My new AI-leveraged system for reading books

Read 4 books per month with minimal effort

Hey Warrior,

As I announced last week, one of my goals for 2024 is to read more books.

Now, reading books is something I have a love-hate relationship with.

I have phases in my life where I’m really into reading. I’ll spend a few weeks to binge a handful of books. But then I get burned out from that process and won’t read any books for months.

This method is obviously not sustainable.

For 2024 I’ve decided to try out something new. Here’s my plan:

  • Step 1: Use ChatGPT to research and find a book I want to read.

  • Step 2: Get the key insights of the book with Shortform.

  • Step 3: If the key ideas resonate with me, buy the book and commit to reading or listening to the full thing over the next month.

My goal is to go through this process at least once a week. So in any given month, I'll get the key insights from 4 books and fully read 1 of those.

Step 1: Research with ChatGPT

First, I'll use ChatGPT to explore potential books worth investing my time into.

Many people don't know this, but ChatGPT actually has a lot of book information saved within it.

The caveat, however, is that ChatGPT only has surface-level knowledge of the books and nothing in-depth (the contents of the books have likely not been included in the training data due to obvious copyright reasons).

Therefore, ChatGPT is a good tool to gain a general understanding of the book or to get book recommendations, but not to acquire new knowledge from it.

Here’s the prompt I use to get book recommendations:

The recommendations from ChatGPT gave me several intriguing options to choose from.

The first recommendation immediately caught my eye and I decided to go with that one.

Step 2: Using Shortform to get the book’s key insights

First off, what is Shortform?

Shortform makes amazing guides to non-fiction books. They’re like book summaries on steroids.

  • They’re super detailed so you get the book’s key points at a deep level.

  • They have interactive exercises to help you apply the ideas you just learned, so you don’t forget them like I do when I read a book.

  • They add smart insights, like connecting what one author thinks about another author. You end up understanding the ideas at a super deep level and building these awesome connections between ideas.

The reason I chose Life 3.0 by Max Tegmark is because in my day-to-day, I spend a lot of my time with just the practical applications of AI.

But I also want to explore the bigger picture around artificial intelligence.

Life 3.0 is the perfect book for that bird's eye view.

We're moving into a bizarre new world rapidly.

While many people seem distracted by quarrels over politics, we're literally on the cusp of developing technology that could make humans obsolete within years. (It's an eerie parallel to the film Don't Look Up!).

Life 3.0 examines the nuances around the future of artificial general and how it will impact humanity. Tegmark runs through thought exercises to explore the range of possibilities, both optimistic and pessimistic.

For example some optimistic scenarios for humanity are:

Note: these screenshots are pulled directly from Shortform and are the high quality details to expect with their book guides

But then he also lists some pessimistic scenarios for humanity, such as:

Reading Life 3.0 on Shortform gave me an essential framework for thinking about the responsible development of artificial intelligence.

The ideas challenge me to be more thoughtful and proactive as AI advances.

Step 3: Buy the book

Finally, if I enjoy the book, I will either purchase it or listen to it on Audible.

In this case, I believe that the high-level summary on Shortform was sufficient for me.

However, with other books, like the new Elon Musk biography, I can imagine that it would be more worthwhile to read the entire book for the sheer enjoyment of reading.

Let me know if you have any other book recommendations! I'm always looking to expand my knowledge.

I’ve had the pleasure to partner up with Shortform on this project! They were so kind to give me a free account with full access for me to try out this experiment.

They’re also giving my audience an exclusive 20% off a subscription if you use my link:

Btw, Shortform also has a new AI chrome extension. It’s essentially like a Shortform book guide, except for anything you’re browsing on the internet.

With it you can get detailed summaries of blogs, articles, emails, and even YouTube videos straight from your browser. Like with a Shortform book guide, you’ll also get added context, counter-arguments, and resources to help you gain a fuller understanding of the topic.

Use this link to sign up for Shortform to get 20% off, then use this link to get the extension.

Thanks for reading!

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