The most powerful method of self improvement, for me, has been reading books written by those much smarter & more experienced than myself. Reading books about success, self development, and business has been a powerful shortcut for me to become happier, more effective, and more skilled.

Why “Success” Books Are Great

Must well-reviewed books on success, self development, or business have at least one great concept in them. Just one great concept can make you (or save you) thousands of dollars. Learning many great concepts can make you millions or even billions. Outside of business, one great concept can make you healthier, happier, or save a relationship.

There are very few places that you can spend the $10 you pay for a book to learn a great concept. And you can even check books out of the library (remember that place?) for free if you are low on cash. In terms of time, there are very few places where you can spend the 8-10 hours it takes read the average book and learn a great concept that can change your life or your career.

In all, books are a great return-on-investment, much more so than television or Facebook or many other things you might do.

Why They’re Terrible

But, there is a problem with reading “success” books. While many books on “success” contain powerful concepts, most also contain hours worth of fluff. You can read a typical book for 8 hours and get 1 real diamond of an idea. But, you could have just gotten the diamond in 10 minutes.

Why does this happen? An author has a good concept, but, that concept must fit into the “blueprint” of the “book business”.  So, that 10-minute concept must now expand to fill the concept of what we think of as a book – that is, it must be a 6-10 hour type of read. But, there is no reason to expand the concept you say? No matter, says the publisher, just add anecdotes, fluff, and editorialize.

These problems become more apparent as you get busier and/or more successful. Once you have a high-ranking position, you are married, have children, or all of the above, giving up 8 hours to read a book can become much more difficult. And, as you read more books, you will see many of the same ideas repeated over and over. You also may become stumped on what book to read next, particularly after you run into a couple of “dead end” books.

The “Greatest Hits” of Success Books

Even if you have ample time… it’s better to learn 96 great concepts (five minutes per concept) in 8 hours instead of reading only 1 great book and getting 1-2 great concepts in 8 hours.

My solution to this problem is The Five Minute Book Club. It’s simple:

  • Find the best concepts in history’s greatest books on success
  • Put them in a simple format that is readable in 5 minutes or less here on
  • Make the posts accessible, searchable, and categorized
  • Email out new posts as I write them. Give you simple, easily digestible 5-minute reads right in your email inbox
  • Make the concepts available for social media to fit the “bite-size” way that we consume information in modern society.

I actually began writing these summaries years ago for myself. I found that these summaries both helped me learn the concepts and also offered a convenient reference source to go back and give myself a refresher on a book. But, now, I offer these summaries to you here on

Can I really learn all I need to know from 5-minute summaries?

Maybe. Maybe not. It’s almost always better to read the full book to fully internalize a concept if you have the time and/or dollars to spare. The issue is that most of us do not have ample supply of one or both of those.

If you find any post that you are very intrigued by, I highly recommend purchasing the original book and/or audiobook. This helps you learn the concept in more detail and thanks the original author for the idea.

In these summaries, I am giving you, say, 80% of the value of the original concept. I am delivering it in the most time effective and “all killer, no filler” way that I can. Even if you have already read the book, these summaries make a convenient way to quickly refresh the book’s concepts for yourself.

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