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These 3 People Managed To Read A Book A Day For 30 Days With The Blinkist App

These 3 friends read 30 books in 30 days to gain a whole new perspective on life. Find out how they did it and the most valuable things they learned along the way.
by Sarah Moriarty | Apr 7 2017

Meet Therese, Saulo, and Sandra — three friends who live in Berlin, Germany — who challenged each other to read 30 books in 30 days.


Bookworms in action! (L-R) Saulo, Sandra, and Therese
“It all started in a cafe, one afternoon,” says Saulo, a 32-year-old marketing manager from Brazil. “We were sitting on a terrace and Therese asked me if I’d read The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Steven Covey and I hadn’t. Then I was trying to think about the last nonfiction book I read and I realised that I hadn’t read a single nonfiction title in the past year. I was kind of embarrassed to admit this to my friends but I told them anyway.”

After this admission, Saulo’s friends also started to reflect on their own reading habits. Sandra, a 28-year-old writer from Canada, revealed that she had read a handful of novels in the past year but only 2 nonfiction books, while Therese, a 26-year-old business developer from Sweden, had read only 1 nonfiction book in the previous year.

“It was sort of shocking,” says Therese. “When I was in college, I would read 2-3 nonfiction books a week as part of my syllabus. Now that I have work responsibilities, friends to keep up with, and events to attend, I just don’t have the time to read the way I used to.”

That’s when the 3 friends decided to tackle their problem head-on as a team. They came up with the challenge to read 30 nonfiction books in 30 days.” Sounds impossible? Maybe not.

How did you do it?

In order to succeed, they realised that they had to find a new way to fit reading into their lives. Therese had an idea. She did some research and found a handful of websites and apps that transform books into bitesized form. In the end, the 3 of them decided to go for the Blinkist app — a mobile service that offers 15-minute versions of top nonfiction books.

As one of the first services to condense nonfiction books into quick reads, the Blinkist app has 2000 bestselling nonfiction titles in its library (including The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People for Saulo!) and it has an audio function so that users can listen to the main takeaways from nonfiction on their commute or while working out. The app also provides actionable tips at the end of each bitesized book so that you can immediately incorporate the new ideas you hear into your day.

“It sounded fantastic” says Sandra, “I don’t want to give up being able to learn new things and develop as a person through ideas from nonfiction books and this is precisely what the app solves.”

Did you succeed?

Amazingly, yes! All three managed to read the key insights from 30 books in 30 days but each approached the challenge in their own way. “It was all about habit-forming,” says Therese, “I carved out space on my lunchbreak every day to read one book-in-blinks. It felt very manageable as it only takes 15 minutes to read the Blinkist version. By the end of the month, I’d read 42 titles.”

“I found it tough at first,” said Sandra, “Having friends to share the experience was really helpful and I made it through with the 30 titles. Therese is the clear winner though!”

Saulo, a self-confessed audio nerd revealed that out of the 30 titles, he listened to at least 25 of them. “One of my biggest challenges is finding the time to sit down and read. With the app, I didn’t have to. I love the experience of listening to the main points of a book when I’m on the way to work in the morning. It’s a great way to start the day.”

What Was The Most Valuable Thing You Learned From Reading 30 Books In 30 Days?

Therese: “I learned how to find the perfect market positioning for a new product we were launching at work thanks to the blinks to Fascinate by Sally Hogshead. This was hugely useful.

Also, I don’t know about valuable, but I did learn in The Triumph of Seeds that all the apple trees in the world come from one variety of Kazahkstanian fruit tree. That sort of blew my mind.”

Saulo: I finally got to read the key takeaways from The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People and it was one of my favorites. I learned about the power of sharpening the saw.

This means that there’s no point working on something if you’re really tired. You should stop, rest, “sharpen your saw,” and start fresh the next day. This tip helped triple my productivity at work.

Sandra: As a writer, I’m always looking for way to improve my craft. For me, the most valuable takeaway came from the blinks to Reading Like a Writer: A Guide for People Who Love Books and for Those Who Want to Write Them.

The actionable tip at the end was “write something your mother wouldn’t like”: this taught me not to be afraid to express myself and to truly find my own voice as a writer.

Would you recommend this challenge to someone else?

Therese: Absolutely definitely yes. It’s a fascinating and rewarding way to fit reading into your life. Everyone should give it a go!

Saulo: I’d say, if you like audiobooks and podcasts, then Blinkist is the perfect app for you. I don’t know if I’d recommend going for 30 books in 30 days — I prefer to take things a little slower and make sure I’m giving myself time to sharpen my saw.

Sandra: A big yes! As a book lover, I can say it’s a fantastic way to discover the length and breadth of ideas that are out there in a fun way.

Are you up for the challenge? Download the Blinkist app today and try it yourself.

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