How to Read a Book in 10 minutes

You don’t need to be a speed reader to finish a book in 10 minutes. Anyone can do it – the trick is not to read the book, but a well-written book summary instead.

Many of you are probably familiar with Reader’s Digest, a little magazine that contains summarised articles. Reader’s Digest also publishes abridged versions of fiction books, mostly literary classics.

Reading abridged story books is like eating tofu – all the nutrients without the flavour.

Bad for story books, but it’s perfect for business books. We are inundated with so much information these days. We barely have time to rest, let alone read. After all, when’s the last time you finished a book you started?

I recently stumbled upon getAbstract, a company that specialises in summarising and reviewing business books.

They have accumulated a collection of over 5,000 book summaries, which is not only the largest in the world, but also more books than you or I could ever hope to finish.

The essence of each best-selling business book is condensed and distilled into just 5 pages, and takes only 10 minutes to read. It’s not perfect, but if I could get 80% of the knowledge at a mere fraction of the time, that’s good enough for me.

getAbstract works on subscription plans starting from USD89 per year, which is less than $0.25 per day.

I tried out a couple of free book summaries and liked what I saw. It turned out to be more than a summary. They are actually more of a book analysis and review. Each book was tightly written, and well-organised so that the main ideas come through clearly.

Due to the length restriction, the summaries can’t go into great detail. I feel the summaries are most effective for college students or working professionals who are already familiar with the basic concepts of business and HR, but want to learn about the latest ideas from thought leaders.

So today, I took the plunge and took up a Gold Subscription. In addition to offering unlimited downloads, I am also able to download audio versions for some titles as well. That means I could listen to them as I work out on my exercise machine. At 30 minutes per session, that’s 3 books’ worth of reading.

You can also read on the go on mobile devices such as your iPhone, iPad, and Blackberry during your morning commute. Even e-book readers like the Kindle and Sony e-reader are supported.

Only the Android platform is missing, but no problem, I can use the Kindle app on my Android tablet. (Sorry, the “send to Kindle” feature only works for Kindle devices, but not for Kindle apps.)

But not to worry, here’s an easy solution for Android owners:

  1. Install Dropbox on your computer. This gives you free 5Gb worth of online storage, and makes it dead easy to synchronise content across all your computers and mobile devices.
  2. Download the book summaries as pdf files into your local Dropbox.
  3. Install Dropbox for Android.
  4. Open the pdf book on your Android device’s Dropbox. ezPDF Reader is one of the best pdf reader on Android. 

If I like the summary and want to delve deeper into the subject, I could always buy the book at

So, check the free book summaries today. I guarantee you that you will be able to finish each one you start.

About Hun Boon

A little bit of this, a little bit of that.
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