Thanks to Nassim Taleb.
The promise of Blinkist is enticing:
- Finish a book in 15 minutes ->
- Finish many many books ->
- Be like Bill/Nytimes/Naval/Yuval/#TheEnlightened 🧘🏻♂️
Furthermore, supposedly, it would help you find what you want to dive deeper into so one would buy books to read instead of just for adding the color purple to one’s rainbow color-coordinated bookshelves.
I downloaded the app and blasted through many of the books I have always wanted to read. Blinkist summarizes books down to 10–15 minutes and it breaks these summaries into short chapters. You could read it, or listen to it. It also provides a review towards the end.
Blinkist is the poster child of today’s fast-everything-hack-everything “I-know-Kung-Fu” world.
Hack your diet? Eat Soylent. Hack your brain? Brush your teeth with your left hand. Hack your strength? Do this gruelling 12 minutes routine. Hack your relationship? Swipe right. Hack your decision quality? Wear the same shit every day.
It is anti-slow-movement, anti-single-tasking, anti-namaste. My brain is tiny; therefore I could not retain information effectively. Blinkist made me a lot more aware of this disability of mine. After spending a few days on the app, I finally understood what book-coma felt like, if there was such a phenomenon: Muddled concepts, disjointed ideas, incoherent arguments. Perhaps the most annoying impact of all was the emotional void. The experience I had was as if I had gone to the Carnegie Hall to attend Yo Yo Ma’s performance, only read all the programme notes, and left.
Blinkist certainly made me feel empowered and smarter because now I have an alternative response to the question “Have you heard of this book” at these exclusive MENSA gatherings that I have been sneaking myself into. It allowed me to say it was “the best argument I’ve ever heard for the existence of God” when someone brought up Yo Yo Ma’s performance of Bach’s Prélude.
Then, as I was blasting through Taleb’s “Skin in the Game”, this came through my AirPods:
“Learning is rooted in repetition and convexity, meaning that the reading of a single text twice is more profitable than reading two different texts once.”
I woke up.