2 min read

Book Summaries or Actual Books?

Reading books help you grow with time-tested methods and strategies for life. Now, do you like to read that from a book or a summary would do?
Book Summaries or Actual Books?

There is good market out there for book summaries. They focus on giving you a glimpse of important concepts from all sorts of books in less than 15 minutes. In otherwise it would have taken many hours to read the actual book itself.  Most of them allow you to read through the summary or listen to the audio version.

So which type are you? Do you read books or book summaries or both?

The answers would depend on the fact of what you want to achieve by reading book or summaries. Say, you are a busy person and don't have time to invest in reading books and so you go the summaries route then there are a couple of flaws in that approach.

By the way, I use book summaries. There is a different use for book summaries. More on that later.

Reading is to provide us with two benefits. Entertainment and Wisdom. People who like to read books do read because they like reading books. They find time to do that and they have an affinity towards spending time with a book. Along with reading the book, there is an experience that goes with it. What if you are a person who still wants the wisdom gained from a book but can't spend time reading the actual one. Sure, you could depend on book summaries that are out there today. You'll get the bulleted key points from every book. It is not without flaws.

The human brain tends to forget the easy stuff. If I was to ask you whether you remember an article which you read last week, what would be your answer? Most of us would remember it in bits and pieces but not complete enough to summarise it from start to the end. So if you are choosing the route of summaries for quick knowledge gain, it will be short-lived as well. That is the drawback.

The second benefit of reading a book is the immersive experience. Leadership, self-help books, etc. tend to have exercises that help understand the concept better. Such books involve the reader through mind exercises to explain the concepts better. We would be missing out on that in the book summaries. We are not spending the time to grasp the principle taught.

Where exactly can book summaries help?

I use it for two purposes.

After you have read a book, it is often recommended to re-read books so you get a refresher and it helps firm up the concepts. Here, I find the book summaries to be of great help. You can re-read the summaries as much as you want since it takes only a short while. Now if there are areas that you want to go deep, you could refer to the actual books. It would then help us understand and re-affirm as well.

Book summaries also help us to pick the right book to read. Sure, there are many books on any given topic that is available today and some books are a drag.  I have felt the concepts in some books can be conveyed in much shorter books. And they are quite long for my taste and indulgence.  So to filter the books that you want to read book summaries can help, obviously for non-fiction that is.

I use something called Wizdom on the phone and it is available only android as of this writing. There are others too like Blinkist, Shortform etc. Do try out...

So what are you reading today?