Frequently Asked Questions

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What is a book Summary?

Soundview Executive Book Summaries are 5,000-word eight-page text, and 20-minute audio distillations of business books. A Summary covers the book's main points and actionable ideas, and highlights and gives you a working knowledge of its contents.

A Summary isn't merely a digest or excerpts strung together. It's a seamless document that reads (and holds your interest) like a magazine article. And you retain more of the content when you read a Summary than when you read a book. A major university study proved that a few years back.

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Who reads the Summaries and why?

Soundview screens and evaluates business books for executives worldwide. These people range from CEOs to managers just starting out, and everyone in between. Subscribers include managers, sales and marketing people, entrepreneurs, consultants, academics and students, people in manufacturing and finance, human resources -- you name it.

As diverse as this group is, our subscribers have a few things in common. They are ambitious, for example, and they recognize that to succeed they must keep abreast of current business trends and ideas. They also know that, in the business world, education must be an ongoing process. To stop learning is to fall behind. Whatever their motivation, Soundview readers find themselves more effective on the job and more successful in their careers.

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What topics do the Summaries cover?

If it's of interest to business people, we cover it. These include the usual suspects like management and leadership, but also such areas as human resources, marketing, economics, sales, entrepreneurship, negotiation, innovation, technology, talent, diversity, etc. In addition, we sometimes cover books on specific topics that affect nearly all business people, like health care, the environment, politics, and so on. A comprehensive list of subjects and competencies can be found here.

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Where can I see a list of all of your available book summaries?

Our full list of book summaries can be found on our Back Issue page. You can sort by Year, by Subject, and by Competency, or do a search for a specific title or author. Or, check out our Best Seller List.

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What formats are the Summaries available in?

Our summaries are available in a number of different digital formats. This makes it easy to read them on-screen, print them out for future reading, or save them to a mobile device. Plus, almost all of our summaries are available in audio format so you can listen to them as well. For more information about the specific digital formats available to you, click here.

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How does Soundview choose which books to summarize?

Every year we read through thousands of business books - but only a handful make it past our rigorous selection process to be selected for summarization. Each book we choose must:

  • Contain new ideas.
  • Have immediate value for readers.
  • Be well written.

Those that meet our criteria become 8-page Summaries (once we receive permission from the publisher). Other noteworthy titles that don't quite meet our standards become 1-page Speed Reviews.

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You say the Summaries give you ideas and techniques you can use on the job to get better results. How else do people use Summaries?

Our readers often surprise us when they tell us how they use our Summaries. For example, they give them as gifts to friends, colleagues and co-workers, they use them to help subordinates improve their skills, and they use them to make points authoritatively at meetings. Perhaps most importantly, subscribers use Soundview as a book-screening service - that is, they read the summary to see if they want to buy the full-length book.

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Do you summarize all the business bestsellers?

No. First of all, with the exception of books by Jack Welch, John Maxwell, and a few others, there aren't many business bestsellers. We only summarize books that contain fresh ideas and have immediate value for readers.

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How do authors feel about having their books summarized?

They love it. For one thing, there are 48,000 titles published in the U.S. each year. Unless you're a popular writer of fiction, it can be nearly impossible to get publicity for your book. Soundview provides unbeatable exposure for a book and its author - and to a list of people perfectly matched to the book's message. A Summary can therefore have a strong impact on book sales. Also, imagine how an author feels knowing his or her book has been chosen out of more than a thousand for special attention. It's an honor.

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Do you want to read the book after reading the Summary?

Yes, and that's the point of the service. Most Soundview subscribers want to read the books that concern them directly. In effect, Soundview acts as a screening service, pointing you in the direction of worthy books. We give you a taste of the book - and many ideas and techniques you can put to use immediately - so you can decide if you want the whole thing.

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How long has Soundview been doing this?

For over 37 years - longer than anyone. We have the experience to spot new ideas in books and to know what topics are of interest to business readers. Plus, our expert writers are award-winning journalists that know how to distill the top ideas of a book down to easy-to-digest summaries.

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What do I get with a yearly subscription?

  1. Order today and your subscription will include 3 new Summaries of the best business books each month.
  2. An invitation to each of our subscriber-only Soundview Live™ Webinars with today's top business book authors.
  3. A monthly supplement called Speed Reviews containing quick reviews of additional business books of note.
  4. Access to our archive of Executive Insights™ video interviews with executives in the trenches of American business.
  5. If you choose one of our Professional or Premier Editions, you'll also have access to our full archive of thousands of book summaries, webinars, reviews, newsletters, and video tutorials.

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Can I get a free sample book summary?

Sure, you can. Get a Free Sample Summary by clicking here.

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If I subscribe, how long do I have access to my summaries and other content?

All content that is delivered to a subscriber’s Online Library as part of their subscription will be archived and accessible to that subscriber as long as he/she maintains an active subscription to our publication. After a subscription expires, the subscriber can restore the content in their library by simply subscribing to our publication once again.

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How can I subscribe?

We thought you'd never ask.

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Click here for FAQs specific to the online version of Soundview Executive Book Summaries.