The Mission that
Drives Our Work Everyday

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

There's been an explosion of information. The world now produces more information in a single day than it did in the entire year of 2002.

This flood of information can feel overwhelming. How do you choose among a seemingly infinite number of books, articles, podcasts, and videos? How do you make sense of the thousands of viewpoints people have about a topic?

The goal of Shortform is to make it easier to access the world's best ideas. We want to show you what’s critical to learn about the world, then help you understand it better than any other source. We accomplish this with crystal-clear thinking, concise writing, smart analysis, and brilliant new insights.

We strive not just to teach ideas but also to put them into context. When you learn an idea, we want to show how that idea has appeared across history and connects to a universe of other ideas. For issues you care about, we want to highlight a spectrum of viewpoints so you develop a more sophisticated, nuanced understanding.

We hope this kind of broad-spectrum thinking, made more accessible to more people, can do a lot of good. It can reduce polarization and help people come to terms with each other, even if they just agree to disagree. It can inspire new ideas and connections and lead to creativity and growth.

If this sounds like what you want, you’re going to love Shortform. We’d love to have you join us.

Allen Cheng

Shortform Founder

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. You'll get more out of understanding your favorite 50 books deeply than you would by glancing over 5,000 mediocre books. We produce the world’s best guides to the world’s best content.

Respect the Reader's Time

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

Principles First

Ever read a book, get confused, and wonder what its point is? We avoid that with crystal-clear logic. We overhaul the organization, surface the key ideas, and explain them clearly. You'll learn better than just reading the book alone.

Relentlessly Useful

Our guiding goal is to create useful content. We explain ideas fully so you understand them better. We do extensive research and analysis to share ideas beyond the source material. We want to help you find epiphanies and new insights.

Orient to Action

It’s better to spend serious time planning key improvements to your life, than to spend 10 minutes reading stuff you won’t remember the next day. We help you apply the ideas to your real life through exercises and actionables.

We Learn Better Together

Everyone has valuable experiences and ideas for how to make life better. That's why we’ve built a positive community that can help each other learn. Read other people's top tips on 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’s the best that we can take away from this?” Then we share that with you.

Cross Disciplines

The best ideas can come from surprising combinations of distant fields. Behavioral economics came from psychology + economics. Genomics came from computer science + biology. We believe in covering every genre of idea out there.

Delightful Experience

We believe in creating a delightful customer experience. Using Shortform should be easy and stress-free. We also price Shortform fairly to make world-class learning accessible, and we never play tricks with billing.

Why People LoveUsing Shortform

Join thousands of readers who learn faster than they ever thought possible.

I think I have tried 4 or 5 similar services over the years, and yours is BY FAR the best. My wife and I have referred four people so far and more will join as we share the news about your platform.
Shortform continues to knock it out of the part with by far the best book coverage out there (and I’ve read most of the services). The articles are also fantastic and teach me something new in small bites.
I've read ten reviews so far and could not be happier. Originally, I took my own notes when reading books, but your notes are better than mine. I’ve been making Shortform a part of my daily routine.
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OUR TEAM The Shortform 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 has 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 tools that make personal growth delightful.

Allen Cheng


Allen founded Shortform to make the world's best ideas more accessible. The roots of Shortform began with Allen's personal book analyses published online, which were called by one reader as the "Moby Dick of book guides."

In 2013, Allen co-founded PrepScholar, an online education company, where he led the product, technology, and content teams. His work continues to serve 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.