My Essential Reading App - Readwise Reader

There are rare tools that change how I interact with the world or what possibilities I see.

One of those tools is Descript. Editing videos and podcasts like they’re Word docs was such an innovation that I immediately became evangelical about the product. I’d preach to anyone who would listen and insist they had to try it.

Readwise Reader is my new “you have to try it” app.

Reader seems ordinary at first, like just another RSS feed reader. But it quickly became the tool through which I view most of my content. I rarely read a blog post, watch a video, or read a newsletter without first sending it to Readwise Reader.

Reader takes just about any form of content you throw at it, keeps the content in one place, and lets you highlight it. You can then export those highlights to different places for use later.

Reader handles:

  • Blog posts
  • YouTube videos
  • Newsletters
  • RSS feeds
  • Twitter threads
  • PDFs

Saving content to Reader is frictionless. It can automatically pull in your favorite writer’s blog posts through RSS, or you can send pages with a single click with their Chrome plugin. A quick ‘share’ from your phone to Reader does the trick, too.

Blog posts and articles

Blog posts and articles in Reader are immediately better. If the page had ads or other distractions, those are gone. On the iOS app, you get a “Listen to article” button that turns any blog post into a podcast.

Even if you don’t highlight or use any of Reader’s other features, it’s nice to look back on blog posts you’ve read. Because they land in your Reader inbox, and you can archive them when you’re done, you have a record of posts you’ve read.

And because Reader has a super fast full-text search, you can immediately find that blog post you read last month that mentioned the best pizza place in Boston.


More than anything, Reader has changed how I consume YouTube videos. It’s completely changed my relationship with the site.

Thanks to the YouTube captions, it’s turned a video-only format into one I can access through text. When I watch a video, it displays the transcript beneath, highlighting the current text as the video plays.

I can finally highlight and take notes on the text in a YouTube video. I didn’t know I needed this, but I’m never going back.

In Reader’s distraction-free UI, all the aspects of YouTube that make me want to watch more videos are gone. I focus on the video I came to see, and that’s it.


I don’t open my email searching for something interesting to read. It’s a stressful place, and I only sometimes read there. To reduce clutter, I like to clear newsletters out of my inbox and move them somewhere I’ll actually read them.

Currently, I forward the newsletters I want to read to my Readwise Reader email address, but I’ll eventually unsubscribe my personal email and signup with that Reader email instead. Saves me a step.

AI summarization

There’s an AI feature called Ghostreader, which lets you summarize and ask questions in the context of the article using GPT 3.5. Ghostreader also works on YouTube videos, and I’ve saved so much time summarizing 15-minute videos with clickbait titles.

Reading it later

I used to bookmark interesting blog posts to read later. But I never look through my bookmarks, so I never read them.

I’ve often clicked the “Save for later” button on YouTube and never returned to watch.

I’ve kept newsletters in my email inbox for months, planning to read them but eventually just archiving them.

With Reader, they all show up at the right place and time, just as I want to read or watch something. Now I actually come back to the things I saved for later.

Healthier consumption

Readwise Reader has replaced TikTok and Reddit on my phone, so when I’m bored and want to kill some time, I catch up on reading I had saved for later.

I’m still entertained and reading and watching the content I chose, not what the TikTok algorithm decides to serve me.

A better relationship with content

Anyone who deals with knowledge work or wants a healthier relationship with what they consume will benefit from Readwise Reader. You can sign up for free and then add this site’s RSS feed as your first website 😉