Best Places to Find Book Summaries



book summaries - apps and websites

Book summaries are akin to a distilled version of an intellectual cocktail. They condense the essential insights from an entire book into a compact format, simplifying information and making it readily consumable.

These summaries are ideal for those swamped with numerous books on their to-read list. Instead of investing six to ten hours in a single book, you can choose to browse through a summary and gather the critical knowledge, prepare for a crucial meeting, or even decide whether the book is worth investing more time in.

The use of book summaries is not limited to one specific group. It is a useful resource for time-crunched entrepreneurs, overwhelmed managers, busy executives, diligent students, and many more.

These summaries allow them to absorb key insights in a fraction of the time it would take to read the entire book. As we delve further into this topic, we will explore the best websites and resources that provide high-quality book summaries specifically tailored for business individuals.

What is a Summary of a Book?

Let’s dive into the meaning of a book summary. It is a byproduct of someone investing time and effort into reading a book and then recreating its essence in a condensed form. This shorter version encapsulates the key points made by the original author, albeit in the summarizer’s unique style.

It’s important to note that a book summary isn’t an act of plagiarism or a poor imitation of the original work. Instead, it’s a derivative product, considerably shorter, that acknowledges and credits the original author for their insights and ideas.

book summaries reader with pile of books behind

Our Methodology to Find the Best Places to Find Book Summaries

Finding the right sources for book summaries can greatly enhance your learning and comprehension, especially when time is limited. Here’s a guide to the criteria for selecting the best places to find book summaries, with each factor rated on a scale of importance from one (least important) to ten (most important).

  1. Quality of Summaries (Importance Scale: 10/10)
    • Accurate and comprehensive coverage of key concepts and themes.
    • Well-written and easy to understand.
  2. Range of Books Covered (Importance Scale: 9/10)
    • Wide selection of books across various genres and topics.
    • Inclusion of both classic and contemporary titles.
  3. Accessibility and Format (Importance Scale: 8/10)
    • Easy access to summaries, preferably online.
    • Availability in various formats, such as text, audio, or video.
  4. Credibility of Sources (Importance Scale: 10/10)
    • Summaries provided by knowledgeable and credible sources.
    • Expert analysis or insights where applicable.
  5. Subscription Cost (if any) (Importance Scale: 7/10)
    • Reasonable pricing for subscription services.
    • Availability of free options or trials.
  6. User Interface and Experience (Importance Scale: 8/10)
    • User-friendly website or app design.
    • Easy navigation to find specific book summaries.
  7. Update Frequency (Importance Scale: 6/10)
    • Regular updates with new book summaries.
    • Keeping up with recent publications.
  8. Interactivity and Additional Resources (Importance Scale: 5/10)
    • Interactive features like quizzes or discussion forums.
    • Supplementary resources for further reading or study.
  9. Customization Options (Importance Scale: 4/10)
    • Ability to customize reading experience, like choosing summary length.
    • Personalized recommendations based on interests.
  10. Community Aspects (Importance Scale: 4/10)
    • Features that allow engagement with other readers.
    • Sharing opinions or insights about the books.

Identifying the right sources for book summaries can dramatically enhance your learning curve, keeping you informed and inspired without overtaxing your most limited resource: time.

Where to Find Book Summary Websites

The market for book summary services is more extensive than one might think – offering plenty of options for the discerning reader. However, finding high-quality resources specifically for business book summaries might feel daunting. Not to worry, we have done the heavy lifting for you.

We have curated a list of ten exceptional resources where you can find comprehensive summaries for a wide range of business books.

ResourceDescriptionBest for
GetAbstractOffers over 20,000 summaries in multiple formats, available on various devices. 3-day free trial, then $99 per year for 5,000 summaries.Employees and managers in large enterprises; people with extensive reading lists; Kindle users.
SoundviewOffers 8-page summaries and 20-minute audio summaries. Access to 2,500+ summaries, webinars, newsletters for $199 per year.Corporate learning and individuals looking for a continuing education platform.
BlinkistProvides 3000+ titles mainly in the career and life success areas. Premium subscription for unlimited access.Auditory learners; those wanting access to a range of non-fiction topics.
ReadItFor.MeOffers a virtual learning platform, ActionClass, and book summaries. Pricing is $49 per month.Individuals looking for more than just reading; leadership development training.
SummariesProvides condensed 8-page summaries of business books. Subscription starts at $12 per month.Individuals seeking regular insights and topics.
OptimizeOffers summaries, motivational content, classes. Most content is premium.Those looking for deep insights for life and career improvement.
ReadingraphicsProvides summaries in infographic, written, and audio formats. Pricing starts at $14.14 per month.Visual learners; those who prefer skimming content.
InstareadCovers over 1,000 books in various topics. Offers summaries of articles. Prices start at $7.49 per month.Those wanting a diverse, MBA-type reading list.
FourMinuteBooksSpecializes in non-fiction, self-improvement books. Library of PDFs for $99, or 300 audiobooks for $49.Those who want podcasts of books; a regular reading regimen.
BookSummaryClubProvides snippets of 140 books. Users are referred to other sites like Blinkist or Instaread for full summaries.Entrepreneurs who prefer simplicity.

1. GetAbstract

GetAbstract is one of the big players in this industry, for good reason: it has the largest range of titles, with over 20,000 summaries. The service is aimed at the corporate world with categories like management, innovation, corporate IT. GetAbstract claims to serve more than one third of Fortune 100 organizations.

Its book summaries are high quality although some are a bit dry. They come in seven languages, including the English language. Every summary includes a rating, take-aways, popular quotes, and an author bio. Great features include the ability to highlight things, such as a favorite idea or several sentences.

There is a 3-day free trial and if you like it, you can subscribe for $99 per year to get 5,000 summaries. An upgrade gets you access to all books as well as multiple formats including Kindle, along with Android and iOS apps.

Best for: Employees and managers who work in large enterprises. With the largest catalog of high-quality book summaries, it is also ideal for people with lengthy reading lists and for Kindle users.

2. Soundview

Soundview pre-dates the internet, pioneering the concept of easy-to-read 8-page text and 20-minute audio summaries. It is another big player, and a Professional plan for $199 per year gets you access to 2,500+ summaries, webinars and newsletters. The service features corporate plans in additional to individual ones, including webinars with authors and tips videos.

Best for: Corporate learning and individuals looking for a continuing education platform.

3. Blinkist

Blinkist has a broad library of 3000+ titles. Many topics are in the career and life success areas — ranging from entrepreneurship to parenting to communication skills. You also get highlights from prominent podcasts.

A premium subscription gets you unlimited access to all titles to read and listen to voice recordings. You can highlight ideas and sync them with Evernote, as well as get the ability to download for offline access, and send to Kindle. So it’s a completely customizable experience. Sign up for the Free Daily newsletter to read one title a day at no charge.

Best for: Those who are auditory learners who want well-rounded access to a range of non-fiction topics.

4. ReadItFor.Me

ReadItFor.Me is really two services in one: a virtual learning platform called ActionClass and book summaries. More than a book club, the action classes are a leadership development program applying topics from books to your own action plan. ReaditForMe offers a schedule of classes three times per week around a specific book. Books include 36 leadership and soft skill competencies.

The free book summaries have a 14-day trial. If you like the books, you can subscribe. Pricing is very simple at $49 per month, or they can customize a program allowing team access in your firm.

Best for: Any person who wants something more than to fill a reading list. If you are looking for leadership development training, try it to make better life decisions.

5. Summaries

Summaries calls itself a life-time learning company providing concise information and tools, specializing in business books. It has some great books — self-help classics like The 7 habits of Highly Effective People and recent advice guides like Built not Born.

One of the best things about Summaries.com is that each summary condenses a 300+ page book into eight pages long. The company says their experience shows eight pages is the ideal length for someone to get the main ideas. Over 1,000 works are part of its offering, including everything from sales books to finance books.

A subscription starting at $12 per month gets you a new summary weekly. Or purchase by the piece, with prices starting at $15 for five. The website also offers a free plan with abbreviated 5-minute snapshots in blog posts (also downloadable as PDFs). The short free ones give you a taste — the lengthier size are more thorough on topics and advice.

Best for: Individuals who prefer to have a steady diet of insights and topics doled out on a regular basis.

6. Optimize

Optimize.me is a resource website in the self-improvement niche. Along with motivational content and classes by founder Brian Johnson (the “Chief Philosopher”), subscribers also get access to a website section called Philosophers Notes. If you are looking to choose a self help book or a leadership book for learning how to improve your life and career, and you want summaries, then Philosophers Notes is a great place.

You get high quality, in-depth written summaries along with accompanying MP3 files. Examples include summaries of The Compound Effect: Jumpstart Your Income, Your Life, Your Success by Darren Hardy, and A Lifetime of Observations and Reflections On and Off the Court by John Wooden. There are even a few free ones, although most are premium.

Best for: Those looking for deep insights to forge their place in the world. This service is really part of a life learning and self development platform.

7. Readingraphics

Now here’s an interesting concept: what if you could experience a book summary in a visual format, as an infographic? Sound crazy? It’s not. Readingraphics says “ideas come alive” with its graphics of non-fiction books. Readingraphics offers three formats:

  • infographic summary
  • 10-15 page written summaries
  • 20-minute audio files

The written summaries are interesting to read, and highly visual with bullets and callout boxes. You can buy a book summary bundle that includes all three formats. Pricing starts at $14.14 per month. Or you can purchase a single book summary starting at $9.97.

Subscribe to the company’s newsletter to get two of the all-time best business books summarized, for free: Think and Grow Rich, and How to Win Friends and Influence People.

Best for: Visual learners and those who prefer skimming bullets and short callouts, versus reading longer blocks of sentences.

8. Instaread

Instaread covers over 1,000 books in wide ranging topics such as politics, arts, fiction, nutrition and psychology. It gives the feel of a high-brow MBA, also offering summaries of Harvard Business Review, Kellogg Insight and New York Times articles. It features written and voice, with a focus on its mobile apps. Prices start at $7.49 per month. Requires a credit card to get a sneak peek.

Best for: Those who want a cosmopolitan, MBA-type reading list with a wide range of current topics.

9. FourMinuteBooks

FourMinuteBooks specializes in non-fiction books, with more than 800 mostly focused on self-improvement. New summaries, which the service says can be read in 4 minutes, come out three times a week and you can get notified via the email newsletter. You can purchase the library of PDFs for $99, or 300 audiobooks for $49. The audiobooks come as MP3s and on Soundcloud. It also offers bundles of free book summaries.

Best for: Those who want podcasts of books and /or a reminder to engage in a regular reading regimen.

10. BookSummaryClub

The BookSummaryClub appears to be an affiliate site. That’s not bad, but it’s important to realize that you may get a small taste of 140 books the site offers, and then will get referred over to another site such as Blinkist or Instaread to purchase THEIR summary. It’s a simple, easy to navigate website with books that startup entrepreneurs will like, and other interesting content such as lists of reading aids.

Best for: Entrepreneurs who like simplicity.

book summaries open book

Alternatives to Free Book Summaries

Book summary websites offer the incredible advantage of having a collection of concise summaries all in one place, often presented in various formats for the user’s convenience. They carry out the tedious task of reading and summarizing books, making their services predominantly valuable for their convenience. However, if you’re not interested in subscribing to such services, there are a few alternative tools that can act as free book summaries, albeit not as extensively:

11. Wikipedia

Wikipedia, the free online encyclopedia, holds thousands of entries that effectively serve as free book summaries. It requires some effort to search for each book separately, but many well-known books have their dedicated Wikipedia pages, adhering to the platform’s notability standards. These pages might not necessarily be referred to as summaries, but they often provide a well-structured overview of the book’s main themes and topics. However, the quality can vary as the content depends on the expertise and writing style of the contributors who draft these entries.

12. Amazon Search Inside the Book

Amazon offers a unique feature known as “Search Inside the Book,” which can serve as an alternative to free book summaries. This feature allows potential readers to preview a part of the book before deciding whether to purchase it or not. Publishers have control over how much content to expose for preview, but usually, 20% of the book is made available by default, including the table of contents and more. Although this feature doesn’t provide summaries in the traditional sense, it grants a glimpse into the author’s work, which can help readers make an informed decision about their book purchases.

13. Book Reviews

Book reviews help you decide whether to buy a book. Reading reviews of great books is one more way of getting a summary of topics before investing more time or money. A typical book review will tell you the main topic and why you should read the book, lessons contained, a little about the author, and who would most enjoy the book. See our Business Book Reviews section for over 800 reviews.

book summaries book review

Why Read Book Summaries?

People read book summaries to:

  • Learn information faster and save time for other things.
  • Be successful in the business world, life or school.
  • Sound knowledgeable in meetings.
  • Create reading lists to develop your team.
  • Get inspired to do bigger and better things.

Musician Frank Zappa once said: “So many books, so little time.” Book summaries address our shortened attention spans in the information age of the internet. Today some people have trouble concentrating on longer books. Book summaries allow us to get through more books in less time.

To illustrate, here’s a great summary of the widely acclaimed book, “Secrets of the Millionaire Mind” by Harv Eker:

What Makes the Best Book Summaries?

Great book summaries have straight-forward organization. They are easy to scan, with bullet points and limited amounts of text.

For non-fiction books, the book summary gives an interpretation of the big ideas and main topics, without the reader having to do all the hard work. Book summaries can be helpful for marketing books or for millionaire books, and much more.

Consider availability in different formats. For example, you may prefer reading in Kindle, or you may be in your car a lot and need to listen to information.

While book summaries undoubtedly offer valuable insights, they inherently provide a condensed version of the author’s original narrative.

What is the Ideal Length of a Book Summary?

The ideal length of a book summary depends on your reading frequency and goals. See the following considerations.

  • Goal: To decide whether to buy a book — For this purpose a few sentences or paragraphs may be all you need to decide whether the topic interests you enough to buy the book.
  • Goal: To be inspired by information and ideas — A longer summary is best if you want to learn what the author means or key topics without reading the entire book.
  • Goal: To speedily digest books — Some people want to read voraciously but have limited time blocks. A number of services specify how long their summaries take to consume. Whether reading, listening to book summaries while on a coffee break at your job, or using an app between appointments or at home — focus on a speedy reading experience.

book summaries book pile

What Formats Do Book Summaries Come In?

Historically, book summaries have been presented in written form. However, with the evolution of digital technology, the most innovative book summary services today have adapted to offer summaries in an array of formats to cater to diverse reading and learning styles.

These formats can include visually appealing infographics that depict key points in a graphic manner, engaging videos that narrate the book’s essence, downloadable MP3 files for those who prefer audio learning, downloadable PDFs for offline reading, and electronic epub files compatible with various e-readers including Kindle.

Furthermore, these services have expanded their reach into the mobile realm, offering their summaries via mobile apps. This allows users to make productive use of their time, say while enjoying a coffee at the local Starbucks, turning idle moments into opportunities for learning.

This way, you can speed through your reading list on-the-go without getting entangled in the time-consuming web of social media.

Summaries vs Study Guides: What is the Difference?

Study guides or study notes go beyond book summaries. Intended mostly for students, guides aim to add value by providing analysis and study aids. Study guides could be a 75-page PDF — or longer. Options include Spark Notes, Cliffs Notes, BookRags, A-Plus Notes. Study guides like Cliff Notes tend toward classic literature such as Macbeth or educational topics like biochemistry, not the latest business books. The better ones like Spark Notes or Cliffs Notes offer a mobile app, too. Teachers may also find them valuable.

book summaries book and phone

Image: Small Business Trends Media

5 Comments ▼

Ivana Taylor Ivana Taylor is the Book Editor for Small Business Trends. She is responsible for directing the site’s book review program and manages the team of professional book reviewers. She also spearheads the annual Small Business Book Awards. Ivana publishes DIYMarketers, where she shares daily do-it-yourself marketing tips, and is co-author of "Excel for Marketing Managers."

5 Reactions
  1. Great article and resource. I follow a few large and a few small YouTube channels/book reviewers. My top 3 favorites:
    1. Fit2bread – this is a tiny tiny one, I’m guessing just started, unique is that most of his book reviews are set up as likes and dislikes. It’s a good formula and unique vs everything else I have seen. You just have to see it. I hope it catches on and he sticks around.
    2. Books with Layla – I probably screwed up the name but her channel is huge so I’m sure she’s easy to find. She’s cheerful and really comfortable to watch. I highly recommend her.
    3. Jesse the reader – he’s zany and quirky. Makes it fun. The theatrics can be a bit much, but usually has a really good and insightful take.

  2. Also, check out muthusblog a weekly updated blog on book summaries. The genres covered are mainly nonfiction, marketing, self help, autobiographies and business.

  3. หวยลาว

    nice content thank you shearing a trick for my work

  4. Great. You have shared useful tools at work.
    Thank you for all the great informative content and blog posts!

  5. Brown Bomber Jacket

    This is an excellent article. On a daily basis, I learn something new and challenging from the websites I stumble upon. It’s always a good idea to read other people’s articles and take something from their websites.

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