We all know people who are doing the most despite being in lockdown, whether it be recreating Mario Kart using treadmills, eagerly learning a new language, exercising till it hurts, or devouring a library of fictional books (without help from online learning tools like Blinkist). I’m sure some busy-bodies are thriving with all this extra time on their hands, but what about the rest of us who are tired, unmotivated, anxious, or feeling “rained-in” 24/7?
If you identify with the latter, don’t worry, you’re not alone! According to various experts, "quarantine fatigue" is real and could stem from any number of factors. We are all experiencing unpredictable and unprecedented changes in our lives, financial difficulties, separation from social experiences, and overstimulation from the sheer volume of (dis)information readily available to us. These are all things that could result in a negative impact on our mood. So for those of you asking yourself “what can I do to feel better?” or “how can I keep myself motivated and on track?” experts suggest that reading might be the answer.
Studies have shown that bibliotherapy (or reading therapy) is linked to a decrease in depression, reading fiction is especially beneficial for increasing social skills, empathy, and interpersonal understandings because it simulates real-life experience, while reading nonfiction has been tied to the validation of personal experience, positive behavioral responses, and the mental wherewithal to recover from trauma. So if there ever was a time to immerse yourself in a simulative experience of a lived reality and promote recovery, it would be now. However, it’s totally valid to feel that reading nonfiction can be brutal. Even if the story itself is interesting, keeping up with all the details isn’t an easy task but it’s a really important one. That’s where Blinkist comes in.
What is Blinkist?
Blinkist is a professional book summary service that allows you to understand the key insights from best-selling non-fiction books via audio or text in 20 minutes or less. To put it plainly, it's the non-fiction, suited-up version of our old friend CliffsNotes.
Blinkist offers over 20 genres (or “categories”) of books all summarized by industry professionals. Each book is broken down into just a couple of paragraphs and is organized by its summaries or insights, which are delightfully referred to as "Blinks." Users can choose to read detailed book summaries by sorting through various themes like parenting, money and finance, motivation or inspiration, biography and memoir, philosophy, religion and spirituality, and so much more. Users can also filter lists by sorting by recently added or most popular titles.
For those browsing the site for a good book, have no fear! For each title, there is a synopsis, a description of the book’s desired audience, and a small note about its author. Downloading book previews for online reading are a thing of the past, and your time can now be better spent on a more-deserving title. For Amazon Kindle users, the Blinkist website offers the option to purchase a book on its system and delivers it directly to your device. Or if you rather catch up on-the-go, the Blinkist app is well-equipped for the challenge. Users can seamlessly switch between audio playback and the text interface, so if you learn better by listening but can't stand audiobooks, Blinkist offers a happy medium by allowing you to read the traditional way without glossing over a detail.
How much does Blinkist cost?
If you’re an avid reader year-round, the best way to enjoy Blinkist is through its premium subscription. The service offers two premium subscriptions, monthly and yearly. The only difference between the two plans is the price. A monthly subscription costs $15.99 per month and is automatically renewed at the beginning of each month, while a yearly subscription costs $99.99 per year (which comes out to $8.34 per month) and is automatically renewed at the beginning of each new year. Upgrading to a Blinkist premium plan awards you unlimited access to any title, audio for every title, access to an offline library (so you can listen without WiFi or data), text editing, Evernote syncing, and Kindle access. And if you’re on the fence about signing up, Blinkist offers a week-long free trial.
But if these perks are more than you think you want, the basic subscription is nothing to scoff at. I call it the “Adventurers’ Plan.” Users unlock one summary per day, with the ability to choose between a handful of pre-selected titles, for free!
Benefits of using the Blinkist app
Other than becoming the smartest person in quarantine, you’ll be saving yourself a bunch of money. With access to over 3,000 titles for as little at $8.34 per month, Blinkist is basically giving you professional knowledge of any topic at hand.
So if you’re a self-help hoarder like me, you’ve just stumbled across a veritable treasure trove of wellness that you’ll actually get to read! Let's face it, everyone wants to read non-fiction, but not many people can. It takes a lot of willpower to flip yet another page of So-and-So’s uphill battle with body-image or self-talk. With Blinkist, you won’t get the hundreds of pages of fluff or unrelated personal anecdotes. You’ll get the hard-hitting points, tips, and tricks that actually get these characters to their finish lines. You know, the stuff other people inefficiently waste their time searching for. If you're in the business of saving money, and time, and learning something at the end of it all, there's no reason you shouldn’t sign up for Blinkist now.
In the end, it does all come down to personal preference and what you want to gain from your subscription. In my opinion, the site is beautifully crafted, titles are expertly picked and summarized, and the subscription plans are affordable. However, if you genuinely prefer the feel of a book in your hand, or you actually do want an author’s personal anecdotes and fluff, then this service isn't for you. It also warrants mentioning that Blinklist will not magically make you a better person, more motivated, or an expert in any field. If you plan on paying for a subscription with the hopes of achieving any of those things, please don’t! While this site is a definite step in the right direction, no self-help book, or summary on the stock market, will change you in 20 minutes. Only you can change you!
All in all, I’m happy to have discovered Blinkist in the era of coronavirus. While I might not be body-building anytime soon, it's comforting to know that in such a short time I can equip myself with some power tools to conquer my day and even just make my bed.
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