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The Core Message Of Books In 4 Minutes Or Less

Apr 12, 2018 · 3 min read

I tend to find trends early. Not so early that I could capitalize on them in a big way, just enough to be able to say “Yeah, I know that,” by the time the rest of the world gets the joke. It happened with skater shoes, Beyblades, Facebook, Tinder, cryptocurrencies, and a guy named Tai Lopez.

In September 2014, long before his claim to Youtube advertisement fame, I stumbled across his 67 Steps, which only cost a $5 flat fee back then. Whether you like him or not, Tai’s dedication to books is admirable, and ever since I completed the program, I couldn’t shake the idea of reading a book a day.

Luckily, I had neither the time nor the money to read a book in its entirety on a daily basis, which forced me to be creative. In late 2015, I decided to read a book summary on Blinkist each day, research the book and author, then write a 3-lesson summary and hit publish. I started with some of the books I had already read, then moved into new territory, and eventually completed a full year of daily posts.

I learned two big lessons:

  1. Reading a whole book each day is a waste of time and energy.
  2. Learning from a book each day is a great use of time and energy.

Most non-fiction books are simple ideas wrapped in a lot of pages, but the essence of those books is often worth learning or, at least, reiterating. If you could quickly answer the question “what is this book about?” for a different book each day, that’d be a great source of knowledge.

That’s where Four Minute Books Premium comes in. Now that I’ve built a catalog of over 400 decent works of non-fiction, it’s time to hit reset and ask:

What is this book about?

The goal of each post in this publication for Medium Members is to answer this question for a different book. It’s about finding the core message the author was trying to get a cross and sharing it in a way that allows you to understand and internalize it in four minutes or less. As such, each article will be structured into three main sections:

  1. What’s the message? If the author had only a billboard to put the main point of the book on, what would it say? What are the underlying theme and the overarching train of thought?
  2. Why is it important? Having something to say is good, having a reason why people should listen is better. In this section, I’ll dig into why the author’s message matters and who it’s for.
  3. How can you use this idea in your life? Sometimes, authors share practical steps you can implement, but not always. Especially for philosophical works or strategic points of view, it’s often hard to start taking action. I’d like to provide some guidance for that.

To pull this off, I’ll go straight to the source material, i.e. the actual book. I won’t read it in full, but I’ll use the summaries I’ve written to find the main points in the original text. I’ll connect the dots, reflect on the overall meaning, and then present them in a coherent format.

This mix of third party accounts, context, and the author’s position should create a complete picture. It’ll nicely complement the free lessons, but be a much more powerful way to understand, remember, and use the ideas that hide behind the covers.

If you love Medium, like I do, you love reading. I think it’s only fair that we love books and the people who write them also. Four Minute Books Premium is here to set that trend.

Now that’s one I’m proud to get behind early.

Four Minute Books Premium

Four Minute Books Premium captures the core message of the world’s best non-fiction books in 4 minutes or less. It complements our collection of 400+ free book summaries with source material, additional insights, and important context.

Niklas Göke

Written by

I write for dreamers, doers, and unbroken optimists. I also publish daily micro-blogs to help you live a balanced life: https://emptyyourcup.substack.com

Four Minute Books Premium

Four Minute Books Premium captures the core message of the world’s best non-fiction books in 4 minutes or less. It complements our collection of 400+ free book summaries with source material, additional insights, and important context.