Headway App Review 2024: Is It the Best Book Summary App?

Headway App Review Cover

Headway is a book summary app with over 25 million users, launched in 2019 by a team in the Ukraine. Beyond its 15-minute summaries, the app focuses on gamifying your learning with challenges, achievements, flash cards, visual explainers, and spaced repetition. In today’s comprehensive Headway app review, we’ll answer all your questions about this learning tool, such as…

How does Headway compare to other book summary apps? Is it any different or is it the same as other options? Better or worse? Is it cheaper or more expensive? What are its pros and cons? Find out in this review if Headway fits the bill for you or if you’re better off using other book summary apps.

Headway App Review Summary (FAQ)

Is Headway good enough?

Headway is a unique book summary app that not only provides book summaries but also allows you to recall, remember, and implement the knowledge from books with features like spaced repetition, daily insights, and challenges. Therefore, if you’re looking for an app that not only summarizes books but helps you apply the information from them, Headway could be the app for you.

How much does Headway cost?

Headway costs $8.99 a week, $14.99 a month, or $89.99 a year. It also has a free version and a 7-day free trial (only via the app) for premium access. Headway offers a business plan as well. You can find more about it in the pricing section of this review.

How is the app experience and interface of Headway?

Headway has a great interface and provides a seamless experience. It feels very interactive and fun to use especially while engaging with features like Daily Insights, Visual Explainers, and Spaced Repetition. But even with these unique features, the app remains simple and easy to use.

What platforms is Headway available on?

Headway is available on iOS and Android. It doesn’t have a web version at the time of writing the review.

What are some alternatives to Headway?

Some alternative book summary apps are Blinkist, Instaread, getAbstract, and Shortform. You can read their reviews on our website to decide which app is best for you.

What are the pros and cons of Headway?

Headway has some unique features that make it stand out from its alternatives. These features help you stay engaged, retain, and apply the information you learn from the books. However, some other apps provide more in-depth, engaging summaries than Headway. Check out the Headway vs Blinkist section to find out more.

If this is all you’ve wanted to know, and you now want to try Headway at a whopping 46% off, you can use the button below to get started. This is the lowest pricing for Headway on the internet. No other partner has such an exclusive deal. By getting it, you’ll also support Four Minute Books at no extra cost to you, as we’ll receive a small commission for referring you. Thank you! If not, read on for the rest of our detailed Headway review.

Headway Overview

Headway is a book summary app that focuses on self-improvement. It not only gives you book summaries but also helps you implement and remember the information learned from the books.

They have over 1,500 titles in their library. Each book summary is about 15 minutes long. They aim to provide a platform for fun and easy growth. That’s why they use gamification elements such as achievements, progress tracking, streak record, and challenges to keep the user engaged and make it fun to keep on learning and growing.

They also have the feature of spaced repetition where you can save highlights from the summaries and revise them to make them ingrained in your memory.

How Does Headway Work?

Headway does a great job of personalizing your experience according to your interests, goals, and personality. It lets you take an onboarding quiz to recommend content and challenges.

After you take the onboarding quiz, you can see the following tabs as you explore the app:

1. The Discover Tab

The Discover tab has the following sections:

Headway Review

  • Streak counter

Shows you the consecutive number of days you have reached your goal of reading or listening to book summaries.

  • Today for you

Find personalized recommended summaries based on your likes and goals.

  • Challenges

Headway Challenges

Headway Challenges 2

Challenges are based on different topics that you can take part in. When you do challenges, you read key insights from books on the same topic for several days in a streak. These challenges include:

  • Self-Discovery (5 days)
  • Success (28 days)
  • Wealth (28 days)
  • Achievements (28 days)
  • Close-Knit Family (14 days)
  • Modern Parenting (20 days)
  • Sex Life (12 days)
  • Wellness (21 days)
  • Healthy Relationships (14 days)
  • Joyful Life (28 days)
  • Self-Confidence (14 days)
  • Emotional Intelligence (7 days)
  • Real Man (33 days)
  • Empowered Woman (33 days)
  • Daily insights

Headway Daily Insights

Story-like insights from different books that you can share on social media and remember by making a spaced-repetition card of them.

  • Collections

Headway Collection

Collections of books based on various goals, authors, curators, best books on a topic, etc. These include:

  • Playlist to Jog Your Brain
  • ADHD Series
  • War in Ukraine
  • How to Befriend Tech
  • Top 10 to Help You Stress Less
  • Brené Brown: Embrace Vulnerability and Rise Strong
  • On Planet Earth: Shaping Our Future Together
  • Best Titles for High-Achieving Women
  • Top 10 to Know History Inside Out
  • Books You Loved in 2021
  • Best True Crime Stories to Curdle Your Blood
  • LGBTQIA+ Experiences & Perspectives
  • Bill Gates’ Bookshelf
  • Melinda Gates’ Bookshelf
  • Meghan Markle’s Bookshelf
  • Mark Zuckerberg’s Bookshelf
  • How to Talk Politics
  • Ultimate Sports Fan Guide
  • Nonfiction Classic
  • Modern Philosophy Basics to Find Meaning
  • Top 10 to Launch a Unicorn Startup
  • Top 10 to Become a High-Performer
  • Top 10 to Blow Up Your Brand
  • Top 10 to Get Smarter
  • Best Reads of 2021
  • Best Reads of 2020
  • Best Reads of 2019
  • Categories

Headway Categories

Headway Categories 2

Books are sorted under different topics to make it easy to find the books you may be looking for. These include:

  • Self-Growth
  • Productivity
  • Happiness
  • Business & Career
  • Money & Investments
  • Leadership
  • Negotiation
  • Love & Sex
  • Health
  • Sports & Fitness
  • Society & Tech
  • Personalities
  • Spirituality
  • Family
  • Home & Environment
  • Fiction
  • Visual explainers

Headway Visual Explainer

Headway Visual Explainer 2

Visual summaries of a few books that feel more interactive, more digestible, and prettier than plain text. So far, they only have made a visual explainer for a few books including:

  • The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck
  • Why We Sleep
  • Deep Work
  • Atomic Habits
  • How to Talk to Anyone
  • Latest summaries

Headway Book Summaries

Find the latest summaries that Headway releases in this section.

  • Intelligence test quiz

Headway Intelligence Quiz

Headway Personalization

A quiz that helps you understand different intelligence types and how you function. Based on your results, it gives you more book recommendations.

  • Roll the dice

If you’re not already reading a summary, you can roll the dice to get a random book summary which you may decide to start reading. If you’re currently in the middle of reading a summary, it will show that book and let you continue it instead of showing you the “roll the dice” feature.

  • Search

Use the search feature on the top-right corner to find a particular book or look for books based on keywords.

2. The Library Tab

The Library tab further has two tabs:

Headway Library

  • Summaries

Displays all the book summaries you have started reading or finished reading. It does so under two sections namely “Continue” and “Finished”.

Headway Library 2

  • Highlights

Find all the highlights you’ve made while reading in one place. It shows the highlights book by book.

3. The Repetition Tab

Headway Spaced Repetition

Headway Repetition

Practice spaced repetition from the excerpts you choose to remember while reading the book summaries. It makes flashcards to help you retain information. When you go through those cards, it asks you if you remember the information. Based on your answer, it determines the display frequency of that particular card.

When you do this every day, the compound effect of this technique helps you retain a lot of knowledge and potentially reminds you of the things to implement in your life.

4. My Profile Tab

The Profile tab has the following sections:

Headway Profile

  • My Achievements

A list of all achievements you can get in the app. Whatever milestone you have achieved shows as colored and whatever is still locked is displayed as black and white.

  • Daily goal

Tracks the daily goal set by you based on the number of minutes you have decided to read daily. It also shows your current streak of consecutive days you have met your goal and your best-ever streak. You can always adjust your plan as you find less or more time to read in your life.

  • My Headway

Gives you a percentage of the number of pages and book summaries you have read compared to other users of the app.

  • Settings

Headway Settings

Upon tapping the gear icon on the top-right corner, you can change the language of the app. Currently, the app is available in English and Spanish. You can also read the privacy policy, terms of use, and subscription terms, switch notifications on or off, delete your account, log out, or contact support.

Thank you for reading this far! Ready to jump in and try Headway? Use the button below to get started and snag a massive 46% off your first year, the lowest pricing for Headway you’ll find anywhere on the web. You’ll even support Minute Books at no extra cost (we’re an affiliate). If you want to know more first, read on for the remainder of our review.

Headway Features

When you open a title, you can learn more about the book before diving into it. It will show you what’s inside, the things you will learn, the key points, and info about the author. You can also download them for offline access.

Headway Book

Headway Book 2

Once you start reading a book, you can read or listen to it.

  1. Reading

Headway Reading

Each book summary is divided into Key Points with further elaboration on those points. Each point is explained concisely with some quotes from the book that you can also share.

  1. Listening

Headway Listening

You can listen to the summaries at varying speeds ranging from 0.5x to 2x. It’s possible to rewind 5 seconds at a time or skip 10 seconds ahead.

  1. Formatting

Headway Formatting

You can change the background color to black or white and you can change the text size ranging from -60% to 150% of the original text size.

  1. Highlighting

Headway Highlighting

You can select text to highlight or share. The highlights are then saved in the Library tab where you can read them anytime in one place.

  1. Remembering

Headway Remembering

While reading, you will find some excerpts from the book that you can remember. It then saves it as a flashcard for you which you can repeat in the Repetition tab as explained earlier.

Curious to discover all the great books and visual guides on Headway? Use the button below to sign up and get 46% off, our exclusive, and the lowest possible Headway pricing. You’ll support this site at no extra cost in the process by automatically letting them know we’ve referred you, and we’ll get a small commission. Read on for a selection of their most popular books.

What Are Some Popular Books on Headway?

Headway has a large collection of books and they keep adding new titles regularly. Here are some of the books that Headway acknowledged as best picks:

  1. The Infinite Game: Simon Sinek shows you how to approach life as an infinite game. He also uses game theory to explain how organizations can create lasting success that will outlive their generations. This tidbit is not just for businesses; it is also effective for personal success.
  2. Think Again: Adam Grant invites us to anchor our sense of self in flexibility rather than consistency to position ourselves for success at work and happiness in life. He walks readers through the process of how rethinking happens so that we can begin to open our minds. He teaches how we can encourage others to rethink what they know and create lifelong learners’ communities.
  3. The Body Keeps the Score: Bessel Van Der Kolk explains how people experience trauma and what feelings they battle. He teaches ways to support them as well as how to overcome hurdles.
  4. Range: David Epstein makes a compelling case for embracing experimentation and diverse experience. He discovered that generalists, not specialists, are primed to excel. This is especially true for fields that are complex and unpredictable. Generalists usually find their path late, and they juggle many interests instead of focusing on one. This makes them more agile, more creative and gives them the ability to make connections their more specialized peers can’t discern.
  5. Ego Is the Enemy: Ryan Holiday draws on a vast array of stories and examples, from literature to philosophy to history on how egos can hold us back. He explains how it is possible to reach the highest levels of power and success by conquering your ego.
  6. The Psychology of Money: Morgan Housel argues that doing well with money doesn’t have much to do with knowledge as it has to do with behavior. And behavior is one of the hardest things to teach. But he goes deep into it, showing readers little behavioral changes that will greatly impact their net worth.
  7. Daring Greatly: Dr. Brené Brown makes a case for being proudly vulnerable and seeing it as a strength instead of a weakness. In her opinion, daring greatly will keep us from falling from the pressure of scarcity our society exerts constantly on us. We would see no need to try to keep up with our society’s expectations. We would just enjoy being our authentic selves, warts and all.
  8. The Book of Joy: Dalai Lama and Archbishop Tutu explain that joy, like any other emotion, can be nurtured. They clarified that the human mind is a system of numerous emotional channels and that the mind has to make conscious efforts to select which emotions to use in any event. They teach how to live a life filled with an intense feeling of joy and pleasure that is independent of any situation or circumstance.
  9. The Happiness Advantage: Shawn Achor draws on his own research to show us how we can change our mindset to become more positive in order to give ourselves an edge to be successful. He teaches how to become happier at work, and most importantly, how to achieve the extraordinary in your life and work by adopting a more positive and happier mindset.
  10. Homo Deus: Prof. Yuval Noah Harari silences the popular apocalyptic predictions and paints a career picture of humanity’s chances in the third millennium and future. He argues that the human race developed to the point that it created gods and will, in turn, become gods themselves.

How Much Does Headway Cost? (Pricing)

Headway comes with a 7-day free trial if you sign up via the app. You can pick a plan from $8.99 a week, $14.99 a month, and $89.99 a year. The price may vary depending on your location or a promo campaign. There is also a free version of the app which gives you access to one book summary a day and story-like daily insights.

Headway offers a business plan which gives you the same access as the personal plan, but it’s for those who want to get it for their teams. The price varies depending on the size of the team. Here are some examples of different prices for different-sized teams:

  • $225 a year for 5 members
  • $450 a year for 10 members
  • $1125 a year for 25 members
  • $2250 a year for 50 members

If you buy a plan for your team, you get the plan for yourself for free. All that said, you can get a whopping 46% off your first year on the personal plan if you use our exclusive, lowest-pricing-anywhere Headway affiliate link. You can redeem our exclusive Headway app discount code below.

The cheapest, fastest, and easiest way to start learning from great books on Headway is to secure 46% off through our affiliate link.

Headway Reviews by Users

At the time of writing, Headway has received a 3.5 out of 5 rating on Google Play (69,000+ ratings) and a 4.7 out of 5 rating on the App Store (81,000+ ratings). Here are some of the top reviews:

  • “If you want to improve your life or work on yourself, development, relationships, career, habits, whatever the case may be, then this is absolutely a must-have app.”
  • “Getting detailed summaries and boosting your intelligence levels from emotional intelligence, social skills, and ways to improve your mental health, crush your goals, and create more happiness is amazing.”
  • “Great app, no matter what your self-improvement goals might be. Interesting topics to read or listen to, on many different self-help goals you may have put forth for yourself to work on and educate yourself on. Money management, better time management, people skills, family issues, healing from childhood trauma, improving your self-esteem and your personal relationships. There are many different things that I think everyone can find something valuable to learn from on this app. It’s a bit pricey, but knowledge is a great investment in yourself and your future, I think.”
  • “It’s given me the ability to maximize the use of my driving time by getting a quick motivational speech on my way to work every morning. Very good app for those seeking growth.”
  • “This app has become a daily essential for me on my journey towards personal development. The spaced repetition feature has been particularly useful in reinforcing important concepts and reminding me of key points over time.”

If you want to read more reviews, you can do so at the links below:

Read Headway Reviews on Google Play »

Read Headway Reviews on App Store »

Headway Achievements

The Headway app has come a long way in establishing a good reputation:

  • Featured by Apple and Google as App of the Day in the US, the UK, Ireland, New Zealand, and Australia.
  • The Headway app was showcased as the App of the Day on the US App Store four times in a row in 2023.
  • In April 2023, Headway got an Editors’ Choice badge from Apple for excellence in design, user experience, innovation, and overall quality.
  • The app is in the top 10 of the Free Education in App Store and Google Play across its core markets (USA, UK, Canada, Australia)
  • Featured in 140+ countries in categories like Popular Apps to Try, This Week’s Favorite, Learn More Every Day, Read More, Achieve More, and New Apps We Love.
  • Apple Stores in 35+ countries have the Headway app pre-installed on the showrooms’ devices.
  • The Headway App’s Illustrations Became the Best According to Novum Design Award 2022

Headway vs Blinkist

Blinkist is one of the most famous book summary apps. We’ve written an in-depth review for that too, of course. We also have an entire post comparing Blinkist vs Headway specifically. If you want to dive deeper, check those out, but here are the key differences between Blinkist and Headway:

  • Blinkist has over 7,500 titles whereas Headway has over 1,500 titles. 
  • Headway focuses on self-development books while Blinkist covers various genres. 
  • Headway uses gamification and spaced repetition to keep users engaged and make learning fun whereas Blinkist does not.
  • Blinkist has Shortcasts (podcast summaries), Spaces (where you can discuss with others), and Guides (with activities and exercises) whereas Headway does not.
  • Blinkist also offers a desktop version whereas Headway only has the phone version.
  • Blinkist has the better overall quality of the book summaries while Headway has better visuals and interactivity in their visual explainers.

If you still aren’t sure which one is right for you, you can enroll for free trials on both apps. Once you read a few book summaries on each app, you’ll know which one is the best for you.

If you want to try either app with a free 7-day trial and secure a 30%+ discount, use the buttons below and support us at no extra cost to you. Thank you, and always keep learning!

Conclusion: Is Headway Worth It?

Headway offers some unique features that other book summary apps don’t offer. The quality of the book summaries is good but is not as in-depth as some other book summary apps. But if your priority is self-improvement, Headway could help you build a habit of reading book summaries and have fun while you’re at it.

Headway could be for you if:

  • You’re mainly looking to read book summaries that will help you grow personally and professionally.
  • You like to read concise book summaries as opposed to summaries that are too long.
  • You enjoy gamification features like streaks, challenges, achievements, and progress tracking. 
  • You would like to use spaced repetition to remember what you learn from the book summaries.
  • You dig story-like insights and visual explainers (to read the summaries that are available in that format).
  • You would like personalized book recommendations based on your quiz results and the book summaries you read as you go.

Headway has positioned itself as a great book summary app with some unique features that make it stand out from the rest. If it piques your interest, we would recommend you start a 7-day trial to test it out and see if it suits you. If you get hooked, it’s for you.

Thank you for reading our Headway app review! We hope you found it helpful. If you like what you’ve seen and are excited to sign up, simply use the button below. You’ll get 46% off your first year, a discount impossible to get anywhere else. We’ll  also get a small commission for referring you at no extra cost to you. Thank you!

The 8 Best Free & Paid Alternatives to Blinkist (2024)

Blinkist Alternative: The 8 Best Free & Paid Alternatives to Blinkist Cover

What are the best alternatives to Blinkist? If you want to know what other book summary services are out there and how they compare to the German industry giant, you’ve come to the right place.

In this short overview, we’ve listed the 8 best Blinkist alternatives, both free and paid. We know there are countless options out there, but we only focused on the most relevant ones that stand out in terms of quality, summary style, or sheer volume of summaries.

We’ll start with the paid services, because if you’re looking for an alternative to Blinkist, chances are, you’re either willing to or already spending some money. If you only want to look at free services, feel free to skip to those.

Use the table of contents below to jump to any service or category that interests you in particular. Here are the best Blinkist alternatives!

In one aspect, all paid book summary services are the same: They charge a monthly or annual subscription fee. In exchange, you get access to their entire library. For some of them, that library extends beyond book summaries, for example with courses, videos, or podcast summaries.

Some apps offer multiple or even multimedia formats, but almost all of them have a distinct style and structure they stick to. More and more, what you’re paying for is becoming an all-around learning experience. Here are 4 of the best ones, ranked in order of how much we like them compared to Blinkist.

1. Shortform

Best Blinkist Alternatives #1 (Paid)

Shortform focuses on depth over breadth. Their “book guides” are incredibly detailed. Think 20-30 minutes in reading or listening time. They want to make sure you get the absolute most out of any book. That’s why each guide comes with relevant context and interesting insights from other, related books along the way. They also offer plenty of exercises and reflection points. Recently, they even created an AI extension that lets you summarize anything in one click.*

Shortform is an interesting alternative to most other services because it offers a level of depth no one else does. If you’re ready to go deeper, spend more time per book, and want to squeeze out every bit from each title, this might be the right Blinkist alternative for you.

  • Number of Summaries: 1,000+
  • Formats: Text, Audio
  • Price per Year: $197 when billed annually
  • Available on: iOS, Android, and Web

« Read Review Try the App* »

2. Uptime

Best Blinkist Alternatives #2 (Paid)

Uptime has created their own, unique, 5-minute “Knowledge Hack” format. You tap through a Hack the way you would browse an Instagram story. It includes text, audio, images, and even the occasional video snippet where relevant. They also summarize TED talks and other content.

Uptime is probably the most multimedia book summary service of them all. It uses different formats well without throwing too much at you at the same time. If you’re looking for an app that’s fun, quick, and engaging, maybe Uptime is the one for you.

  • Number of Summaries: 4,000+
  • Formats: Multimedia
  • Price per Year: $79.99 when billed annually
  • Available on: iOS, Android, and Web

« Read Review Try the App* »

3. Headway

Best Blinkist Alternatives #3 (Paid)

Headway has mastered bite-sizing and gamification. When you sign up, they ask you some questions to personalize your content selection and daily learning goals. You can track the latter right in the app, and then fill your “learning meter” by consuming the content in various formats. Their visual guides are the strongest, I think, though they don’t have as many of those as normal summaries.

Headway might be the most likely book summary app to help you develop a daily learning habit. While the content is fun and easy to consume, the gamification and reminders are what truly makes the difference here. If you want an app that’ll keep you coming back, try this one.

  • Number of Summaries: 1,000+
  • Formats: Text, Audio
  • Price per Year: $89.99 when billed annually
  • Available on: iOS, Android, and Web (limited functionality)

« Read Review Try the App* »

4. getAbstract

Best Blinkist Alternatives #4 (Paid)

getAbstract is one of the oldest book summary services. It was launched in 1999. It is also one of the biggest, with over 25,000 summaries of books, articles, videos, podcasts, and more. The service aims to help professionals learn everything they need to excel in their careers in 15 minutes a day, but it also supports individuals working on personal growth. Many companies license their large catalog for their teams, and they even offer a custom summary service for knowledge created within firms.

getAbstract is a good choice for those looking for a service that is time-tested, consistent, and has a big library. If you want to focus your learning around advancing in your career, this could be a great option.

  • Number of Summaries: 5,000+ books and 25,000+ items total
  • Formats: Text, Audio
  • Price per Year: $299 when billed annually ($99 for students)
  • Available on: iOS, Android, and Web

« Read Review Try the App* »

Our Recommendation

So, out of all these services, what is our top recommendation? You might be surprised to find out that it’s…

1. Blinkist

Best Blinkist Alternatives #9 (Paid)

I’ve used book summary services for almost a decade. Also, since we review and promote many of them here at Four Minute Books, I’m always pretty up to date on the industry. You might call me crazy, but as someone with that kind of experience, I’ll tell you that all in all, Blinkist still offers the best value for the money. The other services are either much more expensive or, if they aren’t, can’t keep up with Blinkist’s overall offering, ease-of-use, and speed of development.

« Read Our In-Depth Review Try Blinkist* Free for 7 Days »

2. Shortform

Best Blinkist Alternatives #1 (Paid)

Our all-time favorite aside, Shortform is a close runner-up. It is a true Blinkist alternative in the sense that it takes a different approach to book summaries altogether. It has a higher price, but if you consider its summarizing AI*, the extensive context of each summary, and the depth, it is a great tool for advanced readers and learners. If you want to “graduate” from reading only short summaries on Blinkist or balance what you learn there with more details, Shortform is a great add-on.

« Read Our In-Depth Review Try Shortform* Free for 5 Days »

Honorable Mentions

There’s a sea of other apps we could have included, but only the following ones somewhat stand out. While they are also valid Blinkist alternatives, we found them not quite on the same level as the above four services. Most of them are either too similar to another service, can’t compete on an essential metric, like library size, have a different focus, or are simply not as well-maintained.

That said, every book summary service is trying to help us read and learn more, and that’s a noble goal. Perhaps one of these is just right for your personal taste! Here are our honorable mentions in the paid category:

  • Instaread.* This is one of the OG book summary apps. It has a similar look and feel to Blinkist and is reading- and listening-focused. They also have long lists of insights and quotes for each book, but their catalog only has about 2,500 summaries compared to Blinkist’s 6,500+ titles. You can read our full review of Instaread here.
  • Readitfor.me. This service has been around for a while. Their focus is on video summaries, and those are well-made and impressive. However, Steve runs this business mostly by himself, and so the catalog is small at around 300 summaries. It is also focused on leaders and executives, so most of the books are about business.
  • Readingraphics. The idea to turn books into infographics is interesting, but while the infographics themselves are good, all in all, the service is too expensive for what it offers, I think. The catalog is not huge, and the overall offering just isn’t polished enough.
  • Imprint (formerly Lucid). This app seemingly took the world by storm when it appeared. It claims to have millions of users, but it is very similar to Headway, only with a smaller catalog and fewer features. Personally, I also find the combination of text and images they use on the screen at the same time confusing, but if visual-ish learning is your thing, you might want to try this one!
  • Deepstash. At over 2 million users, this app also made it big, but I’m not exactly sure what its focus is. In some videos, I see it touted as “a social media network that focuses on what matters.” On their website, they pitch primarily based on ideas curated from books and other sources. The visuals and features are cool, but I have a hunch this one is heavily robot-based behind the scenes. Maybe just try it for yourself and see if you like it!
  • Scribd. This one is a catch-all for all kinds of content, from research papers to full-length books to magazines. It’s a bit like Netflix for reading, but it’s not very focused. Nor do they edit the content for your understanding. You can read our in-depth review here.

Free Blinkist Alternatives: The 4 Best Free Book Summary Services

In Germany, we have a saying: “Nothing is free, except death — and that will cost your life.” What it means is that everything has a price, even if it is hidden. When it comes to free book summaries, the people and companies providing them must make a tradeoff: Do they offer an amateur experience in their spare time or go more professional and monetize via secondary means?

For example, many bloggers publish a few book summaries on their sites, but there’s no structure or consistency. Perhaps they do them for fun or are actually selling consulting services or something else that’s only loosely related to books. Their blog might not have ads, but their summary effort is also not very professional.

Others, like we here at Four Minute Books, monetize via ads, sponsorships, and affiliate partners. In exchange, you also get a better experience, like a big library and new summaries every week, despite the content still being free. It’s easy to complain about ads and other sales pitches, but if it allows you to access a wealth of knowledge for free, perhaps the model is not so bad.

In any case, it is worth keeping this tradeoff in mind when looking at free Blinkist alternatives. Here are our 4 favorite ones, ranked in order of how much we like them.

1. Four Minute Books

Best Blinkist Alternative #5 (Free)

Four Minute Books is, to my best knowledge, the biggest collection of free book summaries on the internet. Each summary shares 3 valuable lessons you can learn in just 4 minutes, and while that makes the summaries “incomplete,” it keeps them fun and unique. I like to think that Four Minute Books is the most likely place to make you pick up and read more actual books, as the summaries function as teasers that get you to want more.

As a Blinkist alternative, Four Minute Books is fast and, with only 3 lessons per book, allows you to “screen” any book you might want to read in full or even as a longer summary on any other service. All summaries are manually written and combine personal experiences with ideas from the books. This way, you get more than “just” what’s in the book, all while leaving plenty of room for you to dive deeper later.

  • Number of Summaries: 1,200+
  • Formats: Text, Audio (Paid), Video via Youtube (Some)
  • Available on: Web

« Read a 3rd Party Review Browse All Summaries »

2. Philosopher’s Notes by Heroic (formerly Optimize)

Best Blinkist Alternative #6 (Free)

Philosopher’s Notes used to be part of Brian Johnson’s paid Optimize program, which had over 250,000 members. After changing his company into a B Corp (a public benefit, for-profit organization), however, he integrated them into his new Heroic app — and made them free of charge!

Brian’s Philosopher’s Notes are some of the best, most detailed free book summaries out there. I believe he wrote all 600 himself, though I’m not 100% sure on that. Each one comes with a nicely formatted PDF and an mp3, sometimes even a video version. If you’re looking for high-quality summaries of some of the best books, this is a great stop.

  • Number of Summaries: 600+
  • Formats: Text, Audio, Video (Some)
  • Available on: iOS, Android, and Web

« Read a 3rd Party Review Browse All Notes »

3. The Power Moves

Best Blinkist Alternative #7 (Free)

The Power Moves is the only other blog-style site that releases free book summaries in numbers. Lucio is a disciplined and dedicated guy, and I believe he still writes all his summaries himself. He always prioritizes objectivity and quality, and he has released over 500 free summaries to date. While the site’s focus lies on psychology, communication, and interpersonal relationships, there are still plenty of business, productivity, leadership and other books in their library.

The Power Moves is a Blinkist alternative with comparable summary-length and format. Lucio tries to pull out the main takeaways of each book, no fluff. He also reviews each book with some pros and cons at the end. Especially if you’re interested in power dynamics, this is a great resource.

  • Number of Summaries: 500+
  • Formats: Text
  • Available on: Web

« Read a 3rd Party Review Browse All Summaries »

4. Nat Eliason’s Book Notes

Best Blinkist Alternative #8 (Free)

Nat Eliason’s Book Notes are the winner in the “loose-but-interesting-highlights” category. Many bloggers export their highlights from their Kindle reads and publish them as “summaries” on their websites. Nat also does this, but he often adds his own notes as well as high-level thoughts on the book. Sometimes, he even records an entire podcast episode discussing a single book or publishes a video review on Youtube. Finally, at almost 300 books, he offers the biggest note collection of this kind.

Nat’s Notes are great for picking books to read but also for learning a few interesting tidbits in a short amount of time. He rates each book on a scale of 1 to 10, too. If you love browsing inspiring ideas to find your next big read, his collection is an awesome place to start.

  • Number of Summaries: ~300
  • Formats: Text, Audio via Podcast (Some), Video via Youtube (Some)
  • Available on: Web

« Read a 3rd Party Review Browse All Notes »

Our Recommendation

Best Blinkist Alternative #5 (Free)

Anyone who tells you they’re completely unbiased is either naive or a liar. At Four Minute Books, of course we think Four Minute Books is the best free alternative to Blinkist. It’s also the biggest collection of free book summaries on the web, period.

We always try to strike a good balance between valuable insights from great books and simply fun, unique, engaging writing. We hope we succeed at least most of the time, and that, if you’re ever looking for free book summaries, you’ll make us the first place you’ll start. Thank you for being a reader, an here’s to many more free summaries!

« Read a 3rd Party Review Browse All Summaries »

Honorable Mentions

As in the paid category, there was no shortage of options, but only few of them deserve your attention. While not as big, comprehensive, or focused on non-fiction, the following free Blinkist alternatives might also be worth checking out:

  • Actionable Books. I remember being shocked at the size of their 1,000+ free summary catalog back when we started. I’m even more shocked to see that, 8 years later, we’ve overtaken them. While it’s still a big library, their summaries all share only 1 big idea and then 2 more random insights. The format is even more limited than ours and less coherent.
  • Derek Sivers. This quiet writer and brilliant mind has published his notes (not highlights) along with ratings for each of the 380+ books he’s read so far. They’re still just loose thoughts, but this is a cool collection.
  • Sam Thomas Davies. Sam’s highlights are more comprehensive than most. He also summarizes each book in 3 sentences and shares 5 big takeaways. That said, there are only 130+ books in his library.
  • SparkNotes. This is the most extensive collection of free summaries of textbooks, classic literature, and anything else high school or college students might need. Also good for any lifelong learner!

Conclusion: The 8 Best Blinkist Alternatives in a Nutshell

Okay, let’s quickly recap the 8 best alternatives to Blinkist on this list:


  1. Shortform*
  2. Uptime*
  3. Headway*
  4. getAbstract*


  1. Four Minute Books
  2. Philosopher’s Notes
  3. The Power Moves
  4. Nat Eliason’s Book Notes

Did we miss any important ones? Which one’s your personal favorite? Let us know on X, and wherever you may do it, enjoy discovering more book summaries!

Other Reviews

Looking for our other reviews of the most popular book summary apps, tools, and services? Here’s a list of all the reviews we’ve published so far:

Blinkist vs Headway: Which One Is Best For You?

Blinkist vs Headway Cover

“Summary summary, on my phone, which one is the fastest to consume?” Snow White jokes aside, with dozens of book summary services out there, you might have a hard time picking the learning app that’s best for you. If you’re looking for a quick take on Blinkist vs Headway, you’ve come to the right place!

In this comparison piece, we’ll take a look at both services and compare them with regards to library size, quality of the content, usability, differences in features, and pricing. To quickly and easily navigate this post, simply use the table of contents below! Click on whichever section interests you the most, and start learning.

Blinkist vs Headway: Comparison Table

Both Blinkist and Headway have book summaries as their core offering. You can either read or listen to them, and both apps structure their summaries around 5-15 key insights. Here’s a quick comparison table to show you where they are similar, and where they differ.

  Blinkist Headway
Content Library 7,500+ book summaries (fiction and non-fiction), as well as guides, collections, and shortcasts (podcast summaries) 1,500+ summaries of non-fiction books
Subscription mode Basic and Premium Basic and Premium
Trial Free 7-day trial Free 7-day trial
Free plan One free daily pick and access to selected collections One free summary a day and 10 daily insights (short tips from various books)
Premium Subscription
  • Unlimited access to the entire library
  • Exclusive expert guides and collections
  • 2 for 1, share an extra premium account for free
  • Send reads to Kindle
  • Sync highlights to Evernote
  • Personalized recommendations
  • Ability to highlight and save key insights
  • Download titles for offline access
  • Unlimited access to 1,500+ summaries
  • Visual explainers, challenges, and collections
  • Personalized recommendations
  • Ability to highlight and save key insights
  • Download titles for offline access
Unique Features
  • Shortcasts (podcast summaries)
  • Spaces where you can share, recommend and discuss titles with anyone
  • Guides with activities, exercises & infographics
  • Discounts on full-length audiobooks
  • Challenges
  • Achievements
  • Visual explainers
  • Spaced repetition with custom flash cards
  • iOS and Android mobile devices
  • Desktop
  • Kindle integration
  • Offline access (premium users)
  • iOS and Android mobile devices
  • Web app (limited functionality)
  • Annual plan costs $99.99 per year
  • Monthly plan is $15.99
  • Annual plan costs $89.99 per year
  • Monthly plan is $14.99
Refund policy
  • 14-day money back guarantee
  • None for subscriptions purchased on the website, but if you bought inside the app, you may be able to get one by contacting Apple or Google support
  • English
  • German
  • Spanish
  • English
  • Spanish
  • App Store 4.8 ⭐️ (115,000 reviews)
  • Google Play 4.5 ⭐️ (112,000 reviews)
  • App Store 4.7 ⭐️ (81,000 reviews).
  • Google Play 3.5 ⭐️ (69,000 reviews)

Selection: Blinkist’s Library Is 4x Bigger Than Headway’s

Given that Blinkist is a lot older than Headway, with a bigger and more experienced team, it is perhaps unsurprising that their library outnumbers Headway’s by a factor of 4:1. Generally, I believe any book summary service with more than 1,000 titles probably offers enough ground to cover. As a beginner, you can read a different title every day for almost 3 years!

Once you’re a more seasoned non-fiction reader, however, quantity may be a deciding factor. While Headway focuses mainly on self-help and productivity, they do cover new bestsellers quickly. But as of right now, they only offer 7 titles in the fiction section, for example. With Blinkist, you’ll never run out of options. Even in collections and guides that rely on books you’ve seen before, you’ll likely discover a few new picks along the way.

That said, Headway’s visual guides and collections of 10 daily insights feel like a great counterweight to the smaller selection. They add depth and breadth to your experience. Ultimately, however, Blinkist is the clear winner in the selection department.

Quality: Blinkist Is Strong on Fundamentals & Polish, Headway Wins on Visuals

I’ve been a Blinkist user for almost 10 years, and I remember at some point thinking their summaries were a bit “dry.” Over the last few years, however, they’ve really stepped up their quality game.

Some summaries are more poetic in their language, others are motivating in tone, others again are more descriptive — whatever the theme of the book, the team tries to match it. The audios have also become much more lively, with speakers (all human, by the way!) striking different tones in different sections and little sound effects to emphasize important moments.

Sure, every now and then, you come across a summary that feels a bit rushed. All in all, however, Blinkist’s text and audio summaries are very high-quality, and they do a great job of maintaining that quality across the board.

Headway as a company launched in 2019. As such, they initially had the task of catching up to the competition. Selection is the most obvious and easiest way to do that. But if you summarize 1,000+ books very quickly, your quality will suffer.

Headway’s summaries aren’t bad by any means, but I do feel they are a bit more bland and factual than Blinkist’s. Whereas Blinkist has already learned that you need stories, human elements, and quirky bits around the edges to make content shine, Headway still needs to make that shift.

That said, when it comes to using visuals and adding little, non-content details to the experience, Headway really shines. All the summaries they have turned into visual guides, for example, are phenomenal. Consuming those is a lot more fun and memorable than reading the pure-text ones. Similarly, the highlighted pull quotes in the text summaries are a nice touch, and the gamification features work really well.

It’s a bit sad that the text summaries in Headway lack some of the fun spirit the rest of the app clearly has, but it’s not a major dealbreaker by any means. Overall, however, Blinkist takes the quality crown, because fundamentals matter, and Blinkist has those down.

Do Blinkist and Headway Use AI to Write/Read Their Summaries?

At this point, you might be wondering if either company relies on AI to write and/or read their summaries. Here’s my general take on that, and it applies to literally all book summary services: Assume everyone is using AI, but don’t let anyone get away with relying on AI alone.

Blinkist’s CEO Holger Seim said in a podcast that the team is embracing AI in various ways, including getting new summary drafts out faster. That said, you can clearly feel the human work that went into each title.

I don’t know whether Headway relies on AI to generate their summaries, but I assume they take a similar approach. Likewise, however, you can definitely feel a strong human touch on each summary.

Neither service’s summaries feel robotic in tone, and even though Headway initially relied on AI text-to-speech for their audio feature, most of the summaries I’ve listened to are now read by humans, just like on Blinkist.

Usability: Two Simple Apps With Slightly Different Intentions 

With thousands of hours of design expertise having gone into them, both apps are easy to use and highly intuitive. They each have just 3-4 navigation tabs at the bottom, and scrolling through their libraries and suggestions is simple enough. A tap here, a swipe there — every child can understand how to use these apps within a few minutes, and that’s great.

The only major caveat here is that Blinkist is fully available on both mobile and desktop, whereas Headspace’s web app is severely limited in functionality.

As for minor differences, Headway makes more use of the Instagram story-style feature, where you just tap through the content, similar to Uptime.

Overall, Headway relies more on visual appeal, encouragement, and a cutesy appearance. The app wants to gamify your learning. It is supposed to feel fun and effortless. You spend a bit of time in the app every day, fill your daily tracker, and that’s your “dose of learning” for the day.

Blinkist, on the other hand, feels more professional, polished, and geared towards outcomes. You can read and listen every day, for sure, but even if you just want a specific resource to solve a particular problem, Blinkist makes surfacing that knowledge really easy and efficient.

All in all, both apps are more than intuitive enough, and which one you prefer from a user experience standpoint is mostly a matter of taste.

Key Differences: Blinkist’s Curation & Sharing vs. Headway’s Gamification & Remembering

When it comes to the features that make each of these apps unique, you can see two different themes emerge:

Blinkist wants to help you learn the right thing at the right time, and then share that knowledge with the people around you.

Headway wants to gamify your reading so you can make daily learning a habit, and help you remember more of what you learn.

The apps’ unique features support these missions.

Blinkist’s Unique Features

  • Shortcasts are 5-15 minute summaries of often hour-long podcast interviews. Whatever the core theme and message, these will help you internalize them faster, minus the distractions.
  • Spaces are mini book clubs in which you can share any set of blinks with whoever you invite. Even if they don’t have Premium, they can read or listen — and you can all talk about what you learn together.
  • Guides organize blinks, shortcasts, exercises, and infographics in a certain order to help you achieve a specific outcome, like building better habits or getting more work done.
  • 2 for 1 allows you to gift an entire, full-scale premium membership to anyone you want, for free. Once again, it’s about learning more together.

Headway’s Unique Features

  • Streaks motivate you to spend at least a little bit of time learning every day.
  • Challenges are time-based curricula, making it more likely you’ll follow through on your learning goals for 5, 10, or even 30 days in a row.
  • Achievements celebrate your learning progress and will inspire you to do even more.
  • Visual explainers add another medium to how you can learn, thus making it easier to retain the lessons you pick up.
  • Spaced repetition with custom flash cards lets you pick specific highlights you’d like to remember. You can then practice them in increasingly large intervals until they enter your long-term memory.

Pricing: Near-Identical Terms, Risk-Free Trials, Different Discounts

Both apps offer a free tier which gives you access to one new book a day, only on that day. The selection is random. They also both offer a risk-free, 7-day trial with full access, which is a great way to try them both and decide which one works best for you.

Blinkist and Headway’s pricing plans are also almost identical. Headway charges $14.99 for its monthly plan, Blinkist charges $15.99. In both cases, paying monthly is almost twice as expensive as getting an annual membership — and that’s not including discounts.

Annual memberships go for $99.99 on Blinkist and $89.99 on Headway. Headway offers a 33% discount if you sign up right after your onboarding quiz* or 46% off if you use our exclusive partner coupon. Blinkist offers 35% off if you go through an exclusive partner like us. Both companies offer higher discounts on Black Friday, etc, but at around $60 for your first year, they’re both great deals year round.

Blinkist vs Headway: Which One Is Best For You? (Conclusion & Recommendation)

As a company, Blinkist is more than twice as old as Headway, and, ultimately, this difference is mirrored in their apps: Blinkist is the more mature product, suitable for beginners but extra empowering for advanced learners. For someone like me, who’s read many self-help books, knows the space, and doesn’t need a lot of handholding to regularly learn new things, it’s the ideal service. I can open the app, find what I need, and exit again. Or, I can casually browse and let myself be surprised.

Headways is slightly less polished but more gamified, making using the app a lot of fun — and thus great for beginners. At this point, I’m not in their target market, but I can see why someone first getting into nonfiction books might make this their app of choice. They could use Headway to build a daily learning habit, then subsidize (or substitute) that habit later with other products, like Blinkist.

In the end, both of these apps are affordable, offer a lot for the price, and will help you learn more in less time. That’s our main concern here at Four Minute Books, and that’s why we like both of them.

If you want to read our in-depth review of Blinkist, you can do so here. Want the full scoop on Headway? That’s coming soon!

And if you want to try either app with a free 7-day trial and secure a 30%+ discount, you can use the buttons below and support us at no extra cost to you. Thank you, and always keep learning!

Shortform Review 2024: Is Shortform Better Than Blinkist?

Shortform Review Cover

Shortform is a book summary service offering in-depth book guides to over 1,000 of the best non-fiction books. They focus on detail, logic, critical assessment of the information, and helping you implement what you learn via concrete exercises. In our comprehensive Shortform review, we’ll help answer any and all questions you might have about this app, like…

Is Shortform the best book summary app? How is it different from Blinkist? Is it better? Worse? How does it work? How much does it cost? And is it worth the price? In this review, we’ll find the answer to all these questions as we take an in-depth look at the book summary app Shortform.

Besides a quick tl;dr summary and in-depth walkthrough of the app, we’ll also show you the most popular books on their platform, how much a subscription costs, what users say, and how it compares to Blinkist, their main competitor. As usual, you can use our convenient table of contents below to jump to whatever section might interest you the most! Let’s go!

Shortform Review Summary (FAQ)

Is Shortform worth it?

Shortform is a great book summary app. They provide book guides instead of short summaries as they also give exercises and provide information from other sources and books. If you’re serious about reading and implementing books in less time, then it’s absolutely worth it. The AI browser extension that can summarize anything* and comes free with the service is a nice cherry on top.

Is Shortform free?

Shortform isn’t free, but they provide a 5-day free trial* where you can read any of the book guides in their catalog. You can also read two books for free – Deep Work and How to Win Friends and Influence People.

Does Shortform have a good user experience and interface?

Shortform is simple to use and navigate. However, it can be a bit slow and glitchy sometimes. We haven’t encountered any major issues and they are consistently working to improve the app experience. Once you get the hang of it, it should be pretty easy to use.

What platforms is Shortform available on?

Shortform is available on the Web, iOS, and Android. The interface is similar on every platform. We’ll take a look at how it works later in the review.

What are some Shortform alternatives?

There are many book summary apps like Instaread and getAbstract that we have reviewed before, but the biggest competitor is Blinkist. We will compare both in the Shortform vs Blinkist section of the review.

If this is all you’ve wanted to know, and you now want to start a free trial of Shortform right away, you can use the button below to get started. You’ll get full access for 5 days and 20% off if you keep your subscription. You’ll also support Four Minute Books at no extra cost to you, as we’ll receive a small commission for referring you. Thank you! If not, read on for the rest of our detailed Shortform review.

Shortform Overview

Shortform claims to be more than just a book summary app because of the following reasons:

  • They provide book guides with in-depth information and actionable exercises.
  • They simplify the books and organize them in an easy-to-understand order without losing any critical information.
  • They cross-reference other books and sources to connect ideas under the same topic.

They also have an AI extension* that can summarize any piece of text or video, and it comes free with the service.

How does Shortform work?

You can install the app and read the two books that they provide for free. You may sign up using Google, Facebook, Apple, or Email. Once you sign up, you are promoted to select your preferred topics and learning goals. After that, their algorithm suggests a few books for you to get started with. If you wish to try the full app with access to all the books, you can activate the 5-day free trial.

There are five tabs and one profile menu in the app. We’ll explore each one by one:

1. The Discover Tab

Shortform Review 1

The Discover tab has the following sections:

  • Continue Reading

You can find the list of all the book summaries that you’ve started reading but haven’t marked as finished. It shows you the completion progress of each book in percentage.

  • Recommended

Based on your topic preference and book selection, the app suggests new book summaries to read.

  • New Releases

A list of all the latest titles on the app so you can stay up to date with the new book summaries they release.

  • Popular books

A list of the most popular book summaries on the app. Here, you may explore a new genre or a new book that you’ve never heard of before.

  • Articles

The list of all articles released by the app. These articles are well-researched and well-written. They provide all the resources they mention and cover a wide range of topics.

2. The Books Tab

Shortform Review App 3

The Books tab lists all the book summaries in the following ways:

  • Categories

You can browse book summaries under your chosen category to find the kinds of books you’re looking for.

  • All books

Here you’ll find the full list of all the book summaries in the app sorted by most popular books.

3. The Articles Tab

Review of Shortform 3

Similar to the Books tab, the Article tab lists all the articles by Shortform in the following manner:

  • Categories

The articles are organized under the same categories as book summaries.

  • All articles

A list of all the articles published by Shortform sorted by the latest articles.

4. My Library Tab

Shortform Review Library 4

My Library is your personal tab where you can find the books you’ve engaged with under the following sections:

  • Reading Now

A list of all the book summaries that you’ve started but not finished yet.

  • Favorites

All the book summaries that you’ve marked as a favorite. 

  • Finished

A list of all the book summaries that you’ve marked as finished.

5. The Search Tab

The Search tab lets you search the book summaries or articles you’re looking for using keywords. It also shows you the Categories, Popular Books, and Articles sections once again.

Shortform Ratings 5

Thank you for reading this far! Ready to jump in and try Shortform? Use the button below to get started and snag a sweet 20% off should you decide to keep your subscription after your totally risk-free 5-day trial. You’ll even support Minute Books at no extra cost (we’re an affiliate). If you want to know more first, read on for the remainder of our review.

Shortform Features

Before you dive into a book summary, you can read about a book to decide if you want to start reading it.

Shortform User Reviews 6Shortform Review 7

Once you start a book, you have access to the following:

  1. Navigating

Shortform Review 8 Summary PageShortform Review 9 Table of Contents

Each book summary starts with a 1-page summary followed by the full book guide with chapters and exercises broken into several parts. You can also download the summaries in PDF format.

  1. Formatting

Shortform Features 10Shortform Review 11

You have formatting options to customize your reading experience. Adjustable settings include the font size, font family, line height, and margins. You can always reset the settings to default if you don’t like the changes. There’s also an option to switch between dark mode and light mode.

  1. Listening

Shortform Review 12

You can listen to the book summary and change the speed of the audio. There’s also an option to download the audio for offline access. Some audios are AI-generated while others are narrated by humans. They’re constantly bringing new human-narrated audios to make the experience better.

  1. Highlighting and Noting

Shortform Review 13 Shortform Review 14

You can select text and then highlight it, add a note to it, or share it. These highlights and notes are saved in your profile which you can revisit later. You can also add books to your favorites so they all are easily accessible as a list. Plus, there’s an option to sync your highlights with Readwise and Notion.

  1. Reading

Shortform Review 14 Shortform Review 15

You not only get to read summarized versions of the books, but you also get notes and commentary. Shortform cross-references other resources to support the information and provide a holistic view of the topic. They may also re-arrange the topics covered in the book in a more helpful order.

Shortform Review 16

  1. Applying

Shortform Review 17

The book guides come with exercises and questions to answer for yourself so you can not only learn but apply the books in your life.

  1. Discussing

Shortform Review 18

In the end, there’s a discussion section where you can start a discussion or comment on another discussion. 

Shortform Selection

Shortform has over a thousand book summaries. They keep adding more summaries each week. They organize their books and articles under the following categories:

  • Arts / Design
  • Biography / Memoir
  • Business
  • Career / Success
  • Communication
  • Economics
  • Education
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Fiction
  • Food
  • Health
  • History
  • Lifestyle
  • Management / Leadership
  • Marketing
  • Money / Finance
  • Motivation
  • Parenting
  • Philosophy
  • Politics
  • Productivity
  • Psychology
  • Relationships
  • Sales
  • Science
  • Self-Improvement
  • Society / Culture
  • Spirituality
  • Sports
  • Technology

If you search for a book and can’t find it in their catalog, you can request a summary of that unavailable book.

Curious to discover all the great book guides on Shortform? Use the button below to sign up and start a free trial. You’ll support this site at no extra cost in the process by automatically letting them know we’ve referred you, and we’ll get a small commission should you keep your subscription — at no less than 20% off, that is! Read on for a selection of their most popular books.

What are the most popular books on Shortform?

Shortform offers the first two books on the list for free and others are available with the paid plan which includes a 5-day free trial:

  1. Deep Work: Cal Newport teaches you how to develop your focus and resist distractions so that you can rise to the top of your field and drive toward your most important goals. He contends that focus is like a mental muscle: Through deliberate training, you can strengthen your focus and expand your mental capacity.
  2. How To Win Friends And Influence People: This best-selling book contains universal principles of interacting with other people to get them to like you and have them see your way of thinking. This isn’t about manipulation – it’s about sincerely approaching people, believing they’re important, and treating them likewise.
  3. Atomic Habits: James Clear argues that adopting the right habits will drastically improve your life—but to do so, you must understand how habits work and how you can change yours. Discover why habits matter and the three mindsets you can use to create them. Learn how habits form and how to continue improving the habits you’ve implemented.
  4. How To Take Smart Notes: Sönke Ahrens argues that traditional note-taking methods don’t work—and that you can avoid this issue by using the slip-box system: a method of taking notes and organizing them that fosters the creation and publication of original ideas.
  5. How To Talk To Anyone: People who are comfortable in social situations have the best chance of establishing beneficial relationships and creating opportunities for personal and professional success. Leil Lowndes presents practical techniques to help you overcome social discomfort and confidently develop new connections.
  6. Thinking, Fast And Slow: A masterful book on psychology and behavioral economics by Nobel laureate Daniel Kahneman. Learn your two systems of thinking, how you make decisions and your greatest vulnerabilities to bad decisions.
  7. 12 Rules For Life: Jordan Peterson argues that modern secularism and reliance on science have left a void in answers to important existential questions: What is the point of living? Why do bad things happen to good people? What am I supposed to do to make myself happier?
  8. Dopamine Nation: Anna Lembke explores what causes these behaviors and how you can take back control. She explains both the neurological and emotional causes of overindulgence and provides clear actionables to help you stop.
  9. The Subtle Art Of Not Giving A F*ck: Mark Manson argues that we are frustrated in life and feel like failures because we value and prioritize the wrong things, thanks in part to society’s emphasis on positive thinking, over-involved parents, and our susceptibility to superficial social media messages. We need to carefully choose what we give our f*cks about.
  10. The 48 Laws Of Power: Robert Greene asserts that whether you like it or not, you’re part of a never-ending game of power. You’re either striving for and wielding power, or you’re a pawn being played by someone more powerful than you. You choose your role.

Shortform AI

Shortform AI Review

On top of all its book guides, implementation exercises, and cross-references between books, in 2023, Shortform launched a new feature. Actually, it is a separate, standalone tool. A browser extension that can summarize any piece of content. It’s called Shortform AI.*

How does it work?

  1. You ​install the Shortform AI Chrome extension from the Chrome Web Store.
  2. You log in to Shortform.
  3. Now, you can click the Summarize-icon on any web page, and the AI will get to work for you!

For every piece of content, the extension generates 4 sections:

  1. A summary of the content in a few bullet points. The number depends on how long the content is.
  2. Some context on the content in question. Think of this as background information on the overall situation. If it’s an article about a scandal surrounding a political candidate, for example, the extension might give you a brief summary of their overall career to date here.
  3. Additional resources. A short “Learn More” section with relevant links to other sources for further reading.
  4. Counterarguments. Yes, the AI even generates some counterpoints to the case the piece you’re looking at makes! This will help you think for yourself, weigh all arguments carefully, and not jump to conclusions.

The breadth of content on which the extension works is astonishing. Shortform AI* can summarize:

  • News articles
  • Blog posts
  • Long-form essays
  • Emails
  • Youtube videos (!)
  • Research papers
  • Google docs
  • Amazon reviews
  • Social media posts

…and a lot more! Basically, the AI extends Shortform’s library to infinity — sort of. At the very least, it brings the power of a good summary well beyond their 1,000-book catalog.

Here are some personal examples I’ve tried to use it on. It works for complex articles about finance that help you become a better investor…

…long-form essays explaining huge societal and technological shifts affecting our future as a species…

…Youtube videos summarizing some of the greatest non-fiction books of all time (ahem)…

…3-hour-long podcast interviews with people you admire and want to learn from…

…and even foreign-language news articles about an issue you’ll soon need to make a decision on!

Honestly, this tool is pretty impressive. And it’s completely free as part of a standard Shortform subscription. The idea is that you’ll learn a lot faster and understand everything much quicker when you start with a high-level summary, some valuable context, and the most important counterarguments.

If you want to get a tool that can summarize anything and everything, try Shortform AI. The easiest way to do so is to start a free 5-day trial of the service. You’ll even get 20% off by going through our affiliate link (if you choose to stay).

How Much Does Shortform Cost? (Pricing)

Shortform comes with a 5-day trial that gives you access to all the books on the platform. After that, you’ll pay $24 a month or $16.42 a month (if you pay annually). Both plans give you access to:

  • 1000+ Book Guides
  • 500+ Articles and Topic Guides
  • Web and Mobile App (iOS/Android)
  • Highlights and Notes
  • Audio Narrations
  • Community Discussions
  • PDF Downloads

That said, you can get an extra 20% off if you use our exclusive Shortform affiliate link. You can redeem that discount and start your free trial below.

The cheapest, fastest, and easiest way to start learning from great books on Shortform is to start a free trial and secure 20% off through our affiliate link. Try everything free for 5 days, then make up your mind.

Shortform Reviews by Users

At the time of writing, Shortform has received a 3.6 out of 5 rating on Google Play and a 4.4 out of 5 rating on App Store. Upon examining the reviews, here’s what we have found:

  • Most of the bad ratings are about the app, and not about the content. As we have mentioned before, the app can be slow and glitchy sometimes, but they are fixing it and making it better. The number of complaints has been reducing in the last two years.
  • Some people have complained about being charged after the free trial was over. We tried canceling the free trial and we didn’t get charged so there may be some particular cases that didn’t get a satisfactory resolution.
  • Many of the 5-star-review users say that it is the best book summary app for them because of the depth of the summaries and the additional features we have mentioned in our review.

The reviews are quite polarizing because many users loved the content but some people were disappointed by the app or had billing problems. You can read all the reviews yourself at the links below:

Read Shortform Reviews on Google Play »

Read Shortfrom Reviews on App Store »

They don’t reply to all reviews, but they do respond sometimes when there is some feedback that they want to reply to. It seems their team is listening and working on providing a better experience overall.

Nevertheless, we would suggest giving them a try since they are working on improving the app experience and the quality of their content is excellent.

Shortform vs Blinkist

Blinkist is the biggest competitor of Shortform. Blinkist has been many people’s favorite book summary app for a long time. So how does it compare with Shortform? Let’s find out.

  • Blinkist only summarizes books briefly in several blinks, whereas Shortform gives comprehensive book guides with summaries, cross-references, analysis, actionables, interactive exercises and discussions.
  • All audios are narrated by humans in Blinkist, whereas Shortform has some AI-generated audios and some human-narrated audios.
  • Blinkist only publishes book summaries, while Shortform also publishes exclusive articles as well.
  • At 5,500+ summaries on Blinkist vs. 1,000+ summaries on Shortform, Blinkist has the larger collection of titles.
  • Blinkist’s summaries are shorter. Shortform’s summaries are much longer and more comprehensive. Depending on your preference and time constraints, you may prefer one over the other.
  • Both Blinkist and Shortform let you highlight text in book summaries, but Shortform also allows you to take notes along with that.
  • The Blinkist app is more usable and less glitchy than the Shortform app (for now).
  • Blinkist is cheaper than Shortform. Blinkist costs $14.99/month, while Shortform costs $24/month. If you get the annual subscription, Blinkist costs $7.49/month, while Shortform costs $16.42/month. That said, you can get additional discounts for both apps. Blinkist offers an extra 35% off, and Shortform offers an extra 20% off.

If you still aren’t sure which one is right for you, you can start free trials on both apps. Once you read a few book summaries on each app, you’ll know which one is best for you.

Final Verdict: Should You Use Shortform?

Out of all the book summary services we’ve reviewed, Shortform comes the closest to replacing actual books. If you’re the kind of person who wants to get the absolute most out of any book you read, this might be the perfect tool for you. 

The reason for that is that they produce book guides that not only include an in-depth summary but also come with additional references from other books and practical exercises to implement the books in your life.

Shortform may be for you if:

  • You’re a lifelong learner or entrepreneur who prioritizes personal growth over shallow content consumption.
  • You want as much juice out of books as possible without reading the entire book.
  • You want a holistic overview of the topics discussed in the book from similar books and other references.
  • You are serious about applying the information in the book to your life with actionables and interactive exercises.
  • You’d rather spend more time on one book summary than reading more shorter summaries.
  • You’d like to highlight and take notes and then import them to Readwise or Notion.
  • You don’t mind paying a little more for Shortform than you would for other book summary apps like Blinkist.

Overall, we are impressed with Shortform and can highly recommend it as a great book summary app. You can use it as your only source for reading books or as a complimentary resource if you have more time.

Thank you for reading our Shortform review! We hope you found it helpful. If you like what you’ve seen and are excited to sign up, simply use the button below. You’ll get a free 5-day trial and 20% off. We’ll get a small commission for referring you at no extra cost to you. Thank you!

Other Reviews

Looking for our other reviews of the most popular book summary apps, tools, and services? Here’s a list of all the reviews we’ve published so far:

Uptime Review Cover

Uptime Review 2024: Is This 5-Min Book App Worth It?

Uptime is a 5-minute learning, knowledge-hacking, and book summary app. It offers over 2,500 knowledge hacks in extremely creative reading, watching, and listening formats.  In our Uptime review, we’ll explain exactly how it works, what it’s like, and whether it’s worth your time and dollars.

Whenever there’s a new book summary service, at Four Minute Books, we feel obliged to review it for you. In Uptime’s case, we’re excited to do so not just because of their creative approach to delivering the content, but also because their self-proclaimed goal is to replace doomscrolling with productivity, learning, and wellbeing. If that’s not a noble reason to start a book summary service, then what is?

The Uptime team not only summarizes books but also adds courses, documentaries, and podcast summaries to its quickly growing content library. It also has a lot of unique features that add a lot to the summary-reading experience. We’ve tried Uptime for the last few weeks, and now, we’d like to tell you all about it.

After our usual, quick summary and FAQ, we’ll show you the pros and cons of using Uptime, along with a detailed walkthrough of how it feels to use the app. We’ll also break down how Uptime’s “Knowledge Hack” format works, and we’ve even gathered some reviews from other users around the web. Finally, we’ll end on our conclusion and recommendation.

As always, you can jump to whatever section of this review seems most interesting to you thanks to our neat table of contents:

If you want to come back up here at any time, just hit the little up arrow icon on the bottom right corner of this page. Alright, let’s dive into our Uptime review with the most frequently asked questions about the app.

Can they turn your downtime into uptime? You’re about to find out!

Quick Summary of Our Uptime Review (FAQ) 

1. What is the Uptime app? 

Uptime is a knowledge-hacking app that gives quick summaries or “hacks” of all kinds of content, from books and online courses to documentaries and more. You can read or listen to hacks and leave bookmarks, download for offline listening, and see where you can purchase the course or book.

2. Is Uptime a good app? 

Uptime is one of our favorite apps for learning from digital content. It’s easy to use, has all of the most important features like the ability to read or listen anywhere, and it’s got a ton of content. One of our favorite parts is that it lets you quickly figure out what the best books, courses, and documentaries are for you so you don’t have to waste time on content that doesn’t appeal to you. More on that later though!

3. Can you use the Uptime app for free? 

You can download and use the Uptime app for free but you only get one free hack per day and you don’t get to choose it. The app does give a variety of free summaries between their different content types, including book, course, documentary, and podcast hacks. 

4. How much does an Uptime subscription cost? 

The regular price of Uptime is $19.99 per month if billed month-to-month. You can also pay yearly at the price of $79.99 per year, which comes to about $7 per month. We often find discounts though that let you purchase your first year for $49.99, or just over $4 per month on average.

5. Is Uptime worth it? 

For just $4-$7 per month you get thousands of summaries of courses, books, podcasts, and documentaries that you can learn from to improve your life, learn a new skill, or just relax and enjoy interesting stories and ideas. This saves you hundreds of hours of your precious time. It also saves hundreds of dollars that you’d normally have to spend on all of this content. You can get just the main points for a fraction of the time and money, making Uptime 100% worth the cost.

If this is all you’ve wanted to know, and you now want to go right ahead and join Uptime, you can use the button below to get started. You’ll also support Four Minute Books at no extra cost to you, as we’ll receive a small commission for referring you. Thank you! If not, read on for the rest of our detailed Uptime review.

Pros and Cons of Uptime

Uptime has so many cool features that we can’t wait to show you. Before that, though, we want to go over the main reasons that people love Uptime and also let you know what’s not so great about it. Let’s jump right into it with the many plusses of using Uptime!

Pros of using Uptime:

  1. It has over 2,500 summaries of courses, podcasts, and documentaries as well as books. This is the only app that we are aware of that offers shorter versions of courses, podcasts, and documentaries and we absolutely love it. We love digital content of all types, and the ability to find summaries of all kinds is wonderful because it really broadens the horizons of what you can learn from.
  2. Uptime will save you a TON of time and money that you could be spending consuming full courses, books, podcasts, and documentaries. We love this about all summary services but Uptime does an exceptional job here with all that it has to offer. Many online courses, for instance, cost between $150 and $1,000, so to be able to get the main points of as many courses as you want for just $4-$7 a month is an incredible deal. Not to mention that most courses, documentaries, books, and podcasts would normally take you at anywhere from one to 10 hours to complete. With Uptime, you can get the main ideas in a mere 15 minutes at most.
  3. The app already has phenomenal reviews in the Apple app store and many awards. It’s got a 4.8 out of 5 average rating and users are raving about it. Almost every review has a response from Uptime as well, both good and bad. It’s also currently an Editors’ Choice app in the Apple app store. We’ll get into more on what other users have to say about Uptime in the next section.
  4. The content delivery system is one of the best we’ve ever seen. You can read or listen to hacks and each is made up of mini lessons that you swipe between, so you’re never overwhelmed by a wall of text. They also get creative with the way content is delivered, occasionally including videos to give context to the lessons and make them even more clear. Plus, you can save any page within a hack so that you can easily remember your favorite parts of everything you read on Uptime.
  5. Their team is adding 40 new hacks every week. That averages to almost six new summaries every day. I’ve been using the app for a little while now and it’s tough to consume that much in a day, so I’m excited to know that I’m never going to run out of stuff to learn from within Uptime!

Cons of using Uptime:

  1. It’s a new app, so it might not have some of your favorites. However, because they are adding 40 new titles every week, their library is growing quickly and you’ll soon be able to find everything you want to learn from inside.
  2. You don’t get the stories and nuance that you’d normally have reading a full book. We’ve found that this is completely made up for in the fact that we end up using Uptime to find the best courses, books, podcasts, and documentaries, so we only spend our time and money on what we love. I might use Uptime to find a course that I really love amid a few that are just alright, so it’s much easier for me to decide to go purchase the full course. Plus, there are links to the full courses, books, and podcasts in each hack!
  3. Some of the courses give really generic tips. I found that I couldn’t go into as much detail with learning from courses as I would have liked to, and I’m sure the same applies for the rest of their content as well. I’d sometimes get to the end of a course hack and not feel like I’d learned how to do what the course was designed to teach. I will say that it was always a good preview of what I would learn if I were to purchase the full course, which made it much easier to be picky in which online courses I actually decide to buy.

What Is It Like to Use the Uptime App?

As we’ve already explained, the user interface in the Uptime app is one of the best we’ve ever seen. There are so many options for reading or listening, it’s super simple and visually appealing, and it lets you save anything you might want to access later. 

Let’s get right into it with the main screen when you first open the app:

Uptime Home Screen (Uptime Review)

In the top right corner the little fire icon shows your streak and lets you customize your interests at any time. If you are using the free version of the app you’ll notice a diamond icon up there that shows your options for purchasing a subscription.

Next up, in the first main section of this screen, you’ve got the option to jump back into any hacks that you were partway through when you last opened the app. 

After that begins a section of recommendations based on your previous reading. More suggestions follow, starting with the “Now trending” section just above the bottom menu. Below that you’ll continue to see more recommendations and other sections:

Uptime Home Screen 2

That bottom menu lets you navigate between four main pages within the app:

  1. Your home page, which is what you see above
  2. The “Browse” area, which lets you find new content by topic or collection
  3. “Sparks,” which are bookmarks of your favorite lessons
  4. My Uptime, which will show your streak, messages, settings, and your hacks, including downloads.

Let’s take a dive into each of these other sections, starting with “Browse.” Here is a screenshot of what this section looks like:

Uptime Browse Screen

At the top you can search for any hack by title, author, or keyword.

Next you can browse by topic. This section includes all the major topics of books, courses, podcasts, and documentaries. You’ll see sections like Personal Growth, Money & Investing, Parenting & Relationships, Arts & Design, and more. 

The “Deep dive into” section comes last, and includes links to all different kinds of hacks that Uptime has. These sections are:

  • Collections
  • Book hacks
  • Course hacks
  • Documentary hacks
  • Podcast hacks
  • Editor’s picks 
  • Trending hacks
  • New hacks

Uptime Browse 2

Note that collections are groupings of hacks based on all kinds of things, such as authors favorites, top documentaries, best books, how to be a leader, and much more. 

Editor’s picks will show you hacks for current top rated content in all different categories.

I think my favorite thing about this is how simple it is to find content that you’ll love. Right away I can see genre’s that I like, but I can also sort through collections by my favorite authors or life events I might be dealing with. 

It’s also not bogged down with too many sections. You get the search bar, the browse by topic option, and the deep dive area, and that’s it. I don’t ever feel like I have to waste time trying to figure out how to use this section, which saves me even more time getting right to the best lessons from all kinds of content!

After the Browse area comes the Sparks, which is like a personal library of your favorite lessons that you’ve saved from summaries. Here’s what the main screen looks like:

Uptime Sparks (Uptime Review)

Sparks are organized into boards, and the default board they’ll go into is “My board” shown above. Once you go into the board, you’ll get to replay each of the sparks you’ve saved as if you were reading it within the summary that you saved it from. 

Within each Spark you can also have a few different options:

Uptime Spark

First up is your typical share option. Below that you’ve got the big button that lets you add a note to your Spark. I love this idea because the library then becomes a living document that you can go back and record ideas and experiences living the principles that each Spark teaches. 

Below that you’ll see the option to view the board that the Spark is in. You can also remove the Spark. At the very bottom is a link that will take you to the full hack that the Spark came from.

As with the previous sections, I love how simple this is. It’s just what you need and no more than that. It’s not overwhelming with too many options. I really think that if you used it right this could rival an Evernote library, but you’ll have to check out our review of Evernote to decide for yourself.

The last of the main sections in the Uptime app is “My Uptime.” Here’s what it looks like:

My Uptime Screen

From the top right corner we’ve got the mail icon, which lets you join Uptime’s newsletter to get updates on their newest content. Next to that is where you can change the app’s settings, including going into dark mode, signing out of your account, changing your notification options, and more. 

Next, you’ll see the “Start your streak” section. You’ll start and continue your streak by completing one insight per day from any hack. This a fun way to help you remember to keep learning.

Below that you’ve got the option to set up reminders so that you don’t lose your streak. I’ve found that this is really helpful because with so many apps on my phone, it’s easy to forget what I want to be spending my time on the most. I don’t usually allow many reminders on my phone, but Uptime is definitely one I’m considering letting notify me to remind me to keep learning!

In the next section you’ll see all the hacks that you’ve saved. You can view them by all, downloaded, unfinished, or your history.

At the very bottom you’ve got two last areas, one for your stats and the other lets you get in touch with Uptime:

My Uptime Screen 2

I really love the “hours saved” widget, which shows you how many hours you would have had to spend reading full books and other types of content instead of using Uptime to get them summarized. 

You’ll also see your longest streak, number of different topics you’ve covered, your favorite category, and more.

Thank you for reading this far! If this is all you’ve wanted to know, and you now want to go right ahead and try Uptime, use the button below to get started. You’ll also support Four Minute Books at no extra cost to you, as we’ll receive a small commission for referring you. Thank you! If not, read on for the remainder of our review of Uptime.

That does it for the main screens in the Uptime app, now let’s move on to get into the finer details of using Uptime!

How Do Uptime’s Knowledge Hacks Work?

I love reading summaries, also known as hacks, with Uptime. It’s simple but also goes in-depth in all the right places. For this section, we’ll focus just on book and course hacks, but podcast and documentary hacks are going to have the same look and feel. Basically, consuming these hacks feels exactly like watching stories on Instagram or Snapchat!

When you first press on any hack, you’ll be taken to a screen that has a summary, options to bookmark and download, and a link to the full content. You can then select whether you want to read, watch, or listen to the hack.

Once you start reading a hack, here’s what you’ll see:

Uptime Book Hack

At the top you’ll see a little bar showing you the name of the book and a notation of which section you are in of how many total sections there are in the hack. Next to that you can pause the hack, toggle listening on or off, and exit out of the hack.

The small bar below that shows the title of the section you’re in and has a slider showing how long you have left on this screen. Uptime automatically switches between sections in each hack, so this bar is like the timer telling you when your time on this section is up. You can pause at any moment though, so don’t worry about missing anything!

The body of the hack follows, and I love how this keeps things super simple for us and doesn’t have a wall of text or anything overwhelming. The content in this section changes as you go through, starting with the “in a nutshell” and moving on to the actual lessons:

Uptime Hack Video Example

This is an example of one of my favorite parts of Uptime. Rather than just telling you about an event or lesson, it actually gives you the video or other applicable content as much as possible. 

In this instance, we see the hack mentioning when a news reporter had a panic attack while reporting on live TV and they actually show the footage of it! You can’t even get that when you’re reading a book normally! 

This is just one small way that Uptime goes above and beyond when it comes to summaries. No more searching to try to find what a book is talking about, it’s right there for you to watch for yourself! We’ve never seen this kind of thing in a summary service before, and it’s one of the reasons we love Uptime so much.

Also while reading hacks you’ll have a few options at the bottom of the screen, starting with the “Spark this” button, which will pull up this screen:

Uptime Save a Spark (Uptime Review)

Your Spark will automatically be saved and you can choose what board to add it to or create a brand new board. After pressing “Done,” you’ll return to the hack to continue reading, listening, or watching. 

On the right side of the bottom menu while reading a hack, you’ll see the option to share and then a “More” button, which takes you here:

Uptime Book Hack Options

At the top you’ll still see the “Spark this” and “Share” buttons and a “Less” button to take you back to the hack. 

In the middle, you’ve got options to save the hack to your library to read later, change the mode, download it for on-the-go listening or reading, and the option to change the reading speed. 

The mode is pretty cool as it lets you change between three types of delivery:

  • Story, which is the default option where it automatically moves from lesson to lesson.
  • Audio, where the hack is presented in the same breakdown as story mode, but it’s just audio instead of text.
  • Text, which lets you just read the hack at your own pace and move to each section whenever you want.

You can also toggle the auto-play in story mode. This lets you choose whether or not you want hacks to automatically play the next lesson and gives you the chance to move at your own pace more. 

I like both options because sometimes it’s easier to focus when I know that the content will only be onscreen for a limited time but it’s also nice to be able to switch if I want to just take my time and think about the lessons as I go through them.

Another cool feature of Uptime is that it shows you ways to apply what you’re learning. I love that they emphasize this because a lot of the time with summarized content it’s easy to get caught up in consuming volume instead of taking a deep dive. Uptime fixes this by offering an “insight in action” for each lesson:

Uptime Course Hack Example

You get to see each insight in action at the end of the lesson, and a shorter summary of all of them together when you’ve finished the hack:

Uptime Course Hack Take Action

Sometimes it’s really tough to get the “what should I do about this?” out of non-fiction content like this. Many books we read have so much in them that we feel overwhelmed with everything we want to do about what they teach. 

Uptime removes this problem by giving you the summary and focusing you on just a few main points from the content that you can apply to improve your life!

That’ll do it for Uptime’s main features! I told you it was simple and easy to use, didn’t I? It’s easy to see already that we love Uptime, but let’s wrap up with a quick summary of everything and our final conclusion of whether or not Uptime is worth it for you. Although I think you already know what we’re going to say about it!

Uptime Reviews By Users

As of this writing, Uptime has a rating of 4.8 out of 5 in the Apple app store and 4.0 out of 5 in the Google Play (Android) store. Let’s take a deeper look into what people have to say about Uptime in their reviews.

On the Google Play app store, the majority of negative reviews have to do with the cost of Uptime. Many of these people say that the content is great, they’re just frustrated with the price. 

Looking through the reviews, I also couldn’t find a single one that Uptime hadn’t responded to, no matter whether it was critical or praise! And I scrolled through maybe a couple hundred reviews, too. These guys care about their users, and it shows. 

Here are some of the main ideas from comments from app store reviews of Uptime:

  • People love the concept of summaries for books, courses, documentaries, and other types of content as well as the way that Uptime delivers these.
  • Tons of summaries and a very nice app but sometimes the summaries feel too simple and thin. I just want to point out here that as we mentioned in our pros and cons list above, this is inevitable with summary services and can actually be a good thing as it helps you decide what content is actually worth your time.
  • One user referred to Uptime as “Snapchat for knowledge” and we couldn’t agree more. 
  • Comments mention that it gives people an opportunity to learn from books and other content that they’ve been dying to read but haven’t had the time for. Plus they love that it also leads them to books that they might never have found on their own!
  • A review from just a few months ago describes how the user used to pick up lots of books and never finish them, but that Uptime has solved this issue for them!

I searched for reviews of Uptime on Reddit but unfortunately wasn’t able to find anything just yet. Give it some time though, and I’m sure people will start chiming in there to let us know what they think! 

There are already hundreds of comments in reviews in the Apple and Google Play stores though. If you want more ideas to help you see if Uptime is for you, check out Uptime in each app store via the links below:

Read Uptime Reviews in the Apple App Store »

Read Uptime Reviews in the Google Play Store »

Now that we’ve seen what others think of Uptime and looked at it’s major pros and cons, it’s time to get into the awesome details of what the app feels like.

Thank you for reading this far! If the knowledge hack format and what other users are thinking has convinced you, please use the button below to sign up for Uptime. You’ll support this site at no extra cost in the process by automatically letting them know we’ve referred you, and we’ll get a small commission. Thanks! And now, on to the rest of our Uptime review!

How Uptime Has Changed My Life for the Better

I love non-fiction content, especially from books and online courses. In just the last few years, I’ve probably spent a few thousand dollars on just courses and books.

The sad part about all of that, though, is that I’ve only actually finished about 25% of it all. If I had started with Uptime, I would have saved all that money and not left anything unfinished because I’d have got through all of that content much sooner at a far cheaper price. 

I’ve only been using Uptime for a short time, and it already tells me that I’ve saved 57 hours by learning from 27 insights. If we were conservative and said that each of those was a book insight and the average cost of a book is $15, I’d be out $405 to read all of those books. Considering many of those were courses, the actual number is probably over $1,000!

What’s more, those 57 hours I’ve saved have let me spend more time on applying the content to improve my life and less time bogged down in the details that can make some non-fiction content difficult to get through. Without all that overwhelm, I’ve improved my life much faster than if it weren’t for Uptime.

Conclusion of Our Uptime Review: Is Uptime Worth It?

An Uptime subscription costs just $4-7 per month and lets you get the main ideas out of books, courses, and documentaries in a fraction of the time. Plus, you get to find out whether or not a book or course is worth it for you without spending all the money to buy it first. No more wasted time buying digital products that don’t meet your needs. 

My conclusion is that Uptime is 100% worth the price because it’s one of the best all-around summary services out there. For just a few dollars per month, you get summaries of books, podcasts, courses, and documentaries, all in an easy-to-consume format with the ability to save and take notes on all of it.

If you’ve made it all the way here, congratulations, and thank you! If you’d like to give Uptime a try, please use the button below. We’d really appreciate it. As always, we hope we’ve helped you learn more in less time, and we’ll see you soon in our next review!

Thank you for reading our Uptime review! We hope you found it helpful. If you like what you’ve seen and are excited to sign up, simply use the button below. We’ll get a small commission for referring you at no extra cost to you. Thank you!

With the free trial, you’ll get seven days of as many book, course, documentary, and podcast hacks as you want. Plenty of time to make up your mind whether you want to keep your subscription!

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Masterclass Review Cover

Masterclass Review 2024: Is Masterclass Really Worth It?

Masterclass is a high-end online course platform where classes are taught by some of the top experts in their fields. It gives you the opportunity to learn from some of the most inspiring artists, leaders, and icons in the world.

Masterclass offers many categories of courses to make you an expert in your desired field, hobby, or passion. Its subscription cost matches the value they provide with its content and production quality.

Now the question is – is Masterclass worth it? Should you stick with other, lower-price online course platforms, or should you invest in a Masterclass membership? The answer depends on your personal situation and needs. That’s why, in this in-depth Masterclass review, we’ll teach you all you need to know to make the decision that works for you.

Besides a quick tl;dr summary and in-depth walkthrough of both the Masterclass app and desktop version, we’ll also list all the pros and cons of using Masterclass. We’ve even compared them to all their most relevant competitors for you! Finally, we’ve curated some list of their most popular classes as well as our personal favorites, so you’ll know exactly where to start learning.

As usual, you can use our convenient table of contents below to jump to whatever section might interest you the most! Let’s go!

Quick Summary of Our Masterclass Review (FAQ)

  • Is Masterclass worth it?

Masterclass is worth it if you want to learn from top industry experts across various creative fields. It may not be for you if their topics don’t interest you or if you prefer learning from other teachers and professors.

  • Does Masterclass offer a free trial?

Masterclass doesn’t offer a free trial. However, they do provide a 30-day money-back guarantee in case you want to cancel your membership and get a refund. They also allow all new customers to give away three guest passes for 14 days.

  • How’s the course quality of Masterclass?

The courses in Masterclass are produced with great care and attention to detail. It may be possible that you don’t like a particular class, but most of the time, you’ll find the course material and the learning experience top-notch.

  • How much does Masterclass cost?

Masterclass has an Individual plan for $180 a year, a Duo plan for $240 a year, and a Family plan for $276 a year. You can find details about each plan in the Masterclass Pricing section of the review.

  • How does Masterclass compare with its alternatives?

There are many platforms similar to Masterclass. It is commonly compared with Skillshare, Udemy, Coursera, CreativeLive, LinkedIn Learning, and Mindvalley. You can find the key differences between them in the Masterclass vs Competitors section of the review.

If this is all you’ve wanted to know, and you now want to go right ahead and join Masterclass, you can use the button below to get started. You’ll also support Four Minute Books at no extra cost to you, as we’ll receive a small commission for referring you. Thank you! If not, read on for the rest of our detailed Masterclass review.

Pros and Cons of Masterclass

Masterclass has more than 150 online courses taught by the world’s top experts. Its course categories include Food, Design & Style, Arts & Entertainment, Music, Business, Sports & Gaming, Writing, Science & Tech, Home & Lifestyle, Community & Government, and Wellness.

Here are the top pros and cons of Masterclass:

Pros of using Masterclass:

  1. The courses are taught by experts, so you can rely upon their expertise and enjoy high-quality content with excellent delivery.
  2. The learning experience is professional and accessible on devices such as PC, iOS, Android, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, and Roku.
  3. The app lets you take notes along with each lesson and also gives you a downloadable workbook with each course.
  4. Masterclass can easily be shared with family with their Family plan. It can also be used by business teams with Masterclass at Work.
  5. Masterclass comes with new classes every month and publishes new articles regularly.

Cons of using Masterclass:

  1. There are cheaper alternatives to Masterclass which you can use if you don’t need their ongoing membership to take several courses.
  2. Masterclass doesn’t offer a free trial to potential customers nor does it allow you to pay monthly. It charges for the annual subscription with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
  3. Masterclass course categories are limited to creative and business skills, so you should only invest in it if its categories interest you.

What Is It Like to Use Masterclass?

Masterclass offers incredible learning and user experience in all its applications. It’s available on PC, iOS, Android, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, and Roku. For this review, we’ll show you the interface of both the web and iOS application on mobile.

Navigating Masterclass is pretty straightforward. If you can use a smartphone or personal computer, you will most likely have no difficulty with Masterclass. It’s not just the simplicity but also their attention to detail as well as the high course production quality that makes it stand out.

Let’s break down several sections and features of Masterclass:

1. Discover Tab

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  • Daily Moments

A selection of clips from different courses that you can watch. It’s a great way to explore a course without starting it. You can start taking the full course if it interests you.

  • Continue Watching

Continue watching the courses from where you left off so you don’t need to remember where you are in each course.

  • Featured

When new sessions or classes are added, they are displayed here.

  • Sessions

Sessions are 30-day curriculums where you also submit your project, get feedback, and are supported by a community.

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2. Library Tab

Browse courses and categories or search for courses, topics, and instructors in the library tab.

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3. My Progress Tab

Is Masterclass Worth It

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  • Keep Watching

Resume the courses you’re taking.

  • Try Something New

Course suggestions for you from Masterclass.

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  • My Notes

All notes you take while watching the courses are saved here for easy access.

  • Classes You’ve Mastered

All classes that you finish are shown here.

4. Playlists

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Playlists such as Working Well, The Kitchen, Inside The Craft, Big Ideas, and A Creative Life are curated here by Masterclass.

5. Articles

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Articles are published regularly by Masterclass which you can read and bookmark. They complement the course materials of Masterclass.

6. Masterclass Courses

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You can continue watching any course from where you left off. When you watch a lesson, you can:

  • Share the lesson
  • Download the class guide (workbook)
  • Bookmark a lesson
  • Take notes
  • Watch Moments to see the highlights of the lesson (available on apps)

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  • Download the lesson (available on apps)
  • See the list of upcoming lessons
  • Switch between audio and video (available on apps)

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  • Change the speed of the video (0.5x, 1x, 1.5x, 2x)
  • Change the language of captions (English, German, Spanish)
  • Change the quality of the video (360p, 540p, 720p, 1080p)
  • Mute, increase or decrease the volume
  • Pause and play
  • Switch between fullscreen and normal view

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Note: Masterclass also used to conduct live classes. You can still watch all the recordings of the past classes under Masterclass Live.

Thank you for reading this far! If this is all you’ve wanted to know, and you now want to go right ahead and try Masterclass,  you can use the button below to get started. You’ll also support Four Minute Books at no extra cost to you, as we’ll receive a small commission for referring you. Thank you! If not, read on for the remainder of our review of Masterclass.

List of All Classes on Masterclass

Below, you will find a full list of all classes on Masterclass as of July 2022, sorted by category. To save space and not clutter your screen, we’ve wrapped them into expandable blocks. Simply click on any category to see the full list of classes about that topic.



  • Gordon Ramsay Teaches Cooking I
  • Thomas Keller Teaches Cooking Techniques
  • Alice Waters Teaches The Art of Home Cooking
  • Wolfgang Puck Teaches Cooking
  • Gordon Ramsay Teaches Cooking II: Restaurant Recipes at Home
  • Thomas Keller Teaches Cooking Techniques II: Meats, Stocks, and Sauces
  • Dominique Ansel Teaches French Pastry Fundamentals
  • James Suckling Teaches Wine Appreciation
  • Apollonia Poilâne Teaches Bread Baking
  • Aaron Franklin Teaches Texas-Style BBQ
  • Massimo Bottura Teaches Modern Italian Cooking
  • Thomas Keller Teaches Cooking Techniques III: Seafood, Sous Vide, and Desserts
  • Gabriela Cámara Teaches Mexican Cooking
  • Lynnette Marrero & Ryan Chetiyawardana Teach Mixology
  • Yotam Ottolenghi Teaches Modern Middle Eastern Cooking
  • Ron Finley Teaches Gardening
  • Niki Nakayama Teaches Modern Japanese Cooking
  • Mashama Bailey Teaches Southern Cooking
  • Madhur Jaffrey Teaches Indian Cooking
  • Roy Choi Teaches Intuitive Cooking
  • Michael W. Twitty Teaches Tracing Your Roots Through Food
  • Dominique Crenn Teaches Modern Vegetarian Cooking
Arts & Entertainment

Arts & Entertainment

  • Aaron Sorkin Teaches Screenwriting
  • Werner Herzog Teaches Filmmaking
  • Martin Scorsese Teaches Filmmaking
  • Ron Howard Teaches Directing
  • Helen Mirren Teaches Acting
  • Samuel L. Jackson Teaches Acting
  • Parris Goebel Teaches Creativity in Choreography
  • Alicia Keys Teaches Songwriting and Producing
  • Judd Apatow Teaches Comedy
  • Spike Lee Teaches Independent Filmmaking
  • Natalie Portman Teaches Acting
  • Ken Burns Teaches Documentary Filmmaking
  • Mira Nair Teaches Independent Filmmaking
  • Jodie Foster Teaches Filmmaking
  • David Lynch Teaches Creativity and Film
  • Jeff Koons Teaches Art and Creativity
  • Nancy Cartwright Teaches Voice Acting
  • Annie Leibovitz Teaches Photography
  • Hans Zimmer Teaches Film Scoring
  • Steve Martin Teaches Comedy
  • Bob Woodward Teaches Investigative Journalism
  • Jimmy Chin Teaches Adventure Photography
  • Penn & Teller Teach the Art of Magic
  • Danny Elfman Teaches Music for Film
  • Robin Roberts Teaches Effective and Authentic Communication
  • James Patterson Teaches Writing
  • Usher Teaches The Art of Performance
  • Christina Aguilera Teaches Singing
  • Reba McEntire Teaches Country Music
  • deadmau5 Teaches Electronic Music Production
  • Shonda Rhimes Teaches Writing for Television
  • Frank Gehry Teaches Design and Architecture
  • David Mamet Teaches Dramatic Writing
  • Herbie Hancock Teaches Jazz
  • Judy Blume Teaches Writing
  • Armin van Buuren Teaches Dance Music
  • Malcolm Gladwell Teaches Writing
  • R.L. Stine Teaches Writing for Young Audiences
  • Margaret Atwood Teaches Creative Writing
  • Tom Morello Teaches Electric Guitar
  • Dan Brown Teaches Writing Thrillers
  • Carlos Santana Teaches the Art and Soul of Guitar
  • Neil Gaiman Teaches the Art of Storytelling
  • Timbaland Teaches Producing and Beatmaking
  • Billy Collins Teaches Reading and Writing Poetry
  • Itzhak Perlman Teaches Violin
  • David Baldacci Teaches Mystery and Thriller Writing
  • Joyce Carol Oates Teaches the Art of the Short Story
  • Bob Iger Teaches Business Strategy and Leadership
  • David Sedaris Teaches Storytelling and Humor
  • Jeff Goodby & Rich Silverstein Teach Advertising and Creativity
  • Sheila E. Teaches Drumming and Percussion
  • Jake Shimabukuro Teaches ʻUkulele
  • St. Vincent Teaches Creativity and Songwriting
  • Issa Rae Teaches Creating Outside the Lines
  • Tyler Mitchell Teaches Storytelling Through Portrait Photography
  • Questlove Teaches Music Curation and DJing
  • David Carson Teaches Graphic Design
  • James Cameron Teaches Filmmaking
  • LeVar Burton Teaches the Power of Storytelling
  • Futura Teaches Spray-Painting & Abstract Art
  • Es Devlin Teaches Turning Ideas Into Art
  • Nas Teaches Hip-Hop Storytelling
  • Yo-Yo Ma Teaches Music and Connection
  • Metallica Teaches Being a Band
  • Ringo Starr Teaches Drumming & Creative Collaboration
  • Joy Harjo Teaches Poetic Thinking
  • The Duffer Brothers Teach Developing an Original TV Series


  • Daniel Pink Teaches Sales and Persuasion
  • David Axelrod and Karl Rove Teach Campaign Strategy and Messaging
  • Paul Krugman Teaches Economics and Society
  • Howard Schultz Business Leadership
  • Anna Wintour Teaches Creativity and Leadership
  • Sara Blakely Teaches Self-Made Entrepreneurship
  • Bob Iger Teaches Business Strategy and Leadership
  • Doris Kearns Goodwin Teaches U.S. Presidential History and Leadership
  • Chris Voss Teaches The Art of Negotiation
  • Jeff Goodby & Rich Silverstein Teach Advertising and Creativity
  • Diane von Furstenberg Teaches Building a Fashion Brand
  • Bob Woodward Teaches Investigative Journalism
  • Marc Jacobs Teaches Fashion Design
  • Bobbi Brown Teaches Makeup and Beauty
  • Neil deGrasse Tyson Teaches Scientific Thinking and Communication
  • Robin Roberts Teaches Effective and Authentic Communication
  • Robert Reffkin Teaches Buying and Selling Real Estate
  • Elaine Welteroth Teaches Designing Your Career
  • Geno Auriemma Teaches Leading Winning Teams
  • George Stephanopoulos Teaches Purposeful Communication
  • Kris Jenner On The Power of Personal Branding


  • James Patterson Teaches Writing
  • David Mamet Teaches Dramatic Writing
  • Judy Blume Teaches Writing
  • Malcolm Gladwell Teaches Writing
  • R.L. Stine Teaches Writing for Young Audiences
  • Margaret Atwood Teaches Creative Writing
  • Dan Brown Teaches Writing Thrillers
  • Walter Mosley Teaches Fiction and Storytelling
  • Billy Collins Teaches Reading and Writing Poetry
  • Neil Gaiman Teaches the Art of Storytelling
  • David Baldacci Teaches Mystery and Thriller Writing
  • Joyce Carol Oates Teaches the Art of the Short Story
  • Salman Rushdie Teaches Storytelling and Writing
  • David Sedaris Teaches Storytelling and Humor
  • Shonda Rhimes Teaches Writing for Television
  • Aaron Sorkin Teaches Screenwriting
  • Issa Rae Teaches Creating Outside the Lines
  • Roxane Gay Teaches Writing for Social Change
  • Amy Tan Teaches Fiction, Memory, and Imagination
  • N. K. Jemisin Teaches Fantasy and Science Fiction Writing
  • Joy Harjo Teaches Poetic Thinking
  • Amanda Gorman Teaches Writing and Performing Poetry
Home & Lifestyle

Home & Lifestyle

  • Apollonia Poilâne Teaches Bread Baking
  • Brandon McMillan Teaches Dog Training
  • Ron Finley Teaches Gardening
  • Gordon Ramsay Teaches Cooking I
  • Dr. Jane Goodall Teaches Conservation
  • Wolfgang Puck Teaches Cooking
  • Alice Waters Teaches The Art of Home Cooking
  • Thomas Keller Teaches Cooking Techniques
  • Gordon Ramsay Teaches Cooking II: Restaurant Recipes at Home
  • Thomas Keller Teaches Cooking Techniques II: Meats, Stocks, and Sauces
  • Dominique Ansel Teaches French Pastry Fundamentals
  • James Suckling Teaches Wine Appreciation
  • Penn & Teller Teach the Art of Magic
  • Aaron Franklin Teaches Texas-Style BBQ
  • Massimo Bottura Teaches Modern Italian Cooking
  • Thomas Keller Teaches Cooking Techniques III: Seafood, Sous Vide, and Desserts
  • Gabriela Cámara Teaches Mexican Cooking
  • Lynnette Marrero & Ryan Chetiyawardana Teach Mixology
  • Kelly Wearstler Teaches Interior Design
  • Yotam Ottolenghi Teaches Modern Middle Eastern Cooking
  • Matthew Walker Teaches the Science of Better Sleep
  • Jon Kabat-Zinn Teaches Mindfulness and Meditation
  • Niki Nakayama Teaches Modern Japanese Cooking
  • Corey Damen Jenkins Teaches Interior Design
  • Dominique Crenn Teaches Modern Vegetarian Cooking


  • RuPaul Teaches Self-Expression and Authenticity
  • Emily Morse Teaches Sex and Communication
  • Matthew Walker Teaches the Science of Better Sleep
  • Joe Holder Teaches Fitness and Wellness Fundamentals
  • Jon Kabat-Zinn Teaches Mindfulness and Meditation
  • Donna Farhi Teaches Yoga Foundations
  • Robin Arzón Teaches Mental Strength
  • Jessie Krebs Teaches Wilderness Survival
  • The Power of Empathy With Pharrell Williams and Noted Co-Instructors
Design & Style

Design & Style

  • Frank Gehry Teaches Design and Architecture
  • Marc Jacobs Teaches Fashion Design
  • Diane von Furstenberg Teaches Building a Fashion Brand
  • Tan France Teaches Style for Everyone
  • Bobbi Brown Teaches Makeup and Beauty
  • RuPaul Teaches Self-Expression and Authenticity
  • Kelly Wearstler Teaches Interior Design
  • Annie Leibovitz Teaches Photography
  • Jimmy Chin Teaches Adventure Photography
  • Will Wright Teaches Game Design and Theory
  • Anna Wintour Teaches Creativity and Leadership
  • Tyler Mitchell Teaches Storytelling Through Portrait Photography
  • David Carson Teaches Graphic Design
  • Es Devlin Teaches Turning Ideas Into Art
  • Corey Damen Jenkins Teaches Interior Design
  • Laura Kim and Fernando Garcia Teach Creative Collaboration and Fashion


  • Jake Shimabukuro Teaches ʻUkulele
  • Usher Teaches The Art of Performance
  • Christina Aguilera Teaches Singing
  • deadmau5 Teaches Electronic Music Production
  • Reba McEntire Teaches Country Music
  • Herbie Hancock Teaches Jazz
  • Armin van Buuren Teaches Dance Music
  • Tom Morello Teaches Electric Guitar
  • Alicia Keys Teaches Songwriting and Producing
  • Carlos Santana Teaches the Art and Soul of Guitar
  • Timbaland Teaches Producing and Beatmaking
  • Itzhak Perlman Teaches Violin
  • Sheila E. Teaches Drumming and Percussion
  • St. Vincent Teaches Creativity and Songwriting
  • Hans Zimmer Teaches Film Scoring
  • Danny Elfman Teaches Music for Film
  • Questlove Teaches Music Curation and DJing
  • Nas Teaches Hip-Hop Storytelling
  • Yo-Yo Ma Teaches Music and Connection
  • Metallica Teaches Being a Band
  • Ringo Starr Teaches Drumming & Creative Collaboration
  • Mariah Carey Teaches the Voice as an Instrument
Sports & Gaming

Sports & Gaming

  • Stephen Curry Teaches Shooting, Ball-Handling, and Scoring
  • Serena Williams Teaches Tennis
  • Garry Kasparov Teaches Chess
  • Daniel Negreanu Teaches Poker
  • Phil Ivey Teaches Poker Strategy
  • Simone Biles Teaches Gymnastics Fundamentals
  • Misty Copeland Teaches Ballet Technique and Artistry
  • Tony Hawk Teaches Skateboarding
  • Will Wright Teaches Game Design and Theory
  • Wayne Gretzky Teaches the Athlete’s Mindset
  • Robin Arzón Teaches Mental Strength
  • Geno Auriemma Teaches Leading Winning Teams
  • Alex Honnold & Tommy Caldwell Teach Rock Climbing
  • Lewis Hamilton Teaches a Winning Mindset
  • Joan Benoit Samuelson Teaches the Runner’s Mindset
Science & Tech

Science & Tech

  • Chris Hadfield Teaches Space Exploration
  • Neil deGrasse Tyson Teaches Scientific Thinking and Communication
  • Dr. Jane Goodall Teaches Conservation
  • Matthew Walker Teaches the Science of Better Sleep
  • Bill Nye Teaches Science and Problem-Solving
  • Terence Tao Teaches Mathematical Thinking
Community & Government

Community & Government

  • Dr. Jane Goodall Teaches Conservation
  • David Axelrod and Karl Rove Teach Campaign Strategy and Messaging
  • Paul Krugman Teaches Economics and Society
  • Doris Kearns Goodwin Teaches U.S. Presidential History and Leadership
  • Ron Finley Teaches Gardening
  • The Power of Empathy With Pharrell Williams and Noted Co-Instructors
  • Redefining Feminism with Gloria Steinem and Noted Co-Instructors
  • Cornel West Teaches Philosophy
  • Malala Teaches Creating Change
  • Black History, Black Freedom, and Black Love
  • Hillary Rodham Clinton Teaches The Power of Resilience
  • President Bill Clinton Teaches Inclusive Leadership
  • Michael W. Twitty Teaches Tracing Your Roots Through Food

The 10 Most Popular Masterclasses

1. Chris Voss Teaches the Art of Negotiation

Chriss Voss is a former SWAT team officer at the FBI’s Pittsburgh field office. Now he is the founder of Black Swan Group which focuses on training businesses and individuals to become highly effective negotiators.

He teaches the key principles, techniques, and strategies of negotiation. Some of the lesson titles include Tactical Empathy, Mirroring, Labelling, Mastering Delivery, Body Language & Speech Patters, Creating the Illusion of Control, The Accusations Audit, The Value of “No”, Bending Reality, Bargaining, Black Swans, and The Power of Negotiation.

2. Neil deGrasse Tyson Teaches Scientific Thinking and Communication

Neil deGrasse Tyson is a famous astrophysicist at the American Museum of Natural History. He is also the director of New York’s Hayden Planetarium.

He discusses scientific literacy, communication, concerns, and concepts. Some of the lesson titles include The Frontier of Science, The Scientific Method, Cognitive Bias, Our Systems of Belief, Communication Tactics, and The Future of Our World.

3. Dr. Jane Goodall Teaches Conservation

Dr. Jane Goodall is a lover of animals. She started learning about wildlife when she was young. She now travels more than 300 days a year to speak about the challenges facing chimpanzees and the environment.

Goodall talks about animal behavior, climate change, and what we can do to help our planet. Some of the lesson titles include Chimpanzee Behaviour, Animal Intelligence, Chimps & Humans, Humans & The Environment, Animal Cruelty, Climate Change, Water, Land, Organic Farming, Making Global Change, and Reasons for Hope.

4. Chris Hadfield Teaches Space Exploration

Chris Hadfield is known to be the most famous astronaut since Neil Armstrong. He is the author of the international bestseller books An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth and You Are Here.

He teaches about rockets, spaceships, the ISS, Spacewalking, and Mars among other topics. Some of the lesson titles include Astronaut Training, How Rockets Work, Life Support Sytems, Leadership: Commanding the ISS, Spacesuits, Spacewalks, Living on Another Planet, and The Future of Exploration.

5. Jon Kabat-Zinn Teaches Mindfulness and Meditation

Jon Kabat-Zinn has been at the forefront of the Western mindfulness movement for more than four decades. He founded the University of Massachusetts Medical School’s Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care and Society. He is also the author of fourteen books.

Kabat-Zinn talks about the role of mindfulness in stress reduction and teaches various meditation techniques. Some of the lesson titles include A Guide to Meditation, Meditation Postures, Mindfulness and Stress, The Science of Mindfulness, Reclaiming Our Wholeness, Healing the World, and Maintaining a Mindfulness Practice.

6. Brandon McMillan Teaches Dog Training

Brandon has helped raise tigers since he was four years old. The animals he has trained have appeared in motion pictures and television commercials. He now trains shelter dogs to be service dogs, therapy dogs, and emotional support dogs.

He teaches building trust, bonding, and training a dog like a pro. Some of the lesson titles include Trust & Groundwork for Training, Sit, Down, Stay, No, Off, Come, Heel, Housebreaking, Door Dashing, and Digging, Chewing, Barking.

7. Matthew Walker Teaches the Science of Better Sleep

Matthew Walker is the founder-director of the Center for Human Sleep Science at the University of California, Berkeley. He is the author of the book Why We Sleep in which he explains how sleep affects the mind and body and the role it can play in conditions like dementia and depression.

He explains the science behind sleep and gives tips to get better sleep. Some of the lesson titles include How Sleep Works, Night Owl or Morning Lark?, Prevent Sleep Debt, Fire Up the Brain, Overnight Therapy, The Absurd Act of Dreaming, Sleep to Thrive, and Reclaim Your Sleep.

8. Margaret Atwood Teaches Creative Writing

Margaret Atwood is a well-known author of over 40 books of fiction, poetry, and critical essays. She is the author of the famous book The Handmaid’s Tale. She has won many awards and her stories have been adapted for television.

Atwood shares her writing process and gives advice on plotting stories, structuring novels, bringing characters to life, and crafting dialogues among many other things. Some of the lesson titles include Story and Plot, Narrative Point of View, Creating Compelling Characters, Writing Through Roadblocks, and The Writer’s Path.

9. Stephen Curry Teaches Shooting, Ball-Handling, and Scoring

Stephen Curry has broken numerous NBA records. He won his first NBA championship in 2015 and his second in 2017. He has also earned two MVP (Most Valuable Player) awards.

Curry explains his mechanics, drills, mental attitude, and scoring techniques. Some of the lesson titles include Form Shooting Practice, Ball Handling: On The Move, Creating Space From Your Defender, Ball Screens, Scoring at the Rim, and Pregame Preparation.

10. Carlos Santana Teaches the Art and Soul of Guitar

Carlos Santana has ​​hit number one on the Billboard charts with Abraxas, featuring seminal hits “Oye Como Va” and “Black Magic Woman/Gypsy Queen.” He now has a legendary status as a guitarist.

He gives his secrets about how he plays the guitar to move the hearts of audiences. Some of the lesson titles include Practice as Musical Offering, Going Inside the Note, Finding Your Sound, Learning From the Blues, Melody is Supreme, Leading and Playing in a Band, and Continuing Your Transformation.

Our Top 5 Favorite Masterclasses

1. Gordon Ramsay Teaches Cooking

Gordon Ramsay has been made an Officer of the Order of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth II. His restaurant has earned three Michelin stars and now his empire has grown to 30 restaurants throughout Europe, Asia, and the U.S.

He teaches his layouts, methods, skills, and recipes. Some of the lesson titles include Pomme Purée, Cauliflower Steak, Olives and Mushrooms, Roasted Aubergine With Basil and Feta, Szechuan Roasted Whole Chicken, Sesame Crusted Tuna With Cucumber Salad, and Raspberry Soufflé.

2. Garry Kasparov Teaches Chess

Garry Kasparov became the under-18 chess champion of the USSR at the age of 12, the World Junior Champion at 17, and the youngest World Chess Champion at the age of 22. He held on to the title of the world’s highest-rated player until retirement.

He shows everything from the fundamentals to various tactics and strategies to become a master at Chess. Some of the lesson titles include Discovered Attacks, Deflection/Attraction, Winning Trades, Openings, How to Analyse, and Mental Toughness.

3. Bob Iger Teaches Business Strategy and Leadership

Bob Iger is the chairman and CEO of The Walt Disney Company. Disney’s annual net income has increased more than 400 percent under his leadership. He’s been ranked the most powerful person in entertainment by The Hollywood Reporter many years in a row.

He teaches ​​how to lead creatively and curiously with an acceptance of risk and an ability to learn from mistakes for extraordinary business success. Some of the lesson titles include Using Your Time Efficiently, The Art of Negotiation, Creating Brand Value, Anticipating What Consumers Want, The Importance of Risk-Taking, and Tenets for Success.

4. The Power of Empathy With Pharrell Williams and Noted Co-Instructors

Pharrell Williams is an artist, songwriter, producer, fashion designer, bestselling author, and cultural influencer. He is the founder of Black Ambition, a non-profit dedicated to reducing the wealth gap by providing funding and resources to Black and Latinx entrepreneurs.

He and other co-instructors give various practices and exercises to tap into the power of empathy to change the world. Some of the lesson titles include The Evolution of Empathy, Changing Your Vantage Point, Empathy as Democratizing Force, The Love Ethic, and Extinguishing Limitations & Empowering Others.

5. Paul Krugman Teaches Economics and Society

Paul Krugman is a Nobel-prize-winning economist known for his work on international trade and economic geography. He is the author or editor of 20 books and more than 200 papers in professional journals and edited volumes.

He shares the economic theories that drive history and help explain the world around you. Some of the lesson titles include Two Fundamental Principles of Economics, Major Developments in Economic Thought, Economic Solutions to Crises, Inequality: The Growing Gap, Understanding Taxes, and Economic Geography.

Thank you for reading this far! If this course selection has convinced you, and you can’t wait to start learning, please use the button below to sign up for Masterclass. You’ll support this site at no extra cost in the process by automatically letting them know we’ve referred you, and we’ll get a small commission. Thanks! And now, on to the rest of our Masterclass review: pricing and competitors!

Masterclass Pricing

Masterclass has three pricing plans and one customized solution for businesses. All plans give you access to 150+ classes across 11 categories. Here are the differences between the plans:

1. Individual

The Individual plan costs $180 per year (or $15 per month). It lets you create one account and use Masterclass on one device at a time. It doesn’t let you download lessons for offline viewing.

2. Duo

The Duo plan costs $240 per year (or $20 per month). It lets you watch Masterclass courses on two devices at the same time. In addition, it allows you to download lessons for offline viewing.

3. Family

The Family plan costs $276 per year (or $23 per month). It lets you watch Masterclass courses on six devices at the same time, making it the best value option if you intend to share it with your friends and family.

4. Masterclass at Work

Since Masterclass provides a lot of courses in the Business category, Masterclass at Work could be a great addition to a company. It could enhance a business with courses on Strategy & Leadership, Sales Organization & Deal Closing strategies, Effective Communication strategies, etc.

The pricing depends on the volume of orders. You can contact their sales team for more info.

Masterclass vs Competitors

Masterclass alternatives are plenty. Here are the key differences between its main competitors:

Masterclass vs Skillshare

  • Masterclass instructors are industry experts whereas Skillshare allows any user to create a course.
  • Masterclass has fewer courses than Skillshare but their production quality is much better.
  • Masterclass doesn’t offer a free trial whereas Skillshare lets you get started for free.

Masterclass vs Udemy

  • Masterclass is led by experts in their field whereas Udemy courses can be created by anyone.
  • Masterclass has a subscription-based model whereas Udemy lets you buy individual courses, some of which are free.
  • Masterclass has fewer courses but its content and production quality are usually way better than Udemy.

Masterclass vs Coursera

  • Masterclass courses are taught by celebrities or artists who are masters in their profession whereas Coursera courses are taught by college professors and teachers.
  • Masterclass doesn’t provide a completion certificate while Coursera awards students a certificate from colleges and companies upon course completion.
  • Coursera provides free access to its courses but the production quality of Masterclass is better.

Masterclass vs CreativeLive

  • Masterclass instructors are generally more famous in their industry than CreativeLive instructors.
  • Masterclass courses can only be accessed with their membership while CreativeLive courses can be bought individually.
  • Masterclass courses cover a more diverse range of topics whereas CreativeLive courses are restricted to a few categories.

Masterclass vs LinkedIn Learning

  • Masterclass courses are focused on creative and business skills whereas LinkedIn Learning courses are more diverse for various career options.
  • Masterclass doesn’t offer any completion certificate while LinkedIn Learning gives you certificates that you can also display on your LinkedIn profile.
  • Masterclass subscription is cheaper than LinkedIn Learning. 

Masterclass vs Mindvalley

  • Masterclass offers courses on creative and business skills whereas Mindvalley is more focused on personal development.
  • Masterclass has less of a community aspect to it while Mindvalley has a private social network.
  • Masterclass’ basic plan is cheaper than Mindvalley annual membership. 

Conclusion of Our Masterclass Review: Should You Get Masterclass?

Masterclass was founded in 2014 and it has gained more and more popularity ever since. Despite tough competition in the online course market, Masterclass remains the best premium option for those who value high-quality material and expert advice. You can consider buying Masterclass membership if:

  • You want to learn from some of the best experts in their fields.
  • You value a great user and learning experience.
  • You are interested in learning about the topics: Food, Arts & Entertainment, Business, Writing, Home & Lifestyle, Wellness, Design and Style, Music, Sports & Gaming, Sports & Gaming, Science & Tech, and Community & Government.
  • You want to share Masterclass membership with family members or a business.
  • You like to take, save and revisit notes while taking online courses as Masterclass makes it easy for you.
  • You want to commit to ongoing learning and greater mastery.

Overall, we think Masterclass is most likely the best online course platform out there. You’ll learn from true legends and veterans, and the production quality is unrivaled.

Thank you for reading our Masterclass review! We hope you found it helpful. If you like what you’ve seen and are excited to sign up, simply use the button below. We’ll get a small commission for referring you at no extra cost to you. Thank you!

Masterclass is an outstanding online course platform. You may find alternatives that are more suitable or budget-friendly for you, but if our review makes you want to try Masterclass, we recommend you give it a shot! While there is no free trial of Masterclass, there is a 30-day refund policy in case you decide it’s not for you.

Other Reviews

Looking for our other reviews of the most popular book summary apps, tools, and services? Here’s a list of all the reviews we’ve published so far:

Evernote Review Cover

Evernote Review 2024: Is It the Best Note-Taking App?

Is Evernote the best note-taking app for you? How does it compare with its alternatives? Is the free plan of Evernote enough or is it worth getting the premium version? Let’s find out.

Evernote is a popular note-taking app with a large userbase. It has established a solid reputation among students and professionals. People often use it for both their personal and professional needs.

In our Evernote review, you’ll find out how it works, its pros and cons, and how it compares with its alternatives so you can pick the note-taking app that suits you the best. As usual, you can use our handy table of contents below to jump to whatever section might interest you the most! Let’s go!

Quick Summary of Our Evernote Review (FAQ)

1. Is Evernote the best note-taking app?

Evernote is one of the best note-taking apps. Whether it is the best for you depends on your preference and needs. We compared Evernote with its common alternatives in the Evernote vs Competitors section of the review.

2. Does Evernote offer a free version?

Evernote has a free plan that covers the basic features you’ll need to take notes for personal use. If you want access to the premium features or need more storage, you’ll need to upgrade your account. Check out the Evernote Pricing section of the review for details.

3. How’s the user experience of the Evernote app?

Most users find the interface of Evernote simple and accessible. However, its extra features can be a bit more complicated than some of its alternatives that offer a simple note-taking solution without the added features.

4. How much does Evernote cost?

Evernote has a free plan, a premium personal plan for $7.99 a month or $69.99 a year, and a premium professional plan for $9.99 a month or $99.99 a year. We compare the differences between them in the Evernote Pricing section of the review.

5. How does Evernote compare with its alternatives?

There are many similar apps to Evernote. It is commonly compared with apps like OneNote, Notion, Google Keep, Notability, Bear, Apple Notes, Trello, and Todoist. We highlight the key differences between them in the Evernote vs Competitors section of the review.

If this is all you’ve wanted to know, and you want to go right ahead and start a risk-free Evernote trial while securing any exclusive discounts we might be able to get for you, you can use the button below to get started. You’ll also support Four Minute Books at no extra cost to you, as we’ll receive a small commission for referring you. Thank you! If not, read on for the rest of our detailed Evernote review.

Pros and Cons of Evernote

Evernote is one of the most famous note-taking apps which also has a task management system. It is known for its extensive features with an easy-to-use interface. Most users stick with it because it lets you efficiently capture, organize, and search notes. It also syncs between several devices and integrates with third-party programs.

Evernote has its upsides and downsides as follows:

Pros of using Evernote:

  1. Capturing, accessing, organizing, and searching the notes is convenient. It also syncs with other devices quickly so you can switch between your devices with ease.
  2. Navigating the app is super simple and elegant. Most people have no trouble getting started with the app. Even the advanced features are easy to grasp, thanks to its slick user experience and interface.
  3. Miscellaneous features like Web Clipper, Document Scanning, Character Recognition, Tasks, and Calendar make it stand out as a prominent note-taking app. These features can save you a lot of valuable time and effort.
  4. Integration with apps like Google Drive, Slack, Outlook, MS Teams, Zapier, and Gmail makes it extremely useful for working professionals. It’s also helpful for teams working together.

Cons of using Evernote:

  1. Cheaper alternatives to Evernote are available when you compare their premium plans. However, the price difference between them is only a few dollars.
  2. Evernote can be heavier or more complex than a simple note-taking app if you take notes occasionally and don’t need the extra features.
  3. Some of Evernote’s competitors provide more storage but usually, most people find Evernote’s storage to be more than enough.

What Is It Like to Use Evernote?

Evernote is a dedicated note-taking app that gives you complete control over your notes. It makes capturing, organizing, and searching notes exceptionally accessible.

Evernote’s user experience is simple, elegant, and efficient. It syncs between multiple devices fast and is available on desktop, mobile, and web. The navigation on all devices stays similar.

Onboarding instructions make it easy to get started with the app. Even the advanced features are not hard to grasp. You can access almost all features from the home tab or you can open the side menu bar to access various sections.

1. Navigating the App

The following features and sections are available while navigating the app:

Evernote Review Menu

Is Evernote the Best Note-Taking App?

  • Notes

A collection of all notes sorted by recently used.

Is Evernote Worth It?

  • Scratch Pad

A writing space for jotting down a quick note, which you can later delete or copy-paste into a new note.

  • Pinned Note

Pinned notes are shown in this section for quick access.

  • Recently Captured

Captured web clips, images, documents, audios, and emails are shown in this section.

  • Notebooks

A list of all the Notebooks sorted by recently used. Notes are organized under Notebooks.

Is Evernote Worth the Price?

  • Tags

A collection of tags made by the user to easily access notes under the same tag.

Evernote Review

  • Shortcuts

A list of shortcuts created by the user to quickly access frequently used notes.

Is Evernote the Best Note-Taking App?

  • Calendar

The calendar connects with Google Calendar to link notes with events for easy access.

  • Filtered Notes

Set filters based on keywords, tags, notebooks, attachments, dates, etc. to view a collection of notes in one place.

Is Evernote Worth It?

  • My Tasks

A list of tasks created by the user that can be added to notes and organized with due dates or flags.

Is Evernote Worth the Price?

  • Settings

Manage app settings and customize the look with Dark Mode or Create Button appearance options.

Evernote Review

2. Writing Notes

Is Evernote the Best Note-Taking App?

As you tap the “+ New” button, you’re prompted with a range of options to add a camera photo, sketch, attachment, audio, task, or a note.

Evernote vs OneNote

At the top, you can see or edit the notebook under which the note is saved. Then, you can enter the title or simply start writing. You also have an option to pick a Template provided by Evernote or you can create a custom template if you’re a premium user.

Is Evernote Still Worth the Price?

These are the formatting options you can use while typing notes:

  • Insert a task, camera photo, calendar event, attachment, image, link, table, divider, audio, checkbox, code block, sketch, or Google Drive files within the note.
  • Edit the text style, size, font, text color, highlight color, or text alignment.
  • Make the text bold, italics, underlined, struckthrough, subscripted or superscripted.
  • Add a checklist, bullet list, or numbered list
  • Add a link with a title and a URL.

You can use the following features while using notes:

Evernote Review

  • Share the note with someone via email, invitation, or by creating a shareable link.
  • Search text within the note.
  • Add a tag or reminder to the note. 
  • Pin the note to Home.
  • Find more info about the note such as creation date, last update date, size, etc.
  • Save the note as a template.
  • Print, move, duplicate or delete the note.
  • Undo or redo any action.

Evernote’s sketching mode comes with the following additional features:

Evernote Review

  • Turn on “Snap to shape” for smoother or precise sketches.
  • Change the background color or background pattern of the sketch.
  • Change the color and the size of the sketching pencil or the highlighter pen.
  • Use the eraser or the slicer to edit the sketch.
  • Zoom in, zoom out, or come back to the fit-to-screen view.

3. Searching Notes

Evernote Review

Evernote is popular for its search feature that makes it incredibly easy to search through the notes.

You can apply filters based on tags, notebook, creation date, update date, and the following contents:

  • Addresses
  • Archive Files
  • Attachments
  • Audio
  • Calendar Events
  • Checkboxes
  • Code Blocks
  • Contacts
  • Dates
  • Document Files
  • Email Addresses
  • Encryptions
  • Google Drive
  • Images
  • Integers
  • Lists
  • Numbers
  • Office Files
  • PDF Files
  • Percentages
  • Person Names
  • Phone Numbers
  • Presentations
  • Prices
  • Spreadsheets
  • Tables
  • Tasks
  • Tasks: Completed
  • Tasks: Not Completed
  • Time
  • URLs
  • Video
  • Webclips

The search function also includes character recognition that searches for keywords in photos, whiteboard scans, business cards, handwritten notes, and documents.

If this is all you’ve wanted to know, and you want to go right ahead and start a risk-free Evernote trial while securing any exclusive discounts we might be able to get for you, you can use the button below to get started. You’ll also support Four Minute Books at no extra cost to you, as we’ll receive a small commission for referring you. Thank you! If not, read on for the rest of our detailed Evernote review.

Additional Features of Evernote

Evernote continually adds features to keep its reputation as one of the best note-taking apps. Some additional features that make Evernote stand out are:

1. Web Clipper

The Web Clipper is available as a browser extension that lets you save web pages, articles, images, screen captures, and PDFs. You can easily organize them under notebooks and annotate screenshots while saving them.

2. Document Scanning

If you hate keeping piles of papers, Evernote has got your back! You can scan and save any document whether it is your ID card, a business file, or a handwritten note. With Evernote’s character recognition feature, you can even search inside documents for a particular text.

3. App Integrations

All your tasks, emails, calendar, and notes can work in harmony with third-party integrations in Evernote. It integrates with applications like Google Calendar, Gmail, Google Drive, Slack, Microsoft Teams, Salesforce, Outlook, and Zapier.

4. Penultimate App

Penultimate is a free digital handwriting app for iPad by Evernote. It’s like a paperless and inkless notebook that you can take anywhere for sketching or writing notes. It syncs with Evernote seamlessly. 

Evernote Pricing

Evernote has three tiers of pricing and a team plan:

1. The Free Plan

Many users who don’t need premium features only use the free version of Evernote as it covers the basic features you’ll need for casual use. It includes:

  • 2 devices synchronization
  • Up to 60 GB monthly uploads
  • Up to 25 MB note size
  • 3 widgets on the home page
  • In-note tasks
  • Search with tags
  • Web clipping
  • Document scanning
  • Attachments as PDFs, receipts, files, photos, images, and documents
  • Audio notes
  • Gmail connection to save emails in Evernote
  • Offline access to notes on the desktop

You can see all details of the free plan here.

2. The Personal Premium Plan

The Personal Premium plan costs $7.99 a month or $69.99 a year. It is ideal for personal use if you want to use its premium features. It covers all the features of the free plan and also includes:

  • Unlimited devices synchronization
  • Up to 10 GB monthly uploads
  • Up to 200 MB note size
  • Customizable home page
  • Access to extra widgets
  • Google Calendar connection
  • Due dates, reminders, and notifications feature for tasks
  • Offline access to notes on mobile and desktop
  • Text search inside images, docs, and PDFs
  • Custom templates
  • Images and PDFs annotation
  • Email forwarding to Evernote
  • Google Drive connection to add files to notes
  • Note version history and restoration

You can see all details of the Personal plan here*.

3. The Professional Premium Plan

The Professional Premium Plan costs $9.99 a month or $99.99 a year. It is best for professionals who want to manage projects of large scope at work or in their personal life. It covers everything in the personal premium plan and also includes:

  • Up to 20 GB monthly uploads
  • Access to all widgets and customization options for the home page
  • Personal and workplace Google Calendar connections
  • Task management system for teams
  • Boolean terms search
  • Location-based search
  • Notebooks exports (as PDFs)
  • Integration with Slack, Salesforce, Microsoft Teams, and more

For a full overview of all details of the Professional plan, go here*.

4. Evernote Teams

Evernote also offers a workplace solution for businesses working in teams. It costs $14.99 per user a month. It covers everything in the Professional Premium Plan and also includes:

  • Spaces that make collaboration in team projects easier. You can access all notes, documents, and tasks within a Space from one dashboard. You can also find the latest updates made by the team members and pin notes that are frequently accessed.
  • Admin Console lets the admin manage users, content, billing, security settings, and integrations from this dashboard. It also lets you search the activity history with detailed logs.

Evernote vs Competitors

There are many alternatives to Evernote. Below we compare the key differences between them to help you make the best choice.

Evernote vs OneNote

  • Evernote is more user-friendly, simple, and elegant than OneNote.
  • Evernote offers some features only to premium users whereas OneNote gives all its features for free. You’d only need to pay for OneNote if you need more than 5GB of data storage.
  • Evernote has an advanced search tool whereas OneNote’s search function is limited to text without many search modifiers.

Evernote vs Notion

  • Evernote is primarily a note-taking app whereas Notion is more than a note-taking app. Therefore, Evernote is best if you’re looking for an exclusive note-taking app without many distracting features and Notion is best for those who want a multipurpose workplace app.
  • Evernote can be great for personal management whereas Notion may be better for large team project collaborations.
  • Evernote offers features like in-app sketching and document scanning whereas Notion doesn’t offer such features.

Evernote vs Google Keep

  • Evernote’s user interface is like a notebook while Google Keep’s interface is like sticky notes. Therefore, Google Keep is simpler to use and navigate, but Evernote offers more features.
  • Evernote integrates with many programs whereas Google Keep integrates only with Google applications.
  • Evernote has rich text formatting options whereas Google Keep doesn’t offer such text formatting options.

Evernote vs Notability

  • Evernote’s free plan provides enough features whereas the free version of Notability is quite limited even for personal use. However, the premium version of Notability costs only $11.99 a year (pricing varies by region).
  • Evernote organizes notes under Notebooks whereas Notability has Subjects and then Dividers which makes its organization a bit more complex.
  • Evernote is available on Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android whereas Notability is only available on Mac and iOS.

Evernote vs Bear

  • Evernote offers distinct features like Templates, Web Clipper, and Audio Notes while Bear has other distinct features like multiple export options, Markdown Syntax and Focus Mode.
  • Evernote is available on Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android whereas Bear is only available on Mac and iOS.
  • Evernote integrates with more third-party programs than Bear, which makes Evernote easier to synchronize with your workflow.

Evernote vs Apple Notes

  • Evernote and Apple Notes, both let you create Notebooks but Evernote lets you tag notes whereas Apple Notes lets you create sub-notebooks.
  • Evernote provides rich text formatting, has many features, and integrates with many third-party programs whereas Apple Notes is simpler, has fewer features, and doesn’t integrate with any third-party program.
  • Evernote is available on Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android whereas Apple Notes is only available on Mac and iOS.

Evernote vs Trello

  • Evernote is great for taking and organizing notes while Trello is best for planning and managing projects. You can use either one or use both by connecting them with the Evernote Power-Up in Trello.

Evernote vs Todoist

  • Evernote is specialized in note-taking with Tasks as an additional feature while Todoist is a dedicated task management app for managing projects.

Feel inspired to start a risk-free trial of Evernote? Click the button below to get started. You’ll also support Four Minute Books at no extra cost to you, as we’ll receive a small commission for referring you. Thank you! If not, read on for the conclusion of our Evernote review.

Conclusion of Our Evernote Review: Is It Worth It?

Evernote is a prominent note-taking app that has been around for decades. It is reported to have more than 250 million users. Although it has many alternatives, Evernote has many loyal fans who stick with it too. It may be best for you if:

  • You take a lot of notes and want to organize them efficiently. Its advanced search will let you find the exact note you’re looking for in seconds.
  • You’d like a task management system built into the app along with your notes to smoothen your workflow.
  • You like to take voice notes, draw sketches, insert images or scan handwritten notes.
  • You want an easy and efficient way to clip sections or pages from the web to add to your notes.
  • You use several devices to take notes and want them to work in synchronization.
  • You use applications like Gmail, Google Drive, Google Calendar, Slack, Outlook, MS Teams, Zapier, etc., and want to integrate them with your notes or tasks.

Overall, Evernote is a great app for your personal and professional use. It is worth the considerate price. Once you get the hang of it, you’ll likely stick with it.

In our opinion, Evernote is the most accessible note-taking app with rich enough features to cover most, if not all use cases you’ll need. Other Evernote alternatives are not bad either, but we prefer Evernote because its developers keep upgrading the app to make it more useful, efficient, and ever easier to use.

That’s it! If you now want to try Evernote while supporting Four Minute Books at no extra cost (we’ll receive a small commission for referring you), use the button below. Thank you!

We hope you found this review helpful, and that you now have the information you need to pick the best note-taking app that works for you. We’ve been using Evernote to organize our book summaries for many years, and we still think it’s one of the best productivity tools out there.

Other Reviews

Looking for our other reviews of the most popular book summary apps, tools, and services? Here’s a list of all the reviews we’ve published so far:

Academic Mastery With Roam Review 2024

Academic Mastery With Roam Review Cover

Roam Research is one of the best (if not the best) pieces of software for writers, academics, and thought leaders to take notes and manage their knowledge. The problem is that not many people know how to take full advantage of Roam and all its functions. For that, you need to put deliberate effort into learning it, preferably having someone holding your hand in the process.

Academic Mastery With Roam is a digital course for academics on how to use Roam Research efficiently. The course was created by Maarten van Doorn, a Ph.D. in philosophy and one of the top Medium writers with hundreds of thousands of views on his articles. In his course, Maarten walks you through his research and writing process and shows you workflows that you can then replicate in your own work.

In this review, I’m going to cover exactly how the course can help you master Roam, who it is for, and what you should and shouldn’t expect from it. By the end of reading this page, you will have a good understanding of whether Academic Mastery With Roam is the right online course for you.

If you want to quickly jump to any section that’s particularly relevant to you, use the handy table of contents below:

Alright, let’s get started!

Summary: Academic Mastery With Roam Review (FAQ)

1. Who is the person behind this course?

Maarten van Doorn is the creator and teacher of this course. At the time of writing this review, he’s a PhD candidate in philosophy and one of the most successful Medium writers. In 2021, he received the Outstanding Doctoral Student Award. He also coached dozens of people one-on-one in using Roam Research.

2. What’s inside the course?

Academic Mastery With Roam is a video course hosted on Teachable. It consists of six modules walking you through a research and writing process Maarten designed based on the Zettelkasten method. You’ll learn the nitty-gritty of Roam’s various functions and extensions, and how to use them in your academic work. More than this just being about taking and organizing notes, the course teaches you how to create your own knowledge management system. It also covers how to study effectively, and how to turn your notes into publishable written output.

3. How much does it cost and what are the alternatives? Is it worth the price?

Academic Mastery With Roam costs $159. It’s the more favorably priced one out of the two available courses on Roam Research that are designed specifically for academics. For more general online courses on Roam, you can check out this page.

Given how much content Maarten provides, I feel like you’re getting a lot here for your money, especially considering you’ll get 20% off with our affiliate link. That said, ultimately, you’ll have to be the judge of the value of this course. Luckily, you’ll also have 30 days to make up your mind.

4. Is there a money-back guarantee?

Yes. You have 30 days to request your money back and there will be no questions asked.

5. How long does it take to complete the course?

In the live version of the course, the modules were designed to take one week each. That said, the course is completely self-paced, so you can do it in your own time. The total length of all video material amounts to about 6-7 hours. Compared to many Roam Research courses that only have 1-2 hours of videos, it means that this one covers quite a lot!

Also, keep in mind that this isn’t one of those courses that you complete once and for all. You’re likely to review the material many times to study those aspects of Roam you’re currently working with.

If that’s all you wanted to know, and you’d now like to go right ahead and try Academic Mastery With Roam, use the button below to get started.

You’ll even get a generous 20% off for being a Four Minute Books reader and support us at no extra cost to you, since we’ll receive a commission for referring you. You’ll also have a full 30 days to test the course and get your money back if you don’t like it for any reason whatsoever.

Thank you! If you want to learn more first, read on for the detailed review.

The Pros & Cons of Academic Mastery With Roam

Before we go into the details of the course content, I want to give you an overview of the biggest advantages and downsides I found in it. This will give you. an initial overview of what you should and shouldn’t expect from Academic Mastery With Roam.


  • The course is extremely well-structured. You may not realize this in the beginning, as Maarten seems to be “dumping” a lot of information right off the bat. But there’s a reason for it and that is to give you an idea of what Roam Research can do. As you go through the course, you’ll gradually learn how to get those same results in your own work. Maarten also “zooms out” on the course content quite a lot, giving an overview of where you currently are in the course. I found this helpful for consolidating my knowledge about Roam.
  • This course is suitable both for beginners and somewhat experienced Roam users. In many modules, you can choose your “level of entry” depending on how advanced you are in using Roam and designing your knowledge structure. As a complete beginner, you can also decide to take the course in its most basic scope first and skip some of the videos. You can then come back to them later to expand your command of Roam.
  • The course was created by a successful online writer and academic who won an Outstanding Doctoral Student Award in 2021. He also coached dozens of people one-on-one in using Roam. I can’t think of someone who would be more qualified to explain the architecture of knowledge, as well as the mechanics of learning and note-taking.
  • Long-term, Academic Mastery With Roam will give you much more than fluency in using Roam as software. It’ll help you build your personal knowledge management system, which you will likely use well beyond the context of academia.
  • It has a 30-day money back guarantee. This means you’re buying this course risk-free because one month is definitely enough time to verify if Maarten’s approach works for you. If it does, I’m sure you’ll be more than happy with what you paid for the value you’re getting!


  • No additional accountability by default. As someone who expects added accountability from buying online courses, I found there weren’t enough assignments to complete as a form of “homework.” Because the course is self-paced, it’s also up to you to divide lessons over a period of time – which may be a challenge. That said, Maarten is now offering access to his online community as part of the course, which may be one way to get that accountability and motivation!
  • Lots of new terminology to learn. Several new concepts will be thrown at you right from the start. Maarten explains Roam’s functionalities from the academic angle: making arguments, collecting evidence, linking supporting and objecting claims, etc. This will probably be no big challenge for academics who work with logic principles on a daily basis. For a blogger like me, it required an extra bit of effort.
  • No lesson on keyboard shortcuts. These can make working in Roam much faster and also, Roam allows you to customize your key commands. Luckily, this is something you can easily find online without paying, including guides on how to customize your keyboard shortcuts in Roam.

What Is It Like Inside the Course?

Academic Mastery With Roam is hosted on Teachable, one of the most popular e-learning platforms. This makes it very straightforward to navigate. Here’s how the course will look on your desktop:

On the left, you have a sidebar that displays the course’s curriculum. In the main column, you’ll see a video with the lesson you’re currently watching, plus links to additional resources underneath. You can also post comments under each lesson if you have questions, suggestions, or doubts.

Most of the videos simply show Maarten’s Roam screen which he uses to present the lesson material. By the way – looking at the dates of some of his notes will show you that he’s been using Roam Research for a long time! Occasionally, Maarten will show his face (usually in a short video where he summarizes the module) or give a slideshow presentation – for example, when he explains the Zettelkasten method.

Zettelkasten is the foundation of the system Maarten will teach you in the course. First used by a prolific German scientist Niklas Luhmann, it’s a system for making interlinked notes and, by extension, enabling innovative thinking and synthesizing research. This is central to what Academic Mastery With Roam course is about. 

Rather than just teaching you how to use a software tool, Academic Mastery With Roam helps you develop a complete system for reading, studying, note-taking – and finally, producing quality written output based on all that.

Here’s a brief overview of how this is broken down into six modules.

Module 1

The first module is a tour through Roam’s user functions. It shows you what edits you can make in the text, how you can link text blocks together and embed them in different places, what a Roam graph is, and many other things. After this module, you’ll get a sense of what’s possible with Roam (although the understanding of how to make it happen comes later ;))

Some of the key takeaways from Module 1: 

  • Creating, linking, and tagging blocks and pages
  • Text formatting within Roam
  • Using Roam templates and extensions.

Module 2

The second module focuses on effective reading strategies. Maarten speaks about why most popular reading techniques are inefficient for retaining information (although they seem to be). He also introduces the first steps to start building your Roam’s knowledge database.

Some of the key takeaways from Module 2: 

  • Mental processes to “run in the background” that will help you remember what you read
  • Learning to install Zotero (a digital reference manager) and integrating it with Roam
  • Learning how to import chosen content from pdfs, websites, Readwise, and Twitter into Roam.

Module 3

The third module is all about effective studying. This means translating the content of your highlights into your own words – which, as Maarten teaches, is important for a few reasons. Mainly, it’s crucial for remembering and better understanding what you read, so you can later use it in the context of your own academic work.

Some of the key takeaways from Module 3:

  • The importance of spaced repetition when it comes to retaining information,
  • Setting up a spaced repetition system in Roam, so you can actively learn from your notes,
  • The Feynman technique to deepen the understanding of your research topics.

Module 4

The fourth module introduces the Zettelkasten method and explains the principles of taking smart notes. You’ll learn how to make them relevant for your future self, as well as how to organize them and structure your knowledge database in Roam.

Some of the key takeaways from Module 4:

  • Becoming familiar with different types of notes and how to use them,
  • Learning how to use keywords to file your notes
  • Learning how to dissect what you read into atomic smart notes written in your own words.

Module 5

The fifth module expands on the relationships between your notes. It adds information on how to make relevant connections between notes so, as Maarten puts it, they can start “talking to each other.” This is where you really start reaping the rewards of the Zettelkasten method by discovering ideas and lines of thought that were previously inaccessible.

Some of the key takeaways from Module 5:

  • Learning how to create explanatory and argumentative connections between notes,
  • Building a smart notes template that you can keep using in the future,
  • Introduction to the complete Roam workflow based on everything you learned.

Module 6

The sixth module is all about turning your notes into publishable text. This is where everything comes together and you get final tools to produce excellent written output based on your Roam notes.

Some of the main takeaways from Module 6:

  • Learning how to outline your paper or book in Roam,
  • A cool feature in the Discourse Graph extension that allows you to visually plan the content of your paper,
  • An export workflow in Roam to create your bibliography much faster.

If you feel like you’ve learned enough and now want to try Academic Mastery With Roam, use the button below to get started.

You’ll even get a generous 20% off for being a Four Minute Books reader and support us at no extra cost to you, since we’ll receive a commission for referring you. You’ll also have a full 30 days to test the course and get your money back if you don’t like it for any reason whatsoever.

Thank you! If you want to learn more first, read on for the rest of this review.

Additional Bonuses of Academic Mastery With Roam

Throughout the course, there are a few nice add-ons you may not expect. In my opinion, they add to the learning experience, making the material even richer. Here are a few simple but cool features I appreciated:

  • Recordings of live workshops. In between each module, you’ll find a recording from a Q&A Maarten did with his students in the live version of the course. In there, you’ll hear people asking questions you may have had yourself. It can be helpful especially in the second part of the course when you’re actively building relationships between notes and need some additional explanations.
  • Live Q&A every last Tuesday of the month. This is your chance to ask Maarten a question in person! 😉
  • Lots of cool additional resources. If you feel like taking a bit of a break from videos, be sure to check out the “Useful Resources & Our Community Forum” (the second lesson of the course). In there, Maarten lists various resources: from links to other experts’ articles to specific guides on installing extensions and implementing bits of code, to a graphic representation of the complete workflow.
  • Subtitles to highlight the most important points. In his videos, Maarten uses selective subtitles to highlight the key parts of what he’s saying. I found it super useful, as this gives my brain cues to pay extra attention to what’s most important.
  • Displaying the course material in the form of Roam notes. As Maarten goes through the course content, you see everything he’s saying summarized in the form of Roam notes. This gives you a better understanding of how Roam can be used for a complex task, such as designing an online course.
  • Effective reading and memorization techniques. This course really is about effective learning – and using Roam is a big part of that. Throughout the course, Maarten explains really valuable practices, like the Feynman technique or spaced repetition, that you can use anywhere and anytime – not just when working with Roam.
  • The Zettelkasten method is explained in depth. Zettelkasten has become a bit of hype, but I’ve rarely seen it explained with the kind of depth that Maarten provides in his course. For me, this was the first real opportunity to understand what lies at the core of Zettelkasten ( i.e. fostering the connectivity of thoughts and exploring relationships between them, rather than just their content).

How Can You Get the Most Out of Academic Mastery With Roam?

The main advantage of Roam Research over other popular note-taking apps (like Evernote or Notion) is that notes can be linked together and then discovered in new contexts. It’s not about making hierarchical bullet notes that you then dig through when you need to find something. When you’re proficient with Roam, the notes you need appear in the relevant places because you designed them to do so!

While this is a game-changer, it also takes time to learn how to design that system in Roam. This may be the most important disclaimer when entering the Academic Mastery With Roam course: Don’t expect the benefits overnight.

Learning Roam is a long-term investment, and the longer you’re using it, the more returns on that investment start to compound. The more interlinked notes you have, the more Roam adds to your thinking and writing.

Knowing this, I recommend that you start using Roam Research the moment you enroll in Maarten’s course. If you’re not sure if Roam is right for you yet, don’t worry – the first month is free. But it won’t do much if you’re just studying the course material without applying it. You need to have access to Roam!

You can put the course material into practice in two ways: 

  1. Start doing your academic work in Roam, alongside studying the course. Your notes don’t have to be perfect straight away. You’ll see that Maarten also has notes from way before he developed his system, and even though they may lack some aspects he now prioritizes, they still support his overall Zettelkasten.
  2. If you’re not an academic or don’t have an ongoing research project you can apply this to simply make notes about the course. The benefit here is kind of “meta”- you’re using Roam to learn Roam! 🙂

Also, my personal way through the course was not to get too attached to the linear structure of it. For example, the first module contains a few lessons on functionalities that I wasn’t able to digest in the beginning. So, I dropped them and came back to them later after watching other modules and having gained some basic fluency in Roam.

Be prepared to watch some lessons a few times, at different stages of your learning. Chances are, they will gain new relevance after your command of Roam has improved.

The 7 Main Benefits of Academic Mastery With Roam

Maarten’s promises about Academic Mastery With Roam aren’t small. On the course’s landing page, he says that if you learn his system, you’ll remember everything you want, think better, and write effortlessly – among a few other things.

Sound like a bit of a long shot? Maybe, but taking that Maarten’s used his method to write most of his Ph.D. thesis in 10 months, it seems like he knows what he’s talking about. 

Here are the seven biggest benefits you’ll likely to experience if you take the course and study it diligently.

1. The efficiency of your learning and writing will improve.

This is a no-brainer. If you do what Maarten teaches, you’re pretty much guaranteed to become a better thinker and writer. That’s because his Roam system is designed to streamline certain processes that otherwise slow down your research. A good example is when he explains what to do with the highlights you import into Roam. You need to process them rather than just copy-paste them. The latter, in Maarten’s words, “doesn’t get you retention of the material and it doesn’t get your mastery of the material in a way sufficient for you to be able to write about it.”


2. You’ll get insights about your research topic that you wouldn’t come across otherwise.

There are only so many links between pieces of information that your brain is able to hold at any given moment. When you use Maarten’s system in Roam Research, you effortlessly create and record more of those links. As a result, you may discover completely new angles from which to view your subject matter.

3. Your memory will improve.

One cool thing about Academic Mastery With Roam is that it teaches you how to learn. The course ventures way beyond just recording pieces of information in Roam. It teaches you to do it in such a way that your retention of information and understanding of the topic improve along the way!

4. You’ll end up with your personal Wikipedia.

Another tangible benefit of taking this course is that, by doing it, you’ll end up with a well-organized knowledge database that’s relevant to your research interests. This is a really great asset that you can refer to anytime in the future, not just for the purpose of one specific project.

5. You’ll unlearn a few unhelpful studying habits.

As Nir Eyal once said, “living the life we want requires not only doing the right things, it also requires that we stop doing the wrong things that take us off-track.” This is one other benefit you’ll reap after taking Maarten’s course. You’ll stop doing the wrong things in your research and learning that give you an illusion of understanding – but that really just distract you from deepening your knowledge 

6. You’ll understand Zettelkasten and the principles of taking smart notes.

Zettelkasten is a learning system that’s praised by many academics and other knowledge workers. It allows you to organize complex ideas in a straightforward manner, record them, and connect them together. The Zettelkasten relies on atomic smart notes. Once you understand the principles that make them so smart, you’ll be able to record information in a brand new, more effective way.

7. You’ll see all the above benefits compounding exponentially over time.

Roam may be hard to get started with and as many people note, it has a “steep learning curve.” The good news is that once you get a gist of it, any material you add to your Zettelkasten increases its value exponentially. Once you reach a certain point, there’s really no going back because the value of all your notes linked together in Roam becomes far greater than just the sum of their content.

If these benefits have convinced you to try Academic Mastery With Roam, use the button below to get started.

You’ll even get a generous 20% off for being a Four Minute Books reader and support us at no extra cost to you, since we’ll receive a commission for referring you. You’ll also have a full 30 days to test the course and get your money back if you don’t like it for any reason whatsoever.

Thank you! If you want to learn more first, read on for the final part of this review.

How Maarten’s Course Helped Me Adopt a New Perspective on Learning

I’ve been an online writer for over four years now. The more I wrote, the more I had trouble digesting and compiling all the research I’ve continued to do. So, when I first heard of Roam Research, I was thrilled. I subscribed immediately, expecting a quick return on my investment.

But months have passed and I grew frustrated. I was still paying the subscription fee, but it felt like the money was wasted. I struggled to make notes in Roam because I simply didn’t know how to use it. All the available functions overwhelmed me and so, I ended up making notes that felt pretty much useless.

Despite the promises about Roam being a tool to leverage my thinking, it didn’t do that for me. Eventually, I canceled my subscription because I wasn’t seeing much progress.

It wasn’t until I found Maarten’s course that I picked it up again. I’m still by no means a proficient Roam user. I’m learning it, and the learning curve is steep indeed. But after Maarten’s course, I managed to change my perspective on learning and building my knowledge base in Roam.

My main two takeaways are about shifting my perspective to more long-term:

  1. Learning Roam takes time. I’m taking that time now to understand all the Roam’s various features and then figure out how to apply them to my work. Also, it’s okay if I don’t understand everything. It’s the grasping of the philosophy behind Roam and Zettelkasten that matters.
  2. My Roam database will become more valuable over time. Right now, I cannot draw much from my notes as I haven’t put a sufficient amount of content in. But I can already see how this will build up over time. I’ve become more patient in waiting for the biggest rewards to appear in a few months, or maybe rather, in a few years’ time.

Academic Mastery With Roam: Is It Worth the Price? And for Whom?

There are lots of resources to help you learn Roam Research. Many of them seem quite solid. However, they typically offer a general overview of Roam’s functionalities without focusing all that much on the context in which you’re using them.

Academic Mastery With Roam is special in the way that it’s designed with academics in mind. It presents Roam’s functionalities in the context of making scientific arguments, supporting claims with evidence, and constructing an academic discussion that incorporates these. This saves you time that you’d otherwise spend on (1) learning Roam’s functionalities and then (2) figuring out how to apply them to the context of your research. Maarten’s already done that for you and packaged his expertise in the form of a well-structured course.

With that said, don’t anticipate this course to be fast and easy to complete. It’s definitely not enough to just passively watch video lessons to learn Roam. The only way to take full advantage of this course is to study it alongside using Roam Research, so you’re putting what you learned into practice.

Academic Mastery With Roam is a course well worth taking, especially if you work in academia. You’ll need to trust Maarten and put in a good few hours to grasp the basics. But if you do, you’ll see the benefits of Roam quickly. You’ll build your very own knowledge management system and develop a workflow that you can then use in your research, writing, and beyond.

As Maarten put it, this course will allow you to go from “I have a bunch of papers to read” to “I have now synthesized the literature and have a set of promising angles to attack my research problem from.” I think that’s an accurate description of the journey you’ll take if you decide to enroll. Overall, I can recommend this course!

I hope you found this review helpful, and if you do decide to take Maarten’s course, you’ll get 20% off with our unique discount code (affiliate link). Thank you, and happy researching and writing!

Other Reviews

Looking for our other reviews of the most popular book summary apps, tools, and services? Here’s a list of all the reviews we’ve published so far:

Scribd Review

Scribd Review 2024 — Is It Worth It? (Everand Review)

I’ve used Scribd consistently for the last 3+ years. In this Scribd review, I’ll cover all the details of why it’s my favorite audiobook service.

Scribd has audiobooks, ebooks, and more, all in one place. It’s like a combination of Audible, Audiobooks.com, Kindle, and more for less than $10 a month.

To jump to any particular section in this review, here’s a handy table of contents:

If you love books, be it fiction or nonfiction, audio or digital, I think you’re going to love Scribd. Let’s get right into the most frequently asked questions about Scribd!

Quick Summary of my Scribd Review (FAQ) 

1. What comes with a subscription to Scribd?

With a Scribd subscription, you get unlimited listening and reading of all content in their gigantic library of ebooks, audiobooks, magazines, news, podcasts, and much more.

2. How much does Scribd cost?

Scribd offers a free 30-day trial after which a subscription is just $9.99 per month. It’s as simple as that. No upsells, confusing credit systems, lack of flexibility, or anything else.

3. Is Scribd actually unlimited?

Scribd lets you listen to, read, or access any of its digital books, audiobooks, magazines, and more as much as you want for as long as you’re in a free trial or paid subscription. Some titles are available only at certain times, however, but you can still always find plenty to listen to. If not, I wouldn’t have been paying for it for the last three years!

4. Are all books available on Scribd?

Not all books and audiobooks are available on Scribd, but most are. I’ve found and listened to or read the digital versions of hundreds of bestsellers and popular books on Scribd. Its recommendations are far superior to that of Audible, so much that I’ve never run out of books to read or listen to!

5. Is Scribd safe and legal?

According to the Scribd website, it is “fully compliant with the DMCA and complies with all applicable laws.” In all my time using Scribd, I’ve never had any issues or concerns with my personal data and credit card information.

6. Is Scribd free?

You can get a 30-day free trial of Scribd during which you will have full access to their entire library just as if you were a paying customer. Other than that, Scribd is not free. Once your trial ends, you will need a subscription to keep using Scribd.

7. Do you keep Scribd books?

While you don’t get to keep the books and audiobooks you access on Scribd, I’ve found that this is never a problem. I always have more to listen to on Scribd than I have time to listen. It’s also been one of the best and most inexpensive ways for me to get a feel for books that I might want to buy before actually buying. Audible and Kindle don’t have that benefit, once you get a book there, you’re stuck with it forever.

8. Can I cancel Scribd after a free trial?

You can cancel your Scribd free trial or paid subscription at any time. I’ve had to cancel once just to switch my account to a different email address and the process is simple and painless. No gimmicks or anything!

If that’s all you’ve wanted to know, and you want to go right ahead and start a risk-free, 30-day Scribd trial, you can use the button below to get started. You’ll also support Four Minute Books at no extra cost to you. Thank you! If not, read on for the detailed review.

Pros and Cons of Scribd

I could spend all day telling you all the reasons why love using Scribd. For this review, though, I’ll just stick to six of the best. I’m also going to explain some of the drawbacks of Scribd, but I think you’ll find that many of them aren’t really that big of a deal.

Here are the main pros of using Scribd:

  1. You don’t get stuck with any bad books because you can try so many books at a time. This is really what sets Scribd apart from Audible. If you want to find a new listen on Audible you take the risk that you won’t like it. That never happens with Scribd, though, as you just find another book if you start to hate the one you’re listening to or reading. I’ve done this hundreds of times and I’m so glad I have this option!
  2. You get audiobooks and digital books and much more all in one place. I love this. If I can’t find a title in audio format, it’s usually available in digital! It’s also really helpful that I can listen when it’s tough to read and vice versa. It’s nice that I get both options in one great app! Plus there are a lot more content types to choose from. More on that in a moment.
  3. The recommendations are the best I’ve ever seen in any reading app. Audible’s recommendations mainly focus on getting you to buy new books. Kindle is the same. And the trouble with both of those is that you usually have to spend money to try any of the books out! With Scribd, you get hundreds of really specific recommendations that are actually similar to what you’re reading. Each different section usually has dozens of recommendations. And the best part is that you can click on the book and start listening to or reading it instantly!
  4. You get a ton more than just Audio and digital books and it’s all high-quality stuff. The Scribd library includes books, audiobooks, documents, magazines, podcasts, Sheet Music, and Snapshots (summaries). So not only can you get your digital books and audiobooks in one place, you can listen to your favorite podcasts and read summaries in Scribd as well!
  5. You can download books for offline listening, add bookmarks, and do just about everything else that the other reading apps do. I have yet to find an app feature within Audible that Scribd doesn’t have as well. It’s got everything that you need! If there is something missing I haven’t found it yet because it has all the features necessary for a quality listening experience.
  6. At about $10, the price is fantastic. This is a large part of why I’ve loved Scribd and have had it for as long as I have. It’s been called the “Netflix of books” and if you give it a try you’ll see why this is true. It’s been interesting to see how Audible and other services have recently been trying to keep up with Scribd by adding more streaming-type subscription options. But Scribd was always the winner in that race, and the best, in my opinion!

Now let’s take a look at the cons of using Scribd:

  1. You don’t get to keep the books you listen to. This is one area where Audible does beat Scribd, but honestly, I don’t really care. For one, as I mentioned above, the recommendations are so good and I can listen to so much at once that I never get stuck with a bad book. What’s more, I can keep listening to my favorites as long as I have a subscription. Angela Duckworth’s book Grit has been in my library for at least two years now and I’ve listened to it dozens of times!
  2. Adding highlights in digital books is tough sometimes. I never had a problem with this on Android but ever since I switched to iPhone it’s difficult to add highlights. I have to try multiple times to get it to do what I want. This doesn’t happen on Android, so it may just be an iPhone problem. They’re usually good at fixing bugs though, so I’m not worried that this will remain a long-term issue.
  3. There are too many great books to listen to. This is a good problem to have, honestly! But I do often feel like I’m missing out on so many good books because the recommendations are really so fantastic. I’ll go through phases where I listen to a dozen books at a time and it’s hard to actually finish because they’re all so good! This does help me find the best of books though, which I really enjoy.

What is it Like to Use the Scribd App?

Now that you know some of the general details and pros and cons it’s time to get into the finer details of Scribd. There’s some really cool stuff here so let’s dive right in and check it out!

We’ll start by focusing on the main uses for Scribd which are listening to audiobooks and reading digital books. Then later we’ll take a look at some of its features and benefits other than books.

First, we’ve got listening to audiobooks. Here’s what the audio player within Scribd looks like:

Scribd Audio Player

You can see the book title and author, an image of the cover, how much time you have left, and have the ability to rewind, fast-forward, skip ahead, add a bookmark, and much more. It’s a pretty similar audio player to most of the others.

Let’s start from the top and move downward looking at each feature. In the top right we have the menu, which lets you:

  • Remove the book from Saved or add it to Saved if you’re listening to a book that you haven’t yet added to your library.
  • Download the book for offline listening.
  • View the table of contents.
  • View the bookmarks you’ve added within the book.
  • Share it.
  • Change the audio jump length so instead of jumping 30 seconds at a time you can jump a different amount. 
  • See the details about the book

Scribd Audio Player Details

The next main feature on this page is that little arrow in the middle of the screen on the left. Pressing on it will take you back to a spot that you’ve previously listened to. It may be the beginning of the chapter or the beginning of the book even. It changes depending on your listening habits, which is nice.

This is helpful for being able to get right back to where you want if you end up listening on different devices or want to listen to a section multiple times.

A little below that arrow you’ll see the moon icon which will show you options for the sleep timer. This lets you select an amount of time after which Scribd will automatically pause your book so if you fall asleep you won’t miss anything. You get the following options for a sleep timer:

Scribd Sleep Timer

I really like that it has the custom option like many others but also that it adds the “End of Chapter” in there. I often listen to books before bed and it’s really helpful to be able to know that I can turn that on and not have to wonder which chapter I was in when I started in case I fall asleep partway through a chapter.

In the middle of the screen just below the image of the book, you see the option to add a bookmark. This is really helpful for quickly getting to your favorite parts of a book. It makes listening to non-fiction a lot easier because you can get right to the main points after you finish a book, which makes it easier to practice whatever the book teaches.

To the right of that, you have the option to change the playback speed. These include the typical options all the way up to 2x: 

Scribd Audio Playback Speed Options (Scribd Review)

On the very bottom, you have the main player controls. This area shows you what chapter you’re in, the progress in that chapter, and the buttons for moving around. 

Scribd Audio Player

You can press and hold the blue dot then move it backward or forward to go to any specific location in the chapter or hit the buttons directly to the left or right of the pause/play button to either rewind or fast-forward. The arrows to either side will take you to the beginning of the chapter you’re in currently or the beginning of the next chapter.

That about does it for the audiobook player, now let’s get into what it’s like to read an e-book on Scribd. 

Here’s what the e-book reader looks like (I’ve pressed the Aa menu in the top right to show the options for the look of the e-reader):

Scribd E-reader

The three dots in the upper right corner have the same options as in the audio player. Next to that, you can see the “Aa” button which lets you change your font, alignment, line spacing, scroll direction, font size, theme, and brightness. I really love that I can read in dark mode, it makes reading at night a lot easier!

Underneath this section, you have the main reader. Note that those options to change the look of this screen aren’t always showing, I just pressed that to show what you can change. 

On the reader, you can press and hold anywhere on the text to make highlights and add notes. At the bottom, you’ll see the book title, which will show you the chapters in the book. You’ll also see what page you’re on, your progress in the book, and you can scroll to any section within it. At the very bottom right you’ll see the search function which lets you find any specific words or phrases you want to look up within the book.

If you tap once anywhere on this screen you’ll enter fullscreen reading mode which hides all the player controls and even your phone’s top menu. I really like this because it’s a distraction-free way to read. You do still have the option to add a bookmark as you can see by the dashed diagonal line in the upper right corner:

Scribd E-Reader Fullscreen

Reading books in Scribd is simple and straightforward just as it should be. There are no crazy frills or missing features here. I just wish it was a little easier to add a highlight, but as I said earlier, I believe they’ll fix that soon.

Finally, the other main feature of the app is viewing the books and other content that you’ve saved. Here’s what your library looks like:

Scribd Library (Scribd Review)

If you look at the top left of the screenshot above you’ll see that we’re on the “Titles” section. This is the main area you’ll see your content in. 

Starting from the top and moving downward you can see that you have the ability to do the following:

  • Search your titles. This is only for the titles you’ve saved.
  • Filter your titles. You can select by books, audiobooks, magazines, documents, or podcasts. Also, you can hide the titles you’ve finished. This and the previous option might seem trivial but trust me, you’ll use them more than you think. With Scribd’s awesome recommendations you get a ton of books stacked up (notice how I have 64 saved titles!) and it can be hard to find what you want with so many in there!
  • Pressing the “Downloaded” button is another way of filtering that shows only the content you’ve saved to your device. This is helpful when you’re not connected to the internet. I use it all the time.
  • View the titles in your library and continue listening or reading to them.

You’ll be on this screen more than any of the other options. But within your library, you can also access your content by the following:

  • Lists, which you can use to create groupings of your content however you like. You could make lists of non-fiction books and fiction books or business books and personal development books, for instance. The sky’s really the limit here! I haven’t used this feature to its full potential yet, probably because I’ve just been spending way too much time listening to and reading all the great recommendations that Scribd gives me!

Scribd Lists

  • Notebook, where you can see all the bookmarks and highlights you’ve saved, view them and any notes you’ve added to them, and share them with others. Whenever I find a really life-changing book I use this section a ton to refer back to my favorite sections in the book. Just see how many notes and highlights I have in Jon Acuff’s Soundtracks!

Scribd Notebook and Bookmarks

  • History, which shows you everything you’ve ever read or listened to. This is helpful when I need to find a book I’ve listened to that I can’t remember the title of. 

Scribd History

Across the bottom of all these pages, you’ll see the main menu items. I haven’t focused on these yet because you’ll spend most of your time in the audio player, the reader, or your library. 

These menu items include the following:

  • Home, where you can find new content between books, audiobooks, and more. We’ll get into all of those in just a moment.

Scribd Home - All

  • Top Charts, which is just another great way to find new content to add to your library.

Scribd Top Charts

  • Search, which is also a way to find new content and is pretty self-explanatory:

Scribd Search

  • Saved, which is where you can find your library of books as explained in detail above.
  • Account, where you can find support, manage your downloads, change your settings, and more:

Scribd Account Settings

That about covers the main features of the Scribd app. There are a few more though that I think are worth touching on and we’ll get into those now!


Additional Features of the Scribd App

For this section, we’ll focus on mostly the features that make the reading, listening, and discovering experience better for just books. In the next section, we’ll dive into the other awesome content within Scribd. 

All of this can be found on the “Home” page by pressing the home icon on the bottom menu. 

Once on the Home page, you’ll see options at the top for selecting different types of content to view:

Scribd Books

The main three are All, Books, and Audiobooks. This is where I spend most of my time when I’m looking for new books. The All page has every type of content, starting with your library then showing books and audiobooks, and then going into other types of content. 

When you press on Books or Audiobooks you get a long list of recommendations in each category. These each start with the books you’ve saved, then have lists in the following categories:

  • Books similar to the ones you’ve been reading or listening to. This is one of my favorite things about Scribd. These recommendations are where I find most of the new books that I read and they are always right on with the kind of content I love most. There are multiple sections, one for each of the books you’ve read or listened to the most recently. 
  • Genre recommendations, like business, motivational, and more. These take the genres of your most read content and give you suggestions based on what you’ve been reading in that genre. 
  • Bestselling in the categories that you listen to the most, similar to what we just talked about.
  • General recommended for you based on the content type. So, for instance, if you’re in the Books tab it will show you recommended books, and so on.

Here’s a brief preview of what this looks like in the app:

Scribd Audiobooks Recommendations

Keep in mind that what you’re looking at here is just a tiny sample of the many many sections to get recommendations. So you can find thousands of books that you will enjoy. You’ll never run out of stuff to read or listen to.

Also, don’t forget that you can press and immediately begin listening to or reading any title you see. You don’t get this when you’re in Audible or Kindle. Instead, those apps make you purchase each book individually. With Scribd, you just get unlimited content that you can start reading or listening to right away. This is a big thing that sets Scribd apart for me and so many others that enjoy it. 

When you click on each title you also get to see the details of it before listening to see if it’s the kind of thing you want to dive into:

Scribd Title Details (Scribd Review)

You get to see ratings, length, and more. I really love that it will show you the formats that Scribd has available for the book. This title, for instance, is available in e-book and Snapshot, which is a summary of it:

Scribd Review

Below this, you’ll also see that there are even more recommendations for you. There are just so many ways to find great books to read in Scribd that you’ll never run out. And I know this is how it goes because I’ve been doing this for over three years now!

We’re about done with this review but there’s one other aspect of Scribd that we’ve got to touch on first. It’s other content than just books, and I really think you’re going to be excited about it!

Other Benefits Than Just Books

You’d think that all these awesome features for listening to and reading books are all there is to Scribd. But wait, there’s more! No really though, Scribd has a ton more content than just books, and it’s all really great stuff.

There are five main additional content types that Scribd offers:

  • Podcasts. Whether you like Hidden Brain, This American Life, Stuff You Should Know, or some other podcast, Scribd has them all. I really love that the first couple of sections on the Podcasts section appear to be specific based on my listening habits. It’s just further proof that Scribd is by far the best at giving recommendations! You can also find award-winning podcasts, best of, and more. 

Scribd Podcasts

  • Snapshots. If you’re familiar with Blinkist, this is just like what Blinkist offers. If you’re not, this section (and Blinkist) offers short summaries of books. You can read them or listen to them and download each for offline access as well. Most are about a 7-10 minute read which comes to about a 15-minute listen.

Scribd Snapshots

  • Sheet Music. If you play the piano, guitar, or a percussion, woodwind, or brass instrument, Scribd has sheet music for you. I’m a piano player myself and have really loved some of the sheet music I’ve found on Scribd. It’s got top songbooks, currently charting, Grammy award-winning artists, and much more. I mentioned earlier one downside of Scribd is that I end up finding too much that I don’t have time to consume it all, and this definitely applies here too.

Scribd Sheet Music

  • Documents. This section is a little different but is extremely useful. It includes documents, like PDFs, of all sorts of books and other media. A lot of it is workbook and journal-type stuff that goes along with books you read. But there’s way more than just that, you can find just about anything here. When I was studying for a licensing exam a couple of years ago I actually found some great resources that really helped with that too! I’ve never seen a section like this in any reading app but I’m really glad Scribd has it. It’s unique and useful and I think everybody will find something in it that they’ll enjoy. 

Scribd Documents (Scribd Review)

  • Magazines. Ever wonder what’s happening to print magazines as everything moves online? Well, many of them are still around and you can read them right within Scribd! It’s got a wide variety including politics, entertainment, tech, business, parenting, health, cooking, arts, crafts, home & garden, and sports. You’ll find some of the big-name magazines on here like Time, People, and Macworld, just to name a few.

Scribd Magazines

Is Scribd Worth It?

I’ll just get straight to the point and say that at about $10 per month for unlimited access to thousands of books and other content, Scribd is 100% worth it. I’ve been paying for it for over three years so I should know! It’s worth every penny I’ve spent on it.

You might look at all these features and books and think that alone makes Scribd worth it. But what really sets Scribd apart for me, and has for the past three years I’ve been using it, is the way it’s changed my life. 

A couple of years ago, not long after I first discovered Scribd, I was having a tough time with my financial situation and work. I felt burnt out, stressed out, and like I would never make enough money. Listening to all kinds of books on Scribd was helping a ton, but it all changed when Scribd’s awesome recommendations led me to this book

I listened to the entire book in just one day. Since then, I’ve used Scribd to listen to it almost 20 times. I’ve also listened to other great books on Scribd like Think and Grow Rich, Essentialism, and so many more. 

My mind and life have been completely transformed for the better because of all of these books. It’s like I get to hang out with the authors and really see how they view the world. Their perspective helps me live better, which makes me happier and more successful. 

That’s not the end of my story though. After finding that finance book and listening to it all in one day, I felt determined to change things. I made a plan to start my own company then wrote myself a check for $100,000 and dated it two years in the future. Fast-forward a couple of years later and I was checking the financials of my new company that I’d started that year. We had billed exactly $101,000 of work. I was stunned. 

Not only that, but as I reflected back on that year and on my financial life since, everything has improved. We paid cash for a car, bought a house, went on spur of the moment vacations to Hawaii and Alaska, and so much more. Most of all, we finally feel financially free, and even though life and work still have their challenges, I feel more confident than ever that we’ll be just fine.

All of this just because of one book that I found from a recommendation on Scribd.

This has improved the financial aspect of my life so dramatically that I hardly recognize it from where it was before. And that’s just this one area of my life! This has happened with many other areas as well. 

This is all to say that you can have a similar experience with Scribd. All it takes is the right book at the right time and your life can completely change for the better.

Scribd is the way to make that happen because it gives such great recommendations and you can listen to or read every one of those books right away. There’s no financial barrier like there is with Audible and Kindle. You get to try thousands of books until you find the ones that will make the difference you seek in your life.  

So you have to ask yourself, is the potential to transform your life for the better worth $10 a month? I definitely think so. And if you’re on the fence, just get a free trial of Scribd and you will get to see what I mean. You’ll never look back again. I certainly haven’t, and I plan on keeping my Scribd subscription forever.

Conclusion: Our Scribd Review

The fact that I’ve been paying for Scribd each month for the last 3+ years should be a testament to how great it is. And especially so considering that I’ve been off and on with Audible and Audiobooks.com during that whole time but never stuck with either of them! Scribd has been my favorite of all three for a very long time.

My final conclusion about Scribd should be no surprise. It’s definitely worth the price to get unlimited listening and the best book recommendations you’ve ever seen. I mean it when I say that if you want to never have to be looking for books again you have to get Scribd. It’s just that good.

If you’d like to try Scribd out yourself and support Four Minute Books at no extra cost to you, click below to sign up for your free 30-day trial and start listening to and reading all the books (and more!) you want for free:

And if you’ve made it all the way here, thank you for reading this review! We hope that Four Minute Books helps you learn more, get smarter, and improve your life!

Other Reviews

Looking for our other reviews of the most popular book summary apps, tools, and services? Here’s a list of all the reviews we’ve published so far:

Audible Review

Audible Review 2024 – Is It Worth the Price?

Audible is the most famous audiobook service in the world. Their “one new audiobook per month” subscription has been many people’s favorite for years, but, lately, they’re trying to switch things up and become the ultimate audio streaming service all around. In this Audible review, we’ll find out if the industry leader is (still) worth the price.

We’ll discover all the details of Audible’s newest subscription options, why its unique features make it such a good pick for audiobooks, and whether or not it’s really worth it for you, based on your unique circumstances. Here’s a handy table of contents so you can jump to any section you want:

Strap in, and let’s get right into our Audible review, starting with the most commonly asked questions you might have about the service.

Quick Summary of Our Audible Review (FAQ)

1. How many books do you get a month with Audible?

Audible has two membership options. The classic one-credit-a-month plan, known as Audible Premium Plus, will let you choose a title in their library to keep and listen to any title they have. They also now have a cheaper option called Audible Plus, which is like a streaming service for audiobooks where you can listen to all you want a month at a time.

2. How much does Audible really cost?

Audible Plus is $7.95 a month, for which you get to listen to any book in the library (but you don’t get to keep them). Audible Premium Plus costs $14.95 a month and gives you everything Audible Plus does plus 1 credit per month to select any audiobook in their library to keep.

3. How many audiobooks are on Audible?

There are over 200,000 audiobooks available on Audible. I’ve been using it for years and have yet to find that it doesn’t have one of my favorites. It’s also usually the quickest service to get bestsellers as they come out and many audiobooks are only available on Audible.

4. Is Audible free with Prime?

Audible is not free with an Amazon Prime membership. However, if you choose to get a free trial of Audible Premium Plus then you get to select 2 audiobooks to keep instead of just one! 

5. Can I get Audible for free?

You can try Audible for free for 30 days. Then, your subscription will renew monthly depending on which plan you chose. If you use an affiliate link, like ours, when you subscribe to Audible Premium Plus, you’ll get at least 1 audiobook to keep even after the free trial is over. If you’re an Amazon Prime member, you’ll get 2. For those who purchase Audible Plus, you can listen to any audiobook in their library for free for 30 days.

6. Do I need a subscription for Audible?

You do not need a subscription for Audible to keep the books you’ve purchased or received as part of a free trial. Without a subscription, however, you will not be able to listen to unlimited audiobooks in their library or use credits to purchase audiobooks.

7. Can I still listen to Audible if I cancel my subscription?

If you cancel your Audible subscription, you still get to keep the books that you’ve received as part of a free trial or purchased with credits or otherwise. I’ve gone through times when I don’t have an active Audible subscription and I can still listen to any book in my library all I want!

If that’s all you’ve wanted to know, and you want to go right ahead and start a risk-free, 30-day Audible trial, you can use our Audible promo code to get started. Simply click the button below. You’ll also support Four Minute Books at no extra cost to you, as we’ll receive a $5 bounty for referring you. Thank you! If not, read on for the detailed review.

Pros and Cons of Audible

Audible has got to be the most popular audiobook service out there. And for good reason, too! We’ve certainly enjoyed using it! 

Let’s get into why it’s so great and also look at what cons there are to Audible as well. Most of these only apply to an Audible subscription and do not refer to the free trial or non-subscription use of it.

Pros of using Audible:

  1. You get to listen to any audiobook in the “included” library no matter which subscription you purchase. Remember earlier how we said it’s kind of like a streaming service for audiobooks? That’s what We’re talking about here. Unlimited access to all the audiobooks you want! You can listen to 10 books a month if you feel so inclined! 
  2. The selection on Audible is absolutely unbeatable. Many of the books are Audible-only, so you can’t get them anywhere else. Audible is also really on top of getting new titles, especially bestsellers, quickly after they’re released if not at the same time.
  3. Using the Audible app is an almost flawless experience. I say almost because nothing is perfect. But Audible comes very close here! No crazy glitches, a beautiful user interface that includes dark mode, and so much more. We’ll get into that later.
  4. You get a 30% discount on the full price of any audiobook for as long as you keep your subscription. Audiobooks are expensive, so this is a pretty big deal! 
  5. It’s really affordable. $7.99 a month is like $.26 a day! Audible also has additional options for purchasing monthly credits that can make it pretty inexpensive. A 2 credit plan is $22.95 a month, for instance, which is about $11 per audiobook. That’s a steal! Other options are the annual 12-credit plan for $149.50 and the annual 24-credit plan for $229.50 which are both great deals as well.

Cons of using Audible:

  1. You don’t get to keep the books if you subscribe to Audible Plus (the one that’s like a streaming service). I’m not sure I really mind this though, because how often do you really re-read or re-listen to your favorite books? I know I do occasionally, but I can only do it every few years or so. Just recently I wanted to find something new to listen to but my Audible library only has about 6 books in it, all of which I’ve listened to recently! With a subscription, even to the cheaper option, you get unlimited listens to any book in their “included” library. 
  2. It’s owned by Amazon, which means that its effectiveness as an audiobook service may be hindered by Amazon’s goals. I think of it like buying running shoes from a general shoe company as opposed to buying from a company that only does running shoes. The one that solely makes running shoes is going to have a lot better shoe than the generalist one. That being said, I’ve not really found that Audible is lacking at all because of this. It’s still top-notch, and, on the plus side, having a giant with endless resources behind it makes it more stable and reliable than other options.

What Is It Like to Use the Audible App?

The best thing about the Audible app is that it’s a perfect mix of simplicity and functionality that makes listening to audiobooks a fantastic experience. This section will focus on the main features of the app and in a moment we’ll get into some other cool tools within it. 

You can get the Audible app for free in the Apple App Store and Google Play Store. You’ll need a subscription or to purchase audiobooks individually to add new listens to your library. But once you own those titles you get to keep them forever and listen for free, even if you decide to cancel your subscription. 

Let’s dive in with the audio player itself and its main features. Note that these screenshots are from the iPhone version of the app but it looks almost identical in the Android app. 

Here’s what it looks like when you’re in the app listening to an audiobook:

Audible Player

On the top left you have the down arrow that will take you back to the main screen where you can see the following:

  • The home page, which includes recommendations for new books, shows what you’ve been listening to, offers a subscription if you don’t currently have one, and more. 
  • Access to your library of books.
  • The Discover section, where you have many options to find great new listens.
  • Your profile, which shows you your achievements, account details, customer support, and more.

We’ll get into these features more in a moment. For now, let’s continue focusing on the listening experience in the Audible app.

The car icon on the top right will put you into driving mode which takes over the screen and only shows the play, rewind, and bookmark buttons:

Audible Car Mode

Next to that, you have the menu icon which gives you options to view Title Details, share it, give a rating, and more:

Audible Review

Here you can also enter “button free” mode which can be really useful when you’re in the car or don’t want to be distracted by so many options on the main screen:

Audible Button-Free Mode

That covers the top part of the listening screen, now let’s take a look at the bottom portion and see what options we have. Here’s that player screen to remind you of what we’re looking at:

Audible Player

These player controls cover all the basics and have some neat additional features that make listening even better. Starting from right below the image of the book’s cover and moving downward we have:

  1. The chapter or section title and the place you are within that chapter or section right below it. You can press and hold the orange bar to move to a different place in the section. 
  2. Connect to Device which lets you play the audiobook from wireless devices like a Bluetooth speaker.
  3. Controls to go directly to the front of the chapter, rewind 30 seconds, pause or play, fast-forward 30 seconds, and go directly to the next chapter. 
  4. Options to change the playback speed, select a specific chapter, enter sleep mode, or add a clip or bookmark so you can easily return to that part of the book. I particularly like these features as they go beyond what most audiobook apps have available, and the audio clip feature especially.

Here are all the options you have for changing the narration speed:

Audible Narration Speeds

Most of the time I find myself trying to speed things up, but some authors, like Ryan Holiday, talk fast so I like to slow it down. As a side note here, I’ve learned that it’s more enjoyable and helpful to listen at normal speed or slower. Trying to listen at faster speeds works if you need to finish something quickly or find the right spot in a book (although you can just use clips for that as we’ll see in a moment). 

But if you really want to immerse yourself into a fictional book’s story, normal or slower is best. And if you’re listening to non-fiction slower is even better because you’ll remember more and get more out of it. I know it works because I’ve been listening to books more slowly recently and I’m really enjoying these benefits!

After the playback speed button, we have the chapters button, which is pretty straightforward:

Audible Review

Next is sleep mode which just lets you start a timer after which audio playback will stop. You can do this for as little as five minutes and as long as 120 minutes or until the end of the chapter or even choose a custom amount of time all the way up to 23 hours and 59 seconds! 

Audible Sleep Timer

Recently I’ve been really enjoying listening to fictional books to disconnect from work. It’s especially helpful to do this at night when I lay down and my brain starts reminding me about all I need to do. 

This sleep timer is really useful for times like this when I want to relax but don’t want to worry about falling asleep! If you’re the kind of person who gets stressed out at night and struggles to sleep, try listening to fictional audiobooks and putting a sleep timer on.

The last feature of the Audible player is adding a clip and bookmark, which is in the bottom right corner. Once you press it, a clip and bookmark will immediately be added and you’ll see options to add a note to it and preview it as well:

Audible Audio Clip and Bookmark

When you press the “Preview” option you get to change the length of the clip you’ve saved, play it back to see if you got everything you wanted in it, and enter a title also. I really like this option and wish I was better at utilizing it. I’m usually listening to audiobooks while doing something else though, so it’s kind of tough to do. 

If you listen to the same books a lot, which I highly recommend you do after finding the books you like the best, you’ll want to use this feature to mark your favorite parts. I’m definitely hoping to start using it more, even if it means I have to stop whatever else I’m doing to save the clip!

We’ve now covered all of the basics of using the Audible app to listen to audiobooks. But we’ve not even got into all the other cool features of the app, which I really think you’re going to love.

If that’s all you’ve wanted to know, and you want to go right ahead and start a risk-free, 30-day Audible trial, use the button below to get started. You’ll also support Four Minute Books at no extra cost to you, as we’ll receive a $5 bounty for referring you. Thank you! If not, read on for the rest of the review.

Additional Features of the Audible App

Audible has some awesome ways to make the listening experience even better. And that’s not just within the audiobook player, either. There’s a lot to discover in other areas in the app, too. 

When you press on the “home” icon in the bottom left, you’ll see this screen:

Audible Home Screen

I’m not currently a paying subscriber of Audible, so the first thing I see is an ad for purchasing a subscription. We’ll get more into the details of the costs and options later. 

Continuing down the page you’ll find great ways to listen, including:

    • Sample Audible Bestsellers, which lets you listen to clips of recent bestsellers to see if you like them.
    • Continue Listening to Your Library is a section that shows the books you’ve listened to most recently in order so you can pick up where you left off.
    • From your wish list shows you books you’ve added to your wishlist, starting with most recently added.
    • Best Sellers, including the most recent popular books.
    • Recommended For You, which is a great way to find new reads based on what you’ve listened to in the past.
    • Popular In Your Top Genres is a cool one that takes the genre of what you listen to and recommends top listens from that genre.
    • New Releases is the newest books on Audible. They add more all the time, so this section is constantly changing.
    • Editors’ Picks are recommendations from the editors at Audible.
    • Top 10 free podcasts shows you the best podcasts that you can listen to for free, with or without a subscription.

I really like seeing the recommendations in the Best Sellers, Recommended For You, and Popular In Your Top Genres. It’s really helpful to make sure I don’t miss a good listen or a potential gem that I wouldn’t have otherwise been able to find!

The next option on the bottom menu is your Library, which is pretty self-explanatory:

Audible Library

The main use for this page is selecting a book to listen to. But if you click on the three vertical dots by a title you can see its details, find more books by the author, share, mark it as finished, rate and review, add it to your favorites, add it to a collection, archive it, or download it or remove it from your device if it’s been downloaded.

Across the top, just above your list of books, you can select different options for viewing your library. These include All, Not Started, Started, Downloaded, and Finished. 

Above that, you can see additional ways to view your content or find new listens. You can sort by:

  • All
  • Audiobooks or Podcasts
  • Wish List
  • Collections
  • Authors
  • Genres

Most of these are pretty basic features you’d want to see in an app like Audible. But one of my favorites that I haven’t seen many other places is collections:

Audible Collections (Audible Review)

With this section, you can create your own groups of audiobooks. This makes it really easy to keep track and listen to just what you want to at the right time. This makes finding books a lot easier, and sharing some of your favorites with others, too! I also really like that it makes it possible for me to split up the fiction and non-fiction books that I listen to.

This next section we’ll talk about is another favorite of mine that makes Audible quite unique. It’s called “Discover,” and here’s what it looks like:

Audible Discover

From the top moving downward, you have some great options for finding new books. These include:

  • Browse by genre
  • Podcasts
  • Sleep & meditation
  • Audible Originals
  • Included With Membership

I really like how simple this is. It doesn’t have a ton of options, but that’s good because it only includes the best. 

Scrolling down below that you can see best sellers, creator picks, coming soon, and more. At the bottom is a list of the main categories and an option to see all categories. If you don’t have a subscription you’ll see an option to “Compare plans and start listening.” 

Remember that if you purchase any Audible subscription you can listen to any book in their “included” library as much as you want. It’s just the higher tier subscriptions that let you keep one book, but those also let you listen to any book in the library. So any of the books here are free game to listen to if you have a subscription! 

The last feature of the app that I’ll cover is the profile section. This might sound boring, but there are some cool features within it. Here’s what it looks like:

Audible Profile

You get the typical options to view your account settings and billing and get customer support. But what I really like about this is the “Achievements” section. You can see how long you’ve listened, what level you’re at, and even the badges you’ve earned. 

The badges are particularly interesting and are a good motivation to read and use the app to its full potential. Here are some that I’ve earned:

Audible Badges (Audible Review)

The really cool thing about these is that if you press on any of the badges that you don’t have yet you can see generally how to get it but not the specifics. It’s kind of a mystery what you need to do to get the badge, but that makes it even more fun! 

My badges came from doing things like listening to a title that’s longer than 20 hours, listening for at least three hours around lunchtime, and finishing two books in a single week. It’s kinda fun, and if you like competition and challenging yourself, you should check it out!

Other Listening Options

If you’re like me, having your phone around can be really distracting no matter how well your “do not disturb” mode is. That’s why sometimes, I really like listening on other devices, like my computer. 

To see all the listening options for Audible, click here. The tldr; version of that page is that you can get apps for iPhone, Android, and Windows to begin with. But you can also listen in other ways, including on:

  • Sonos speakers
  • Fire TV
  • Alexa-enabled Devices
  • Kindle
  • Tablets, including Android, iPad, and Windows
  • Streaming on your computer online or in the iTunes app

You’ll notice that many of these options include Amazon devices. That makes sense considering that Audible is owned by Amazon. But it’s not my favorite because it means I can’t listen to my Audible audiobooks on my Google Nest speakers. This is where Audiobooks.com wins for me personally. All things considered, though, it’s really easy to find a way to listen to your books on Audible.

When I listen on my computer I just go to Audible’s website, where I have the same options as in the app:

Audible Review

From here, I can click on my library then listen to any book I have:

Audible Desktop Player

The audio player does pop up in a new separate window, which I don’t love, but it works just fine. Your audiobooks do still play if you close the Audible tab you were on, which is nice. I could listen in iTunes/Apple Music if I wanted. But that’s just one more app to keep open on my already busy computer screen. 

While I wish the audio player on desktop wasn’t an extra popup, I still really like listening on my computer. It makes putting my phone and all the distractions that come with it out of sight and out of mind!

How Much Does Audible Cost?

There are five main subscription options for Audible:

    • Audible Plus – $7.99 a month. This includes access to the plus catalog, which lets you listen to thousands of Audible Originals, podcasts, sleep tracks, and meditation programs, as much as you want. 
    • Audible Premium Plus – $15.99 a month. This includes access to the plus catalog as described above plus one title of your choice each month that you get to keep in your library forever, even if you cancel.
    • Audible Premium Plus (2 Credits) – $22.95 a month. Same as the regular Premium Plus, but you get two audiobooks a month to keep in your library forever.
    • Audible Premium Plus Annual (12 Credits) – $149.50 a year. This option is the same as Premium Plus only cheaper, because you’re paying for a year at a time. Each credit comes out to about $12.50 on this plan. 
    • Audible Premium Plus Annual (24 Credits) – $229.50 a year. Same as the Annual plan described above, but you get 24 credits in the year instead of just 12. This is even cheaper, as each audiobook comes out to roughly $9.56 with this plan.

Audible Plus

Audible Premium Plus

All options include a 30-day free trial. If you get Premium Plus, that means you get one audiobook for free plus the ability to listen to all those Audible Originals and more. And if you have an Amazon Prime subscription, you can even get two premium titles as part of a Premium Plus free trial!

Ready to start yours now? Go here, and you’ll also support us at no extra cost. Thanks!

9 Benefits of Using Audible

So far, we’ve covered features and price. In other words, you know what you get and what you pay for it. But what benefits come with listening to audiobooks on Audible? What outcomes or results will you see if you purchase an Audible subscription?

Let’s look at the two main types of books—fiction and non-fiction—to see what you get from listening to both.

Fictional books include these benefits, to name a few:

  • Reduced stress. Reading is one of the best ways to disconnect from everything going on in your life. Fiction is especially helpful for getting your mind off work. It puts you into a true state of relaxation when all your worries fade away as you get lost in the story. I’ve been using fictional books for this recently and it’s wildly effective at helping me relax. It’s far better at doing so than most other ways I can take a break!
  • Better sleep. How often do you lie down to rest at night only to have your brain start going crazy? It seems that all your past embarrassments, worries about the future, and everything else bothering you start to show up right at bedtime. This sucks, but you can stop all this overthinking by reading a fictional book before bed. It will calm your mind down and help you get to sleep faster and help you have a more restful sleep. This has been working wonders for my sleep recently, I highly recommend it!
  • Improved relationships. Fictional books are proven to help you have more empathy, which makes you treat others better. This is because they help you naturally put yourself into the shoes of others, which directly applies to the real world after you put your book down. It even activates the parts of the brain that help you understand the world and other people better. In other words, you’ll become a better person from reading fiction.
  • Memory enhancements. It’s no surprise that as you get older your mental and physical faculties start to wear out. You can’t stop this, but you can slow it down significantly by reading fiction. Research indicates that people who read often deal with Alzheimer’s a lot less than those who don’t. 

When listening to or reading non-fiction books, you’ll find the following positive changes in your life:

  • You start to become like the authors you read the most. It’s been said that you’re the average of the five people you spend the most time with. I believe that you’re also the average of the five authors you read the most. You can get mentoring from anybody, even people you wouldn’t otherwise be able to meet, by reading non-fiction.
  • You’ll get smarter by learning tons of life lessons. I can’t tell you how many valuable insights I’ve gained from non-fiction of all kinds. Every one of them, from biographies to business books teaches lessons that, if applied, will make you smarter.
  • It makes your life better. All those principles you learn from non-fiction books show you ways to improve your life. The more you listen, the more you’ll discover about how to live life to the fullest. 
  • Non-fiction books motivate you to be your best self. I love listening to non-fiction even if I can’t always remember everything. Just hearing the ideas in each book is enough to inspire me to be better. I’ve even had times where something I learned from a non-fiction book came back to my mind at just the right moment when I needed it!
  • You’ll become happier and more successful. I could talk about this one all day. I’ve summarized over 400 non-fiction books and read the best ones multiple times. In all that reading I’ve found the clearest pathways to joy and prosperity. Each time I read a new non-fiction book or re-read a favorite, those ideas get reinforced and my ability to grow happier develops even further. 

How Audible Helped Me Become a Better Person

Take it from me, books make your life better in so many ways. And even if you’re doubting, just try it yourself and see how they can improve your life. Get a free trial of Audible and you’ll discover why I feel so strongly about the power of books! Even one book, maybe even that book you may get or listen to during a free trial, can wildly change your life.

For instance, a couple of years ago, I came across Greg McKeown’s Essentialism during a very stressful time of my life. 

Its principles helped me simplify my life by eliminating the unessential so I could focus on what was most important. Doing that brought me greater happiness and a better ability to handle stress than I would have had without it. I’ve since listened to the book many times. Each time I get a new insight that makes my life better. There are countless books that I’ve had this same experience with. 

I’ve even seen the power of fiction working for me to make my life better. Just a few weeks ago I was really overwhelmed with everything going on in my life when I re-discovered a couple of old favorites. I listened through them and used them to help me relax and unwind each day. My stress levels went down, my sleep improved, and it became easier to handle everything going on!

Feel inspired to start a risk-free, 30-day Audible trial? Click the button below to get started. You’ll also support Four Minute Books at no extra cost to you, as we’ll receive a $5 bounty for referring you. Thank you! If not, read on for the conclusion of our review.

Is Audible Worth It?

Now that you know all of these benefits that are possible with an Audible subscription, the only question left is whether or not all of that is worth $7.99 or $15.99 a month. 

That’s a small price to pay for better sleep, stress management, happiness, and success. So in that regard, just considering all of these benefits we’ve discussed, Audible is 100% worth it.

Although, if you think about it, do you even have to add that monthly expense to your budget? Maybe not, if you consider some expenses you could do without that would cover the cost of a subscription.

Think for a moment about what you’re already spending money on. You might have Netflix, Disney+, HBO Max, Hulu, or some other subscription. Chances are you have multiple of them. Most of these are about the same price as an Audible subscription, if not more. So what would happen if you just canceled one of them and instead used that money and time to pay for and listen to audiobooks on Audible?

Watching too much TV is proven to make your life worse. It can cause you to gain weight, decimate your mental health, reduce the effectiveness and amount of sleep and rest you get, increase your risk of Alzheimer’s, and even cause brain damage, just to name a few. 

Think about all of that in terms of cost. Not just monetary, think about these intangible costs like your health and happiness. If too much TV is causing you to miss out on a good life, isn’t the cost of an Audible subscription worth gaining that all back and then some? 

Conclusion: Our Audible Review

Audiobooks have completely changed my life in dozens of ways. And one of my favorite ways to listen to them is Audible. It’s got the best selection, a solid app and other listening options, and many great options for purchasing a subscription. For just $7.99 or $15.99 a month it’s a bargain when you consider everything you get out of it!

My conclusion is that Audible is definitely worth the price. You’ll get unlimited listening access to a great selection of audiobooks, one audiobook to keep forever each month, and all the intangible benefits that come with reading more books, be they fiction or nonfiction titles.

If you’d like to try Audible and support Four Minute Books at no extra cost to you, click below to sign up for your free 30-day trial. You’ll get a free audiobook plus the ability to listen to any title in their “included” library for the duration of your trial:

If you’ve made it all the way here, thank you for reading this review! We hope that Four Minute Books helps you learn more, get smarter, and improve your life!

Other Reviews

Looking for our other reviews of the most popular book summary apps, tools, and services? Here’s a list of all the reviews we’ve published so far: