The platform that I use to learn from books 📚

If you are like me, you probably have a long—very long—list of books that you are planning to read.

And if you are also like me, that list just gets longer and longer as time passes.

But the reality is that… most books should just be blogposts (referencing Naval Ravikant). Only a very small percentage of (non-fiction) books actually have value across the whole book and can’t be summarized.

"It is my ambition to say in ten sentences what others say in a whole book."

- Nietzsche

So I thought to myself… How can I know in advance which books are not worth reading fully because they can be summarized in 5 or 50 pages, and which books are absolutely worth reading every single page.

Luckily, around that time I discovered Shortform—A website and app with amazing writers who create incredible study-guides (structured summaries of books reduced to 5-50 pages) from hundreds of the best non-fiction books out there!

So I converted my book’s reading list into a Shorform study-guide’s reading list (almost all the book titles were available). And only after reading the study-guide I would make the decision as to whether to buy the book or not.

  • If I found the ideas interesting and felt a genuine curiosity to dig deeper… I buy and read the entire book!

  • If it didn’t spark my interest too much… I would stop right there! Take the ideas from the 5-50 page study-guide and move on.

I implemented this “system” back in October 2022, and I can see how it helped me allocate my time much better for learning and optimized my “signal to noise ratio” of information. It helped me to not miss out on the very many ideas out there from good books (but not so good to read fully), while also protecting my time to explore and slowly digest the absolute best books.

So if you are thinking of taking a similar approach, I would definitely recommend you to check out Shortform!

Shortform is not sponsoring this Newsletter but I do have an affiliate link which gets you a 5-day Free Trial and a 20% Discount on the annual subscription (cost equivalent to the price of one book a month) - https://shortform.com/pickingnuggets