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Why are books so long?

This common complaint about nonfiction books has spawned an industry. Why labour through meandering page after meandering page when you can get the same information smushed into your brain with a book summary? It’s 15 minutes of pure knawledge.

Blinkist, a book summary service

While there are certainly books that make better blog posts, it’s a mistake to turn to book summaries as turbo-charged alternatives to longform reading. That’s because book summaries are like Instagram motivational quotes: fun to read but dopamine rushes disguised as learning. Do you remember the last motivational quote you read? Thought not.

Books are long because great ideas need time to settle. They deserve returning to night after night, to be picked apart, examined and critiqued. You give an idea value by devoting to it your most important asset: time.

Intelligence doesn’t come from reading the most books, it comes from being changed by the books you read. And that doesn’t happen in 15 minutes.




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Adam Blades

Adam Blades

Lecturer in higher education who loves creating learning experiences. Find me at

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