Headway: The App To Kickstart Your Self-Development Journey

by Carlson Ng

Timer4 min

I knew reading was the answer to my hunger for knowledge, but the habit of reading has yet to find a way to stay in my daily routine. I needed to know more, but either did not have the time or did not make the time to read books. Reading on an iPad was distracting while paper books are troublesome (I went paperless a long time ago). But then I found this app — Headway.

What is Headway?

Headway is an app for book summaries. You can consume the summaries in either audio format or text format. It is somewhat similar to the idea of Blinkist.

Why Book Summaries?

Do book summaries replace the actual books? No. Then why bother consuming book summaries?

Reason 1: Consuming Ideas Fast

Most books on the shelves today (especially self-help books) only focus on one major idea, or at most a few major ideas. The rest of these books merely builds upon the ideas by giving examples and use-cases for the idea proposed in the books. Therefore, consuming book summaries is a great way to listen to what the authors of these books have to say, without the hassle of reading through hundreds of pages of examples.

Book summaries enable you to consume a lot of ideas in a short span of time.

Reason 2: Filter Out Uninteresting or Unappealing Books

It takes time to read books. I read very few full-length books per year. It would suck if I spend a lot of my time and effort reading a book only to find out that the book is not something I enjoy reading. The book summaries give you a rough idea of what is covered in the book. If the ideas you come across in the summaries do spark your interest, you would most likely enjoy the full-length book better.

Consuming book summaries is a great way to avoid committing to reading books you don’t like.

What’s Great About Headway

Beautiful UI Design

This is a big one for me. The app is very well-designed. The design looks clean, and pretty. The colors, typeface, rounded corners all seem just right. I love it. The design makes the app very enjoyable.

Intuitive UX Design

There aren’t many things on the app that are unnecessary in my opinion. None of the functions in the app are overkills. The Home page is the Discovery page, starting with an Instagram-story-like section that gives you one quote from each book and this section is renewed daily. Great way to discover new books.

Once you find a book you are interested in, you could add it to your library. Your library is divided into three sections: books you are currently reading, books you want to read, and books you have completed. The book titles and author names are displayed beautifully for you to swipe through and find the book you feel like reading or listening to at any moment.

While reading a summary you could highlight sections and this right away becomes a card that you can easily access in the library, pretty neat. There are also dedicated quotes in the book that you can save as cards, and they will be saved in the Repetition section. While listening to a summary, you have the option to listen to as slow as 0.5x speed and as fast as up to 1.5x speed.

Lastly, to keep you motivated you could set goals and keep streaks.

What About The Bad?

To be honest, there are only two problems I have with Headway that does not really affect the overall experience too much. These two problems are:

  1. Occasional typo every now and then in the summaries
  2. The audio format is read by a reading bot that struggles to pronounce certain words such as time like 2:30pm. Instead of ‘two-thirty PM’ it would pronounce it in a weird way like ‘two-three-zero PM’

However, as I said earlier, these two problems do not affect how much I enjoy this app at all. The UI and UX design of this app cover up for its flaws in my opinion.

How Has This App Helped Me?

Even though I don’t use this app every single day, I built a habit of listening or reading book summaries when I have small chunks of free time. I consumed so much more new knowledge than I would without this app. Books like “Make Time” have been on my list of books I want to read since forever, and now I could finally get the core ideas of the books like this without having to finish up reading the books that I have yet to finish reading. I feel like I am consuming much more meaningful content in my spare time using this app compared to the usual routine of opening up Instagram or Youtube during my spare time.

Written by Carlson Ng

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