Meet the Shortform Team

Learn about our founding principles and who we are.

Our Mission

Our mission is to make sense of the world’s information and make it actionable.

With the rise of the Internet and mass media, there’s been an exponential rise in high-quality content. But you have exactly the same amount of time as you did ten years ago. There’s never enough time to learn everything you want.

At Shortform, we want to show you what’s critical to understand about the world. We want to expose you to the best ideas worth knowing and 10x your rate of learning. We want to support your creativity and growth.

The first goal of Shortform is to summarize the world's best content. By condensing information into their key takeaways, we expose you to more great ideas. By structuring our content logically, you learn more, faster.

The second goal of Shortform is to make the best ideas actionable. Knowledge is one thing - actually applying them to improve your life is another. That's why we add interactive exercises and discussion communities to help you learn.

Our Writing Principles

These are the guiding principles behind how we build Shortform.
If you agree, you'll love Shortform.

Deep Quality, Not Superficial

We believe in quality and depth of learning, not superficial breadth. What really makes a difference in life is applying your favorite 50 books - not glancing over 5,000 mediocre books. We focus on producing the world's best summaries of the world's best content.

Respect the Reader's Time

We know your time is valuable, and we don't want to waste any of it. We try to make every word and sentence deserve your effort - whether that's a key idea, an illustrative example, or a nuance to appreciate.

Principles First

Many non-fiction books are organized incoherently, wandering from story to story and not making a clear point. We overhaul the organization to be principles first, showing the key ideas upfront, then using examples to illustrate the ideas. As a result, you learn better.

Always Comprehensive

Most summaries out there just skim along the surface, giving a handful of ideas. These never feel satisfying or help you really understand the book.

At Shortform, we have a different approach. We cover every chapter of each book and explain all the key ideas. Our mission is to share the world's best ideas with you.

Orient to Action

It’s better to spend serious time working through a great book and planning improvements to your life, than to spend 10 minutes reading stuff you won’t remember the next day.

We focus on making ideas stick, then applying those ideas to your real-life problems.

We Learn Better Together

Other people have valuable experiences and ideas for how to improve your life. That's why we focus on building a positive community that can help each other learn. Read other people's top tips on the same books you're reading, and get advice on your own problems.

Be Open-Minded

We believe all books and articles have something valuable to say, despite their flaws.

When we read, instead of focusing on disagreements, we think, “what is the best that we can take away from this?” Then we share that with you.

Cross Disciplines

Often the best ideas come from surprising combinations of ideas. Behavioral economics came from psychology + economics. Genomics came from computer science + biology.

That’s why we believe in having broad exposure to ideas, and we cover every important category of non-fiction.

Delightful Experience

We believe in creating a delightful customer experience. Using Shortform should be easy and stress-free.

We price Shortform fairly to make learning widely available. We make canceling easy and will never play tricks with billing.

What Our Readers Say

"You guys have hit it out of the park. You let me grasp difficult books with ease, and I feel like I understand my favorite books more than I ever have before.

With Shortform, I remember key ideas better, and I feel like I'm getting more out of my reading than ever before."

Learn more about our summaries →

The Shortform Team

Meet the Team

We’re people who obsess about learning and improving ourselves. We created Shortform because we weren’t satisfied with what was already out there.

Our writing team consists of professional writers and lifelong learners, Ivy League PhD's and artists. Collectively we’ve published content that have been read hundreds of millions of times. In our writing for Shortform, we strive to bring the world's best ideas to you.

Our product team consists of technologists and builders from top tech companies. We love building useful tools that make personal growth delightful.

Allen Cheng

Shortform Founder

Allen founded Shortform to make the world's best ideas more accessible. The roots of Shortform began with Allen's personal book summaries published on, which continues to reach hundreds of thousands of readers.

In 2013, Allen co-founded PrepScholar, an online education company, where he led the product, technology, and content teams. His work serves millions of students and families worldwide.

Allen graduated summa cum laude from Harvard University and trained in the MD-PhD program at Harvard Medical School and MIT.

Next: What makes Shortform summaries so helpful?