As I mentioned in a post a few weeks ago, I’ve made an effort this year to read/listen to more finance books and review them. While that may seem simple enough, it means not only finding books that interest me but also finding the time to consume them. That’s why I was interested when I came across the service Blinkist, which serves up non-fiction content — including those related to money, business, and more — in easily-digestible morsels.
So, having explored Blinkist over the past several days, does it have something to offer those interested in finance and beyond? Let’s take a closer look at the service and its concept.
Blinkist: What Is It and Is It Worth It?
What is Blinkist?
Blinkist is a content platform that features short excerpts — or “blinks” — from non-fiction books, podcasts, and more. Members can explore blinks on a number of topics including (germaine to this blog) Money & Investments, Economics, Entrepreneurship, Productivity, Politics, Creativity, and several others. Whether reading on the desktop site or via the Blinkist app, you can also highlight key passages and even share them via social media or sync to Evernote. In short, it’s an easy way to preview books, explore new ideas, or learn a bit about subjects that interest you.
In addition to a Basic plan that offers one pre-selected Free Daily read, Blinkist offers two paid unlimited plan options: premium yearly and premium monthly. Starting with the later, the cost is $15.99 a month. Meanwhile, if you pay for a year upfront, the cost is $99.99 a year (which breaks down to $8.34 a month). Also notable is that you can sign-up for a 7-day free trail, although this will result in a yearly subscription and $99 payment if you fail to cancel before your trial ends. Meanwhile, if you opt for the Premium Monthly, your first payment will be due at the time you sign up.
Now is a good time to mention that I was first introduced to Blinkist and was provided a one-year free trial of the service via an American Express promotion. Through February 28th, 2021, U.S. American Express card members can also sign-up for a free year of Blinkist Premium — although you will need to provide your payment details as the subscription will automatically renew. That said, I found that I was able to go into my account immediately after creating it and deactivate auto-renew by going to “cancel my subscription” while retaining access through the end of my full year.
There are several different types of content and ways to consume it using either the Blinkist website or mobile app. First, while the word “Blink” is used to describe a minute-or-two-long piece of a book, it’s also used for a collection of these excerpts. So, if you view the Blink for I Will Teach You To Be Rich by Ramit Sethi, you’ll find that it’s comprised of seven blinks. Yes, it’s a bit confusing when I write about it, but it makes more sense on the platform itself.
When you select a Blink, you’ll have the option to either read it or listen to it. With the former, you’ll be able to highlight sections and then sync those notes to Evernote or even share them on social media. Additionally, if you prefer to read them on a different device, you can also send them to your Kindle using your Kindle email address — although you’ll need to whitelist Blinkist in order for this to work. Elsewhere, the other main way of consuming Blinks is via audio. If you’ve ever listened to an audiobook before, then that’s essentially what this experience is like.
Speaking of audio, Blinkist also has what they call Shortcasts available for members to listen to. True to Blinkist’s M.O., these short podcasts are around 10 minutes in length. One of the Shortcast selections that caught my eye is So Money with Farnoosh Torabi, which currently has 12 episodes available on Blinkist. While a normal episode of So Money (of which there are more than 1,000) runs between 30 and 45 minutes, these Blinkist versions are between 4 and 10 minutes each.
Going back to Blinks, another smart way to find and consume them is via Collections and Learning Paths. You can think of these as playlists based around certain topics or, in the case of Paths, an outline for bettering yourself over the course of a few days. To me, both of these are great places to start if you’re just exploring Blinkist for the first time.
Buying audiobooks (and how it compares to Audible)
Beyond the Blinks that are included with your membership, Blinkist also offers full-length audiobooks that you can purchase. Additionally, as a Premium member, you’ll also get a discounted price on said audiobooks. In some cases, these discounts amounted to a few dollars while, in other cases, they were half off or more — with the average price seemingly landing around $14.99.
I don’t know about you but, when I think audiobooks, I think Audible. Thus, I decided to compare a couple of titles available for purchase on Blinkist to those on Audible. What I found was actually pretty interesting. In the case of Ron Lieber’s The Opposite of Spoiled, Blinkist listed a non-member price of $20.99 and a member price of $14.99 while the same title is currently $23.95 on Audible. Similarly, Benjamin Graham’s The Intelligent Investor is also $14.95 for Blinkist members compared to $36.99 for non-members and $42.20 on Audible.
Obviously this is a small sampling so I can’t say that Blinkist is cheaper in every instance, but my findings were fairly surprising to me. Then again, I should mention that Audible has a subscription program of its own where, for $14.99 a month, members can earn one credit to download any audiobook regardless of price. So while Blinkist may be better for one-off downloads if you’re already a member, Audible might have an edge if you prefer to consume a full book each month instead.
My experience with Blinkist
As I noted in my intro, I’ve only been using Blinkist for a fairly short amount of time. Yet, right after signing up I came across plenty of Blinks and content to add to my library — which would likely more accurately be called a reading list. And while most of this list is dedicated to matters of money given my profession, a few random other selections have made their way to my library as well.
When it comes to consumption, I definitely prefer the audio option that Blinkist offers. It’s not that I’m against reading… but, if I’m going to do it, I’d much rather read a physical book. Meanwhile, I’ve found listening to Blinks to be a great activity in between podcasts. It’s almost like Blinkist is an audio-only, non-fiction version of Quibi, but in a good way.
Personally, I’ve found that I enjoy using the Blinkist app over the desktop site for one major reason: the ability to adjust playback speed on audio blinks. It’s not as though I’m in such a rush that really need that extra couple of minutes saved but honestly have just grown so accustomed to listening to audiobooks at an enhanced speed that it sounds normal to me now. Thus, I do wish that this simple function was also featured on the desktop site — but at least it exists somewhere.
In terms of the amount of content, while there’s plenty to explore across the numerous topics that interest me, I wouldn’t say the breadth of some of those categories is very large. Still, for each of the five subcategories within Money & Investing, there were between eight and 18 Blinks to be found. I was also pleased to see Blink treatments of books I’ve previously really enjoyed, including Rutger Bregman’s Utopia for Realists.
Ultimately, while I’m sure I could get through the current line-up of Blinks I have earmarked over the course of a couple months if I did one a day, I hope more content will be added that will keep that list growing. Also, to be real, it remains to be seen if Blinkist will become a daily habit or not. As a result, I think the content library will keep me full until my first year is over, but suspect that those with a greater appetite may find themselves wanting more.
Final Thoughts on Blinkist
Despite only using Blinkist for a short time, I have to say that I’ve really enjoyed exploring the platform and its content so far. Not only does it feature snippets from books I’ve personally read and recommend but also includes peeks at those I’ve been meaning to look more into. Plus, with the average length of Blinks amounting to around 15 minutes, there’s really not much of a time investment when it comes to trying out a piece of content.
Speaking of investment, however, the $15.99 a month price tag seems a bit high — especially given the aforementioned comparison to Audible’s $14.95 a month plan. The $99 annual option seems like the better pick to me, although I’d make use of that 7-day free trial before deciding if it’s right for you. Of course, if you are an American Express cardholder, I’d definitely look into the current 1-year free trial offer.
The only big question I have regarding Blinkist now is how often new content comes to the platform. However, clues found within the “Latest Blinks” section would suggest that additions are fairly regular and relevant. For example, one Blink available is for A Promised Land by President Barack Obama, which is his memoir that was released just last month.
With that, whether you’re in search of some daily inspiration, hoping to sample some top business and money tips, or are just a curious person always ready to learn more, I could easily see Blinkist becoming your new best friend. For me, I’ll need to get a bit further into my trial to determine whether I’ll be paying $99 to renew my membership. So, if nothing else, I’d say it’s worth giving Blinkist a shot and seeing if this unique learning platform is right for you.