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Meet Blinkist, The App That Turns People Into Learning Machines

Blinkist helps people learn new things faster than ever, turning them into learning machines.
by Vanessa Gibbs | Jan 7 2022

Knowledge is often said to be the key to success. Just look at the big names who rave about the importance of reading like Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, and Arianna Huffington.

Legendary investor Charlie Munger once said:

“I constantly see people rise in life who are not the smartest, sometimes not even the most diligent, but they are learning machines. They go to bed every night a little wiser than they were when they got up and boy does that help, particularly when you have a long run ahead of you.”

Charlie Munger started from humble beginnings and as a teenager, worked in a grocery store in Omaha, Nebraska with his friend, Warren Buffett. On the side, the boys worked other jobs to make more money, including selling chewing gum and coke bottles door to door. Back then, the boys made $2 a day. Fast-forward a few decades, however, and they’d be making $20 billion in profit per year with their conglomerate, Berkshire Hathaway.

What’s the secret to this huge success? Both successful investors credit reading and learning as their secret weapons. Where Munger believes that those who are learning machines will succeed, Buffett recommends daily reading to build knowledge. Blinkist can help its users do both.

Blinkist is an app that makes daily knowledge-building easy. It shares the key insights of nonfiction books in 15-minute reads and listens, with 4,000 titles to choose from across 27 categories like personal development, psychology, and management and leadership.

Learning and constantly growing is a habit shared by many people at the top of their fields, but tapping into new knowledge takes time. However, Blinkist not only allows its users to fit learning into their days, but helps them learn new things faster than ever.

“Blinkist caters to readers with more curiosity than time.”
– TechCrunch

It all started in 2012 when four friends realized there was so much knowledge in the world, and, even though they were avid readers of nonfiction books, they would never have enough time to access it all. They wondered if there was a faster way to learn and discovered they could share the most important lessons from nonfiction books with each other in 15 minutes. From this, they created Blinkist to help others access knowledge in less time, too.

Blinkist Founders
LtoR: The Blinkist founders: Niklas Jansen, Tobi Balling and Holger Seim. Not pictured: Sebastian Klein

Fast forward to 2020 and the app now has 20 million users worldwide. It raised $35 million in funding and Apple named it one of the top 20 apps for lifelong learning along with the likes of TED, Coursera and Khan Academy.

Blinkist is the fastest way to become a learning machine as it allows its users to get knowledge from nonfiction books in just 15 minutes. Here’s how it works.

A Book Explained in 15 Minutes

When asked what the most challenging thing about learning is, 78% of Blinkist users said it was finding enough time for it in the day. Blinkist makes learning from books fast with its 15-minute explainers. The app shares only the most important messages from a book, meaning users can get all of the key information in a fraction of the time.

“I use Blinkist when I’m in between meetings and can’t get a giant task done, but at least I can be productive.”
– Sarah Schupp, Professor & Founder of UniversityParent.com

For example, Yuval Noah Harari’s bestseller Sapiens is packed with interesting information, but it’s also long, dense and requires a lot of free time and attention to read. It can take weeks or even months to read cover to cover. With Blinkist, users can get the core messages from the book in 19 minutes.

With the time they’ve saved, they could dive into learning more about the history of humankind with titles like The Third Chimpanzee and What Makes Us Different? Alternatively, they could broaden their knowledge and explore other titles about history, science or technology.

Learning On the Go

Bite-sized content is all well and good, but many of us struggle to find uninterrupted time to sit down and learn. Blinkist’s content is available to listen to as well as read, so users can fit learning in even if they don’t have time to sit down.

Users can learn on the go while traveling, working out or doing chores. By multitasking, users can turn pockets of time throughout the day into learning opportunities. Even busy CEOs and parents can find time to learn:

“As a wife, a mom of three, and a full-time entrepreneur, I yearn for some time to read for both personal and professional reasons. Blinkist is my car companion and pre-sleep friend! I love it.”
– Oula Farawati, Co-founder & CEO Printati

What’s more, the app ensures its audio content is as easy to learn from as possible with sound effects and different narrators to make it engaging.

Learn from nonfiction books by reading or listening

Fit More Learning Into Your Day

For many Blinkist users, checking out just one explainer isn’t enough. They want to maximize their learning and constantly learn new things. With the app’s bite-sized content, users can get insights from more books than they’d be able to read otherwise.

“With Blinkist, I am able to read ten books a week – something I’ve never been able to do before. This helps a lot, because I want to maximize my learning in order to develop”
– Jonas, 7Mind

In fact, most users learn from three books a day. The top 25% most active users often check out five books a day and can hit 50 books a month. This amount of learning sounds like a lot, but checking out three books a day on Blinkist takes about 45 minutes. With the average commute taking an hour, many users can easily check out three titles each morning before they’ve even gotten to the office.

It’s Backed by Science

Finding the time to read and learn is one thing, but there’s no point if this knowledge is forgotten shortly after. Blinkist helps users hack the learning experience by making it easy to remember everything they learn.

The app uses neuroscientific research methods like case studies and real-life examples to do so. These methods make new information easy to visualize and remember. They also make any advice relatable and easy to implement, so users can apply what they learn to their own life. In fact, in a survey of 3,500 users in the US, Blinkist found that 87.5% often make changes to their lives based on what they learn on the app.

“Blinkist has helped me read more — period. I love that I can get the key learnings from 10+ books a week, and immediately implement them in my own life.”
– Hitha Palepu, entrepreneur and author

Learn with real-life examples that stick

One of the World’s Best Apps

To become a learning machine, you need to spend time learning every single day or week. Blinkist makes this easy to do with an award-winning design and easy-to-binge content. This has helped Blinkist users collectively read over 172 million explainers in 2019 and spend seven million hours learning.

“Time is everything. It’s all we really have. Blinkist is useful because reading is powerful. It helps me to learn every day.”
— Ian Warner, Olympic Athlete and FIXT Founder

Plus, the app is trusted by big names and organizations, so users know the knowledge they’re learning on Blinkist is worthwhile. It’s won awards from Google for its design and from the UN for its contribution to the education field. It’s been recognized as a go-to app for learning from publications like The New York Times and The Guardian and even Apple CEO Tim Cook is a fan.

Get Recommendations From the Best

When it comes to learning, 41% of Blinkist users said one of the hardest things is that there’s so much to learn and they don’t know where to start. Blinkist uses machine learning to give users tailored recommendations to help with this. As users read and listen to explainers on the app, Blinkist learns what they like and recommends other titles they’ll probably enjoy, too.

“There’s so much information in the world today, and it seems as if there is less time than ever before. Blinkist’s team of experts sifts through books for me to find the signal and avoid the noise.”
– Aidan McCullen, Athlete & Media Personality

What’s more, users can find new books with Blinkist’s expertly-curated lists. These lists feature books around certain topics, like mindfulness and stoicism, and suggestions from people like Bill Gates, Ryan Holiday and Jen Sincero, as well as favorites from the Blinkist team.

With these recommendations and lists, users don’t waste time looking for new things to learn and aren’t intimidated by the amount of nonfiction books out there. This speeds up the entire learning process.

Find new things to learn fast with tailored recommendations

Learn From an Endless Library

Blinkist users are lifelong learners who are always striving to learn more. In a survey, 94% of users said they felt motivated to keep learning. Blinkist helps to satisfy this appetite for knowledge with an endless library to choose from. There are already 5000 titles on the app and 40 new insights are added each month.

Categories span everything from work topics—like entrepreneurship, productivity, and communication skills—and topics for users’ personal lives—like personal finance, relationships, and health and nutrition. There are also topics covering interesting fields like technology, philosophy and politics.

Users can learn everything from how to be more productive with Getting Things Done to Seneca’s philosophies with Letters From a Stoic and the science of breathing with Breath.

“I read a lot of management, self-improvement, and entrepreneurial books through Blinkist because I can gain specific knowledge on my industry or on ways to improve myself.”
– Steven Renwick, CPO of Regis24

Blinkist turns its users into learning machines who can learn new things faster than ever. If you, too, want to access new knowledge fast, download the Blinkist app to get started.

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