great. I only missed a few days, but I made up for them on the next day.
Here are some books that I would recommend to you if you’d also like to try out the app:
The technique described in this book is of my favorite productivity methods that can help you to get rid of distractions and focus on what’s really important.
The Lean Startup is one of the most influential books about business and product development. A recommended read for anyone in the tech industry.
In this book, Hungarian psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi outlines his theory that people are happiest when they are in a state of flow — a state of complete absorption with the activity at hand. Listen to this if you’d like to improve your concentration.
Would you like escape your nine-to-five job and achieve great things while working only a few hours every week? In this case, you should also download this one.
Now go ahead and read them, and in two hours you’ll have “read” four books!
Podcasts and YouTube
There are two more things that I recommend you do if you’d like to improve yourself and learn about new things in a time-efficient manner.
I know it sounds old school, but podcasts and YouTube videos still rock! You can listen to them at double speed, and this way you can finish some great episodes while you do your jogging.
I’ve also collected a couple channels and shows that I advise you to check out, if you, like me, are interested in productivity methods, innovative companies, and web marketing:
Tony Robbins is an American motivational speaker and author. He is also one of the top 200 business gurus, according to Harvard Business Press. If you’re looking for strategies that can help to become successful in entrepreneurship, then this is your channel.
If you are more interested in email marketing, content strategies, and new ways of generating leads, then start with this one.
Simon Sinek is a leadership and management expert you should listen to. His first TEDx Talk on “How Great Leaders Inspire Action” is the third-most viewed video on TED.com. Which leads us to…
With more than 2,000 videos of TED talks, this is the channel that you can always navigate to if you’re looking for new ideas or a deeper understanding of topics that you are interested in. And finally:
The Secret is a motivational video that has helped me a lot, and I believe you will find it useful as well.
Get startup advice from Steli Efti, one of Silicon Valley’s most prominent sales hustlers, and Hiten Shah, the co-founder of Quick Sprout.
Here you can find podcasts from Tim Ferris, the author of The 4-Hour Workweek.
And here is a free collection of course lectures and faculty presentations from Stanford University, Stanford, California.
I hope I could show you some new ways to improve yourself and tell you about books that you’ll find beneficial.
Did you find my collections useful? Would you like to see more posts like this on my blog? Let me know!