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 cutting out fluff, we save you valuable time.

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 the world’s top 50 books - not glancing over 500 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 deserve your effort - whether that's a key idea, an illustrative example, or a nuance to appreciate. Then we cut out all the fluff.

Principles First

Many non-fiction books are organized incoherently, wandering from story to story and not making a clear point. We reorganize the book to be principles first, showing the key ideas upfront, then using examples to illustrate the ideas. We make the logic clear.

Always Comprehensive

Most summaries are written from the perspective of, "what are a handful of ideas from the book?" These never feel satisfying - you lose most of the interesting ideas and nuance.

At Shortform, we have a different approach: "what is every idea worth knowing in this book?" When you read Shortform, you can be confident you're really getting the best from the book.

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

"Shortform has by far the best book summaries available anywhere. They cover all the key points and are far more detailed than other summaries.

I've compared Shortform summaries to the original books, and every time Shortform is accurate to the original book. I know I'm really learning what the author intended."

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 allencheng.com, 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.


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