How It Works – Frequently Asked Questions


Subscribing to getAbstract

Do I need to pay for my subscription?
No, your employer covers your subscription and you’re welcome to use getAbstract for your personal development.

Understanding the summaries

Can I suggest a book or other publication to be summarized?
Of course. You can submit your suggestions to our Wish List and rest assured that we’ll examine them diligently.
How do you guarantee quality?
We strive for editorial excellence. Our summaries are prepared by a world-class team of business writers and editors. Our writers' work is also published in The New York Times, Fortune, Financial Times, BusinessWeek and in other leading publications in the US and in Europe.
The rating – what does it mean?
We recommend every book* that we summarize or review, but depending on whether you’re an expert on the topic or just randomly interested in it, the titles will vary in importance. Each book we summarize or review gets an overall rating between 10 and 5. Books scoring below 5 may have their merits, but they’re not relevant enough for us to generally recommend them.
Here’s what the specific ratings mean:

10 – A book everyone should know, regardless of what their job is. Its importance is timeless and universal – an instant classic.
9 – One of the very best books in its field. It’s a must-read for everybody who’s professionally concerned with or otherwise interested in its subject area.
8 – One of the most useful and/or enlightening books in its field. It should be among the first you read on this subject.
7 – A book that is more useful and/or enlightening than most others in its field. Recommended to anyone who’s already familiar with the subject but wants to read more on it.
6 – A solid, but not outstanding treatment of the subject. Recommended to anyone who needs to be broadly informed on it.
5 – A book with obvious weaknesses, but still recommendable if this is your area of expertise and you’ve already read most other publications on it.

*getAbstract is summarizing much more than books. We look at every kind of content that may matter to our audience: books, but also articles, reports, videos and podcasts. What we say here about books applies to all formats we cover.
The qualities – what do they mean?

Each book is great for different reasons. getAbstract traditionally rewards three qualities in particular: innovation, applicability and style.

If we agree on a book’s topical relevance for our audience, we look at what it offers in terms of innovation. Revolutionary ideas and disruptive concepts are rare in a world that is driven by incremental improvements, and even such small innovations aren’t all that common. That’s why we take a hard look at whether a book really breaks as much new ground as it promises.

What we value just as highly is a book’s applicability. This criterium matter only with books that aim to be directly applicable – books that were written to help readers broaden their skill set, learn from others’ best practices and apply new or proven methods. Not every book aims to do that – a biography, for example, won’t – but those that do and succeed in it will be rewarded with a high rating by getAbstract.

The third traditional quality we look at is style – how an author presents his or her materials. A book should be written as accessibly as its content allows it to. It should have a clear and meaningful structure, and it should have been edited professionally. getAbstract won’t shy away from summarizing even the driest tomes for you, but if the original text promises to entertain and intrigue us for a couple of hours or days, we certainly won’t mind.

To broaden and refine these three traditional values, we’ve added a set of 20 specific qualities that will help you understand what the book’s strengths are. You’ll always find the book’s main qualities shown next to the general rating number. Here’s what they mean in particular:

Applicable – Gives advice that can be easily put into practice by individuals or organizations.
Analytical – Lays bare the inner workings of its subject matter in a probing fashion, as opposed to merely describing it.
Background – Offers contextual knowledge as a frame for informed action or analysis.
Bold – The author forcefully puts forward an argument, a critique or a call to action, or is conspicuously unafraid to break with predominant views.
Comprehensive – Offers a complete account of its subject matter. Is positively impressive in scope as well as in depth.
Concrete Examples – Illustrates the advice it gives with narratives of its real-world applications, success stories, instructive anecdotes, historical or fictitious tales.
Eloquent – Is masterfully written or presented.
Engaging – Compels your attention.
Eye opening – Offers highly surprising insights.
For beginners – Is a good starting point for learners with little or no prior experience/knowledge.
For experts – Provides higher-level knowledge/instructions for specialists. Requires significant prior experience/knowledge.
Hot Topic – Covers a highly debated issue.
Important – Is about consequential social/political/scientific/technological risks or developments.
Innovative – Proposes or describes new ideas, products or trends.
Insider’s take – The author has privileged access to the pertaining matter.
Inspiring – Motivates to put in practice the advice it gives.
Overview – Treats its subject matter broadly, mentioning all its major aspects.
Scientific – Founds its content on scientific research. Also: Is itself a scientific publication.
Visionary – Holistically extrapolates current societal or technological dynamics into the future. Speculates on a grand scale as to how the future might look like.
Well structured – Content is purposefully structured to support its reception or application.

Managing your account

How can I change my account details?
Log in on the website and click on My Account. Change your e-mail address, password and other details in the respective section and confirm with "Save".

Using the service

If I like the summary, how can I buy the book?
getAbstract is not a book retailer. If you are interested in buying a copy of a book we have summarized, click on the link provided at the top and bottom of the page. A pop-up window will appear and direct you to an online store where you can purchase the book. For bulk orders (more than 20 books), we are happy to take care of your order. Please write us to
Will the service work on my mobile?
Our website is mobile friendly, but for frequent usage, we recommend to download our app for iOS or Android. If you have purchased a subscription via web browser, you may use your same login credentials to access your account via the getAbstract app. For more details, see How it Works – Mobile page.
I have a Kindle (or another e-reader). How do I use it?
All of our summaries are available in e-reader formats. Find some easy instructions on how to start reading on your device on our How it Works – Mobile page.
How many summaries can I read?
You can read an unlimited number of summaries on the website or app. You can also download summaries to your PC, e-reader or any other device (file download restrictions may apply).
Can I share summaries with my colleagues, friends or family?
Whenever you’re reading or listening to a summary that you consider worth sharing, we encourage you to do so. Please use the share icons on top or below each summary page, as only these special share links allow your contacts to read the full summary for three days – without even registering.