If this blog doesn’t make you smarter in 4 minutes, no website will.

Hi there!


My name is Niklas Goeke and I believe that everyone should be able to learn from the world’s best books for free.

During daylight hours I’m a writer and college student, but in the wee hours of the day I’m a book-devouring, information-compressing, knowledge-sucking machine – so you can get smarter in 4 minutes or less.

I created Four Minute Books to share my love of books and book summaries, accelerate my own learning and yours right with it. Here’s what Four Minute Books is all about:

  1. I read a combination of the world’s best non-fiction books and book summaries using the app Blinkist.
  2. I write down 3 major lessons and what I think about the summary or book.
  3. You get to digest the key points of an entire book in 4 minutes or less.

That’s it! Plain and simple. In 2016 alone, I’ve written 365 book summaries. That’s right, one book summary, every single day, for a year. All through 2017 and 2018, I continued to publish one new summary each week.

Right now, for September 2019, we’re publishing one summary every single day of the month at 2 PM Central European Time. After that, we’ll revert to a slower rhythm, at least for now. If you want to receive 3 new ones each Saturday via email, you should sign up here.

All of our summaries are original. They contain the wisdom from some of the world’s best books, but we also add our own unique takeaways and come up with our own examples and stories to carry those lessons to you. I say “we” because I’m not alone anymore:

Meet managing editor Luke, who runs Balancing Family Life, writes summaries for us, helps with the tech on the back end, and edits new submissions. Next to writing, Luke is a husband, father, engineer, and avid reader. He enjoys hiking and spending time with his wife and kids in his spare time.

Why summarize book summaries?

Me reading a book summary and then summarizing that even further might sound like it’s a hat on the hat, but I disagree. I bet you find it hard to make time for reading. So do I. Especially when I want to read so many books:


(seriously, when am I ever going to finish that?)

I had heard of speed reading techniques, where you jump around and just read selected chapters of a book. Of course I gave it a shot, but here are two major flaws I found with that:

  1. It’s not really faster. I still read at the same speed, I just cherry pick a bit more.
  2. When I buy a book I don’t want to read just one part of it. I want ALL the gold nuggets in there, not just one of them.

That’s why I was really happy when my roommate sent me this Stack Social deal, where Blinkist gave away 3 months for free. Blinkist is a subscription service providing book summaries of non-fiction books. I started reading their 15-minute summaries in the morning. Lots of them.


But as always, life happened, and I eventually found myself too busy to even spare 15 minutes every day to read. If you’re bouncing around between work, groceries, doing laundry, trying to eat well and staying fit, all while making time for family and your wonderful girlfriend (or boyfriend), then you know what I’m talking about.

A lot of days it just wasn’t possible. It seemed like I just couldn’t make reading a proper habit.

But now I’m on a mission…

Consider this great story about Gandhi, written by one of my favorite authors, James Altucher:

One time Gandhi said to a group of his backers, “I need to set aside one hour a day to do meditation.”

One of the backers said, “oh no, you can’t do that! You are too busy, Gandhi!”

Gandhi said, “Well, then, I now need to set aside two hours a day to do meditation.”

I feel the same way about reading. I love it and it really gets my creativity flowing.

If I can’t take the time to read for 15 minutes, maybe I need to take 30 minutes instead.

That’s exactly what I’m doing now – and to make sure I stick to it, I made it my mission to write something that helps you each time I read. This way I’m not only making sure I work on myself every day, but I’m also helping you do the same.


…to make you smarter in 4 minutes or less!

My summaries are short and to the point, and won’t take you more than 4 minutes to read. They are not a replacement for the longer book summaries on Blinkist, let alone the full book, which is why I give recommendations with each summary.

You can take them as a starting point, to make up your mind about 2 things:

  1. Do I want to read the full summary of this book on Blinkist?
  2. Do I want to read the actual book?

Most importantly, you can use them to make sure you learn something every day. Especially on those days where you’re already running late when your alarm goes off. And that’s really it.

Should you ever decide to get a Blinkist subscription or buy a book, I’d love for you to use the link at the end of each summary, which means I’ll get a small affiliate commission for recommending it at no extra cost to you.

But maybe that’s not your thing. In that case, you could also check out my reading guide or Four Minute Audiobooks.

Or do nothing. No big deal. We’re still friends =)

Okay, so what next?

If you don’t know what Blinkist is and how it works, you can learn all about the app here. In case you already know the gist of it and want to read my honest review, you can find that here – Four Minute Books readers get an exclusive 20% discount on Blinkist! You can learn more about that here.

If you’re feeling extra funky today, check out the rather boring formalities, like my privacy policy or the affiliate stuff (I actually made that one fun). Of course you can also suggest a book. But before you do any of that, I urge you to do what Four Minute Books is all about: Read some book summaries!

My personal favorite is Choose Yourself by James Altucher.

Let’s get smarter in 4 minutes!

I hope this website will help you become smarter, fitter, better and everything you aspire to be.

Thank you for being here.


Niklas Goeke