Athena (Product Review)

My summary of Athena before using it? I expect an app similar to Goodreads; allowing me to keep track of the books I have read and those I want to read, as well as helping me discovering new others and book titles.

How does Athena explain itself in the first minute? 

In the first minute, Athena explains that it will help tailor its recommendations based on my interests. I like Athena’s focus on personalisation early on on in the journey, but it would have been helpful if I could have seen more info about Athena and a sample recommendation first, in order to have a better idea of what to expect from Athena and its app.

I then create a free account ‘to access over 100+ curated insights designed to unlock the power of books’.

How does Athena work? Athena is a subscriptions business, with users signing up for a ‘Library Pass’, starting with a 7-day free trial, which – unless you cancel – then turns into a $4.99 subscription per month. Alternatively, you can select an annual or a lifetime pass.

Based on the interests I selected early on in Athene’s onboarding journey, I can see my topics of choice listed under ‘Now on Athena’ on the app’s landing screen.

When I tap ‘Mental Health’, I land on a category screen with a list of book related to the topic in question. In this case, there are 5 titles and I wonder how often Athena’s library collection gets replenished with new titles and whether I’ll be able to keep track of what I have read.

The great thing that Athena’s library combines both long reads and audio books. Perhaps I’ve become too used by the way in which Amazon lays out the different formats in which content is available – e.g. Kindle, hard cover or paperback – but it would be good of Athena’s interface could be clearer about the different formats available, especially in those instances where an audio summary might not (yet) be available, example.

When I listen to the audio of ‘The Noonday Demon’, I hear a well narrated summary of Andrew Solomon’s well known book. I like that the 13 minute snippet starts with a short bur clear summary of the book and its author. This summary is then followed by a number of concrete insights from the book, all clearly carefully curated and narrated.

Main learning point: Athena feels somewhat similar to Blinkist but I personally prefer Athena’s more personalised onboarding journey and their category screens. Although I’m not an avid consumer of audiobooks, I really like the audio summaries for the titles in Athena’s library. My hope is that Athena will continue to add to and curate its ‘library’ as I feel it provides a really nice learning treasure chest for people keen to keep learning!

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