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85% of Career Success Comes From Soft Skills — Need A Crash Course?

Soft skills can help you get your next promotion, but they’re some of the hardest skills to develop. Here’s how the Blinkist app can help.
by Vanessa Gibbs | Sep 14 2022

What do you think is the secret to career success? Natural talent? A powerful network? Unwavering passion? According to research, it’s actually soft skills — and they make up a larger portion of success than you’d think. 

Research from Harvard University, the Carnegie Foundation, and Stanford Research Center found that 85% of career success comes from having well-developed soft skills and people skills. Hard skills, including technical skills and knowledge, only make up 15% of career success. 

85% of career success comes from soft skills

In the study, they discovered that even the most skill-focused industry, engineers, require highly developed soft-skills. When asked, “what are the most important factors in determining probable success or failure in engineering?” Personal qualities were mentioned more than seven times as often as knowledge of engineering.

According to the Harvard Business Review, as automation and AI develops, soft skills — and things machines can’t do — are becoming more valuable than ever.

“As the impact of AI and disruptive technology grows, candidates who can perform tasks that machines cannot are becoming more valuable.”
– Harvard Business Review

Even more surprising? In 2010, US employers spent $171.5 billion on employee learning and development, but only 27.6% of that was spent on developing soft skills.

People spend 72% of their money on hard skills

And these studies aren’t unique, the LinkedIn Global Talent Trends 2019 report found that 92% of talent professionals said soft skills matter as much or more than hard skills when it comes to hiring, and 80% said they’re increasingly important to company success. 

So, if you want to excel at work, you need to work on your soft skills, but these are often the hardest skills to develop. That’s where the Blinkist app comes in. 

Blinkist gathers key insights from nonfiction books and shares them in 15-minute reads and listens. There are 5,500 titles to choose from across 27 categories including personal development, communication skills, and psychology. 

Here’s how you can use the app to improve your soft skills, and your chances of career success. 


1. A Book Explained in 15 Minutes

Blinkist’s team of researchers, writers, and editors read through nonfiction books and pull together the most powerful ideas. These are shared in a bite-sized explainer you can read or listen to in just 15 minutes.

You’ll get actionable advice, interesting insights, and real-life case studies, all in a fraction of the time it takes to read a book in full.

“When we started most apps were for social media or gaming. We wanted to do something different and build an app that would add genuine value to someone’s life.”
– Holger Seim, CEO of Blinkist
Founder Trio
Founders Holger Seim, Niklas Jansen, and Tobi Balling. Sebastian Klein not pictured

You can brush up on soft skills in leading titles like How to Win Friends and Influence People, Deep Work, and Atomic Habits

And you can share everything you discover with a friend or colleague with Blinkist Connect by adding someone to your Premium account — for free!


2. Millions are Learning by Listening

You don’t need to find time to sit down and read to learn from the world’s best books, though. Blinkist’s explainers are available in audio form, so you can brush up on your soft skills while traveling to work, walking the dog, or cooking dinner. 

Plus, audio explainers often come with multiple narrators, sound effects, and strategic repetition to make them more memorable. Blinkist even won an award for its audio style from the International Sound Awards.  


3. Understand the World’s Most Important Books

The Blinkist library is 5,500 books strong, and it’s always growing — 70 new books are added every month.
You can read up on trending titles, the latest bestsellers, and classics in your industry, and develop soft skills in everything from communication to teamwork, creative thinking to time management.
You can also explore collections to get a crash course in one particular skill.
Collections are curated reading lists with five to 10 books on a topic. For example, “Agree to Disagree,” is all about conflict management, and “Upgrade your Management Style,” includes books to help you become a more empathetic and effective leader.

“Blinkist is a lens to kick off thinking, a surveying tool. I can, for example, quickly review a few of the best books on negotiation.”
–Adam Gries, Founder of OKpanda

4. One of the Best Apps in the World

Blinkist is big in the education and personal development space, and everyone from The New York Times to Forbes has taken notice.
The app has won awards from the United Nations for its contribution to education and from Google for its design.

“With Blinkist you can boost your knowledge and gain new perspectives so that you can be a better professional, a better partner, or a better you.”
–The United Nations

What’s more, Apple named Blinkist one of the top 20 apps for lifelong learning, and even Apple’s CEO, Tim Cook, is a fan.

5. Over 90 Thousand 5-Star Ratings

Blinkist is loved by 23 million users around the world who turn to the app to learn new things and improve their lives.
As well as reading more than ever, 91% of users have created better habits and 87% have made positive changes to their lives, all from what they’ve learned on the app.
And these users aren’t shy about sharing their support. They’ve given the app over 90 thousand 5-star ratings across the app stores, and it gets 10,000 daily downloads, too.

Want to unlock career success by strengthening your soft skills? Download the Blinkist app to get started.

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