Shortform Summaries

Have time to read every book you want? Us neither. We're here to help.

How We Craft Our Summaries

High-quality work doesn't happen by accident. We write the world's best summaries using our 5 Shortform principles:

1) Be Comprehensive

Our goal is to capture 90% of the book's key information in 10% of the length. We include every idea worth knowing.

Most other summaries capture just 20% of the information in 2% of the text – a 300-page book might be captured in 6 pages. We find these too high-level to be useful. The ideas don't stick.

Great ideas deserve detail. They can't be reduced to just one sentence. They benefit from nuance, key examples, and counter-arguments. Shortform treats every book with comprehensive care so you truly learn ideas worth knowing.

2) Be Faithful to the Author

Our job is to communicate what the author said in the book. You're not interested in our opinion - you want to hear what the author has to say.

We are unfailingly faithful to the author, even if we disagree with parts of the book. And our team of PhD and Ivy League grad writers research every book to make sure we're accurately representing the author.

Anywhere we depart from what the original book said, we mark it as a Shortform Note.

3) Cut Out Fluff Ruthlessly

Your time is valuable. We try to make every word, every sentence deserve your attention.

Non-fiction book authors often don't treat you with the same courtesy. They pad books to increase page count so they can sell books for higher prices. They extend anecdotes past when they stop being useful and repeat the same points multiple times.

We cut out all the unhelpful fluff to focus on the key points.

4) Reorganize for Clarity

Book writers often take long meandering paths to get to their point. They start by telling a story, then dispense one idea, then go back to the story, then bounce around more ideas. This can be frustrating to read because you're trying to make sense of the logic in the book.

Instead, we bring the key ideas first. We treat knowledge like a tree - the trunk of the tree are the main ideas, the branches are supporting ideas, and the examples are leaves. We reorganize the book to maximize your understanding of the text, so you learn more in less time.

5) Be Actionable

We know that the point of reading is often to improve your life. We highlight the critical actionables from each book and show how to make them work in your life.

We then convert the ideas into interactive exercises, where you can answer thought-provoking questions about how to make the book's ideas work for you.


Comparison with Competitors

Here's how we stack up for all-time bestseller How to Win Friends and Influence People:

ShortformCompetitor 1Competitor 2
# of Unique Ideas62119
% of Book's Ideas Covered91%16%13%
Covers Every Chapter
Checklist of Top Actionables
Interactive Exercises
Discussion Community
# of Unique Ideas
Shortform62
Competitor 111
Competitor 29
% of Book's Ideas Covered
Shortform91%
Competitor 116%
Competitor 213%
Covers Every Chapter
Shortform
Competitor 1
Competitor 2
Checklist of Top Actionables
Shortform
Competitor 1
Competitor 2
Interactive Exercises
Shortform
Competitor 1
Competitor 2
Discussion Community
Shortform
Competitor 1
Competitor 2

What Our Readers Say

"Shortform summaries are the most efficient way to learn that I've seen. I've read a lot of other book summaries, and it's not even close. I trust Shortform's summary the most, every single time. You guys are the best.

Meet the team behind Shortform →

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