Book summaries are akin to a distilled version of an intellectual cocktail. They condense the essential insights from an entire book into a compact format, simplifying information and making it readily consumable.
These summaries are ideal for those swamped with numerous books on their to-read list. Instead of investing six to ten hours in a single book, you can choose to browse through a summary and gather the critical knowledge, prepare for a crucial meeting, or even decide whether the book is worth investing more time in.
The use of book summaries is not limited to one specific group. It is a useful resource for time-crunched entrepreneurs, overwhelmed managers, busy executives, diligent students, and many more.
These summaries allow them to absorb key insights in a fraction of the time it would take to read the entire book. As we delve further into this topic, we will explore the best websites and resources that provide high-quality book summaries specifically tailored for business individuals.
What is a Summary of a Book?
Let’s dive into the meaning of a book summary. It is a byproduct of someone investing time and effort into reading a book and then recreating its essence in a condensed form. This shorter version encapsulates the key points made by the original author, albeit in the summarizer’s unique style.
It’s important to note that a book summary isn’t an act of plagiarism or a poor imitation of the original work. Instead, it’s a derivative product, considerably shorter, that acknowledges and credits the original author for their insights and ideas.
Our Methodology to Find the Best Places to Find Book Summaries
In the bustling world where time is a scarce commodity, book summaries have become the go-to solution for the voracious reader in all of us. They distill the essence of the written works into digestible formats without compromising the core message.
For entrepreneurs and small business owners who value continuous learning but are pressed for time, knowing where to find quality book summaries is crucial. Here, we explore the characteristics of platforms offering the best book summaries.
Range of Titles (8/10)
The depth of a platform’s library is essential. The best sites should provide a diverse array of summaries spanning various genres, from business and self-help to classic literature and new releases. This wide range ensures you’re staying atop the waves of knowledge across fields.
Quality of Summaries (10/10)
The hallmark of a valuable summary is not just brevity but depth. Summaries should capture the crux of the books, providing a comprehensive insight without watering down the key messages or themes. The quality can often be more critical than quantity in maintaining reader interest and learning efficacy.
Accessibility and Format Variety (9/10)
In our multi-device, always-on world, accessibility is key. Platforms should offer content across formats—be it text, audio, or even video summaries. This flexibility allows users to learn in the way they find most conducive, irrespective of place or time.
While many platforms operate on subscription models, the cost should correspond to the value offered. Whether it’s through competitive pricing, package deals, or quality free content, users should feel they are getting a return on their investment.
User Experience and Interface (8/10)
A cluttered or complex interface can deter even the most eager users. The sites and apps that stand out offer a clean, user-friendly experience that makes browsing and accessing summaries a seamless activity.
Expert Insight and Reviews (7/10)
Some platforms go beyond conventional summaries by providing expert reviews or insights, adding depth to the reader’s understanding. These expert contributions can offer different perspectives and enhance the learning experience.
Community Engagement (6/10)
Platforms that foster a community where readers can discuss, debate, and share insights about the books can enhance the learning journey. While not a mandatory feature, this aspect can significantly enrich the experience, turning solitary reading into a social exploration.
Regular Updates (8/10)
The literary world is ever-evolving, with new thought-provoking books released regularly. The best summary sites stay on the pulse of these releases, constantly updating their offerings to include contemporary works.
Identifying the right sources for book summaries can dramatically enhance your learning curve, keeping you informed and inspired without overtaxing your most limited resource: time.
Where to Find Book Summary Websites
The market for book summary services is more extensive than one might think – offering plenty of options for the discerning reader. However, finding high-quality resources specifically for business book summaries might feel daunting. Not to worry, we have done the heavy lifting for you.
We have curated a list of ten exceptional resources where you can find comprehensive summaries for a wide range of business books.
|GetAbstract||Offers over 20,000 summaries in multiple formats, available on various devices. 3-day free trial, then $99 per year for 5,000 summaries.||Employees and managers in large enterprises; people with extensive reading lists; Kindle users.|
|Soundview||Offers 8-page summaries and 20-minute audio summaries. Access to 2,500+ summaries, webinars, newsletters for $199 per year.||Corporate learning and individuals looking for a continuing education platform.|
|Blinkist||Provides 3000+ titles mainly in the career and life success areas. Premium subscription for unlimited access.||Auditory learners; those wanting access to a range of non-fiction topics.|
|ReadItFor.Me||Offers a virtual learning platform, ActionClass, and book summaries. Pricing is $49 per month.||Individuals looking for more than just reading; leadership development training.|
|Summaries||Provides condensed 8-page summaries of business books. Subscription starts at $12 per month.||Individuals seeking regular insights and topics.|
|Optimize||Offers summaries, motivational content, classes. Most content is premium.||Those looking for deep insights for life and career improvement.|
|Readingraphics||Provides summaries in infographic, written, and audio formats. Pricing starts at $14.14 per month.||Visual learners; those who prefer skimming content.|
|Instaread||Covers over 1,000 books in various topics. Offers summaries of articles. Prices start at $7.49 per month.||Those wanting a diverse, MBA-type reading list.|
|FourMinuteBooks||Specializes in non-fiction, self-improvement books. Library of PDFs for $99, or 300 audiobooks for $49.||Those who want podcasts of books; a regular reading regimen.|
|BookSummaryClub||Provides snippets of 140 books. Users are referred to other sites like Blinkist or Instaread for full summaries.||Entrepreneurs who prefer simplicity.|
GetAbstract is one of the big players in this industry, for good reason: it has the widest catalog, with over 20,000 summaries. The service is aimed at the corporate world with categories like management, innovation, corporate IT. GetAbstract claims to serve more than one third of Fortune 100 organizations.
Its book summaries are high quality although some are a bit dry. They come in seven languages, including the English language. Every summary includes a rating, take-aways, popular quotes, and an author bio. Great features include the ability to highlight things, such as a favorite idea or several sentences.
There is a 3-day free trial and if you like it, you can subscribe for $99 per year to get 5,000 summaries. An upgrade gets you access to all books as well as multiple formats including Kindle, along with Android and iOS apps.
Best for: Employees and managers who work in large enterprises. With the largest catalog of high-quality book summaries, it is also ideal for people with lengthy reading lists and for Kindle users.
Soundview pre-dates the internet, pioneering the concept of easy-to-read 8-page text and 20-minute audio summaries. It is another big player, and a Professional plan for $199 per year gets you access to 2,500+ summaries, webinars and newsletters. The service features corporate plans in additional to individual ones, including webinars with authors and tips videos.
Best for: Corporate learning and individuals looking for a continuing education platform.
Blinkist has a broad library of 3000+ titles. Many topics are in the career and life success areas — ranging from entrepreneurship to parenting to communication skills. You also get highlights from prominent podcasts.
A premium subscription gets you unlimited access to all titles to read and listen to voice recordings. You can highlight ideas and sync them with Evernote, as well as get the ability to download for offline access, and send to Kindle. Sign up for the Free Daily newsletter to read one title a day at no charge.
Best for: Those who are auditory learners who want well-rounded access to a range of non-fiction topics.
ReadItFor.Me is really two services in one: a virtual learning platform called ActionClass and book summaries. More than a book club, the action classes are a leadership development program applying topics from books to your own action plan. ReaditForMe offers a schedule of classes three times per week around a specific book. Books include 36 leadership and soft skill competencies.
The free book summaries have a 14-day trial. If you like the books, you can subscribe. Pricing is very simple at $49 per month, or they can customize a program allowing team access in your firm.
Best for: Any person who wants something more than to fill a reading list. If you are looking for leadership development training, try it to make better life decisions.
Summaries calls itself a life-time learning company providing concise information and tools, specializing in business books. It has some great books — self-help classics like The 7 habits of Highly Effective People and recent advice guides like Built not Born.
One of the best things about Summaries.com is that each summary condenses a 300+ page book into eight pages long. The company says their experience shows eight pages is the ideal length for someone to get the main ideas. Over 1,000 works are part of its offering, including everything from sales books to finance books.
A subscription starting at $12 per month gets you a new summary weekly. Or purchase by the piece, with prices starting at $15 for five. The website also offers a free plan with abbreviated 5-minute snapshots in blog posts (also downloadable as PDFs). The short free ones give you a taste — the lengthier size are more thorough on topics and advice.
Best for: Individuals who prefer to have a steady diet of insights and topics doled out on a regular basis.
Optimize.me is a resource website in the self-improvement niche. Along with motivational content and classes by founder Brian Johnson (the “Chief Philosopher”), subscribers also get access to a website section called Philosophers Notes. If you are looking to choose a self help book or a leadership book for learning how to improve your life and career, and you want summaries, then Philosophers Notes is a great place.
You get in-depth written summaries along with accompanying MP3 files. Examples include summaries of The Compound Effect: Jumpstart Your Income, Your Life, Your Success by Darren Hardy, and A Lifetime of Observations and Reflections On and Off the Court by John Wooden. There are even a few free ones, although most are premium.
Best for: Those looking for deep insights to forge their place in the world. This service is really part of a life learning and self development platform.
Now here’s an interesting concept: what if you could experience a book summary in a visual format, as an infographic? Sound crazy? It’s not. Readingraphics says “ideas come alive” with its graphics of non-fiction books. Readingraphics offers three formats:
- infographic summary
- 10-15 page written summaries
- 20-minute audio files
The written summaries are interesting to read, and highly visual with bullets and callout boxes. You can buy a book summary bundle that includes all three formats. Pricing starts at $14.14 per month. Or you can purchase a single book summary starting at $9.97.
Subscribe to the company’s newsletter to get two of the all-time best business books summarized, for free: Think and Grow Rich, and How to Win Friends and Influence People.
Best for: Visual learners and those who prefer skimming bullets and short callouts, versus reading longer blocks of sentences.
Instaread covers over 1,000 books in wide ranging topics such as politics, arts, fiction, nutrition and psychology. It gives the feel of a high-brow MBA, also offering summaries of Harvard Business Review, Kellogg Insight and New York Times articles. It features written and voice, with a focus on its mobile apps. Prices start at $7.49 per month. Requires a credit card to get a sneak peek.
Best for: Those who want a cosmopolitan, MBA-type reading list with a wide range of current topics.
FourMinuteBooks specializes in non-fiction books, with more than 800 mostly focused on self-improvement. New summaries, which the service says can be read in 4 minutes, come out three times a week and you can get notified via the email newsletter. You can purchase the library of PDFs for $99, or 300 audiobooks for $49. The audiobooks come as MP3s and on Soundcloud. It also offers bundles of free book summaries.
Best for: Those who want podcasts of books and /or a reminder to engage in a regular reading regimen.
The BookSummaryClub appears to be an affiliate site. That’s not bad, but it’s important to realize that you may get a small taste of 140 books the site offers, and then will get referred over to another site such as Blinkist or Instaread to purchase THEIR summary. It’s a simple, easy to navigate website with books that startup entrepreneurs will like, and other interesting content such as lists of reading aids.
Best for: Entrepreneurs who like simplicity.
Alternatives to Free Book Summaries
Book summary websites offer the incredible advantage of having a collection of concise summaries all in one place, often presented in various formats for the user’s convenience. They carry out the tedious task of reading and summarizing books, making their services predominantly valuable for their convenience. However, if you’re not interested in subscribing to such services, there are a few alternative tools that can act as free book summaries, albeit not as extensively:
Wikipedia, the free online encyclopedia, holds thousands of entries that effectively serve as free book summaries. It requires some effort to search for each book separately, but many well-known books have their dedicated Wikipedia pages, adhering to the platform’s notability standards. These pages might not necessarily be referred to as summaries, but they often provide a well-structured overview of the book’s main themes and topics. However, the quality can vary as the content depends on the expertise and writing style of the contributors who draft these entries.
12. Amazon Search Inside the Book
Amazon offers a unique feature known as “Search Inside the Book,” which can serve as an alternative to free book summaries. This feature allows potential readers to preview a part of the book before deciding whether to purchase it or not. Publishers have control over how much content to expose for preview, but usually, 20% of the book is made available by default, including the table of contents and more. Although this feature doesn’t provide summaries in the traditional sense, it grants a glimpse into the author’s work, which can help readers make an informed decision about their book purchases.
13. Book Reviews
Book reviews help you decide whether to buy a book. Reading reviews of great books is one more way of getting a summary of topics before investing more time or money. A typical book review will tell you the main topic and why you should read the book, lessons contained, a little about the author, and who would most enjoy the book. See our Business Book Reviews section for over 800 reviews.
Why Read Book Summaries?
People read book summaries to:
- Learn information faster and save time for other things.
- Be successful in the business world, life or school.
- Sound knowledgeable in meetings.
- Create reading lists to develop your team.
- Get inspired to do bigger and better things.
Musician Frank Zappa once said: “So many books, so little time.” Book summaries address our shortened attention spans in the information age of the internet. Today some people have trouble concentrating on longer books. Book summaries allow us to get through more books in less time.
To illustrate, here’s a great summary of the widely acclaimed book, “Secrets of the Millionaire Mind” by Harv Eker:
What Makes the Best Book Summaries?
Great book summaries have straight-forward organization. They are easy to scan, with bullet points and limited amounts of text.
For non-fiction books, the book summary gives an interpretation of the big ideas and main topics, without the reader having to do all the hard work. Book summaries can be helpful for marketing books or for millionaire books, and much more.
Consider availability in different formats. For example, you may prefer reading in Kindle, or you may be in your car a lot and need to listen to information.
While book summaries undoubtedly offer valuable insights, they inherently provide a condensed version of the author’s original narrative.
What is the Ideal Length of a Book Summary?
The ideal length of a book summary depends on your reading frequency and goals. See the following considerations.
- Goal: To decide whether to buy a book — For this purpose a few sentences or paragraphs may be all you need to decide whether the topic interests you enough to buy the book.
- Goal: To be inspired by information and ideas — A longer summary is best if you want to learn what the author means or key topics without reading the entire book.
- Goal: To speedily digest books — Some people want to read voraciously but have limited time blocks. A number of services specify how long their summaries take to consume. Whether reading, listening to book summaries while on a coffee break at your job, or using an app between appointments or at home — focus on a speedy reading experience.
What Formats Do Book Summaries Come In?
Summaries vs Study Guides: What is the Difference?
Study guides or study notes go beyond book summaries. Intended mostly for students, guides aim to add value by providing analysis and study aids. Study guides could be a 75-page PDF — or longer. Options include Spark Notes, Cliffs Notes, BookRags, A-Plus Notes. Study guides like Cliff Notes tend toward classic literature such as Macbeth or educational topics like biochemistry, not the latest business books. The better ones like Spark Notes or Cliffs Notes offer a mobile app, too. Teachers may also find them valuable.
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