I’d love to read beaucoup business books that are available today. For example, I’ve been meaning to give Malcom Gladwell’s Outliers a go. It’s been a best seller for years and, well, you know how the story goes; too many business books, too many other things to read — like mystery thrillers.
The GetAbstract app feels our pain. Its website provides downloadable summaries of more than 10,000 business books, TED Talks and other content, organized in 12 categories and with 50 new summaries added each month.
You can download the apps for iOS, Android, Windows Phone, and BlackBerry devices. They are free, and you can use them to download up to six free summaries as part of a trial. After that, you need a subscription, which range from $89 a year to $999 a year.
I tried the Android and iOS apps, and they're easy to use for browsing, searching and downloading written summaries. The ones I read were well organized, with key takeaways listed up front as bullet points, followed by a high-level review and a detailed abstract summarizing the book.
I chose to read the summaries, but you can also download MP3 audio files in some cases. (Audio isn't available for every book; a GetAbstract spokesperson says 50 percent of its summaries are available in audio form, in addition to the written versions.) You can also download PDFs or send the summaries to your Kindle.
One disappointment: GetAbstract doesn’t offer summaries for many of the current business best sellers. I found only three of the top 10 New York Times best-selling business books and only one of the top 10 Wall Street Journal hardcover business titles.
If you’re looking to stay current on the latest biz best sellers (without actually having to read them), GetAbstract isn’t for you. Still, it’s worth a try. I found plenty of interesting books I’d never heard of, and the summaries I read did a good job of conveying the books' main points.