I’ve always thought that books are a very important part of our world. I was an avid reader as a kid, and a few days I ago I was touched by the role that books played in the life of Simon Callow, helping him to find his way to his place in the world. As an adult, however, it’s harder to squeeze reading into busy days. You’re probably the same way, with piles of books on the bedside table, or a special shelf for unread books. Most of mine are garden- or plant-related, but there are also modern non-fiction bestsellers that I would like to read, if only I could find the time.
Joosr is one possible solution, which I have been using for the past fortnight, after being given a trial subscription. The idea is really simple – non-fiction books are boiled down to a summary that takes about 20 minutes to read. There are more than 250 titles in the database already, with five new ones added every week. It’s all recognisable titles and big names, including Chris Hadfield, Richard Branson, Ruby Wax, Elizabeth Gilbert and Tim Ferris. If you’re a fan of Ted talks, you’ll find many of their alumni featured here.
There’s a wide range of subject categories to choose from, including biography, business, careers, health, history, parenting, politics, relationships and science. What I often find, when I buy books like these, is that you get bogged down in a lot of preamble before you get to the good stuff; a Joosr summary takes the waffle out of it and lets you get down to the nitty gritty in a hurry. At the very least, it can show you whether there’s enough of interest in the book to buy a copy of the full text. At best, you have nuggets of pure gold available from the most popular modern authors, and can scoop them up like casino winnings.
So how does it work? Everything is available via the Joosr website, and via apps for mobile devices. Book summaries are quick to download, and can be stored up in your library to read offline (or read via the website). They’re the kind of thing that’s useful to have on hand for when you find yourself on a train, in the doctor’s waiting room, or with a quite lunch break to fill. A subscription for the year costs £42.99, but if you buy one as a gift for someone else (digitally delivered, no wrapping and no posting involved!) then you get one for yourself for free. So it’s great if you’ve left the Christmas shopping to the last minute 🙂
This morning I was reading a post on Medium asking how much money we invest in ideas. For most of us our entertainment budget is probably much higher than our book budget – and, of course, books are encapsulated ideas. I’m a big fan of lifelong learning, and yet I tend to think of books as an extravagance and reading time as a luxury. I think it’s time to change that; Joosr may be a step in the right direction!