THE INC. LIFE

3 Tricks You Can Use to Read Any Business Book In 8 Minutes or Less

By utilizing summary-as-a-service companies, CEOs are saving themselves hours that could be better spent business building.

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BY Heather Wilde - 28 Jun 2018

PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images

Knowledge is power--at least, that's what we've all been told.

It stands to reason, therefore, that whoever has read the most books will be the most powerful. Trouble is when you're busy building your business, who has time to read?

In my own experience, I aim to spend at least an hour throughout each day reading articles, papers and other documents that are relevant to my job. Coupled with the fact that I work almost exclusively on a computer, by the time I'm done working for the day, my eyes are strained to the point of blurriness. I end each day by reading a book on my Kindle--usually for an hour or more--but I make the time to do it by forgoing other things.

Audible has tried to fill this gap, allowing people to listen to books while performing other tasks, like commuting to work or working out at the gym. However, with many audio books reaching over 10 hours or more, it can be as much of a commitment to listen as it is to binge watch a Netflix show--and based on online numbers, people are much more likely to tune in to Westworld than listen to a book on economics.

At Zappos, one of the core values is to "Pursue Growth and Learning." As part of this, Zappos sets aside time for employee education, presumably in hopes that it will raise the collective knowledge of the company. As they can't dedicate too much time away from work, they use a service called Readitfor.me, which offers the synopses of books for $29 a month.

But Readitfor.me isn't the only option. There are a number of other services that exist to help you take in books quickly. Here are a few options to keep you powered up:

1. Actionable Books

The free summaries provided by Actionable Books are basically expanded book reviews. They give you great talking points, with just enough information to help you feel like you have the main idea. If you decide the book is worth a deeper scan, it offers links to purchase books right from the summary page. (Free)

2. Summary.com

Like Readitfor.me, Summary.com offers a subscription service with in-depth summaries that are around eight pages or 20 minutes long to read or listen to. Should you so desire, you can even have them mail you a hard copy, so you can take notes. ($99-$199/yr)

3. GetAbstract

For those who have a little more time and are truly looking to expand their brains, GetAbstract has over 15,000 books in their library as well as a mobile app. Think: CliffsNotes on steroids. GetAbstract also has more categories of books than the other services, so if you're looking for something specific, it might be on here. ($59-$299/yr)

If this type of service isn't for you and you insist on reading the full text, then you might just want to try a speed reading app. Spreeder and Acceleread are both great tools to get a start in reading books in half the time.

At the very least, with these tools you'll get through your work more quickly--so you can have more time for Netflix, of course.

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