Read fiction to succeed

By now you know that we believe that if you Read Every Day you will Lead a Better Life.  Personally I believe reading absolutely anything will improve your life but as I talk to some people, they tell me that they read but that they are absolutely too busy to read fiction.  They read newspapers, trade magazines, blogs, and news websites.  They feel that they are spending their time wisely because they are reading things that will help them in their professional lives.  Again, that’s great.  You won’t ever see me ever complain about anyone reading! 

But there may just be a flaw in their plan. 

A very interesting article came out from Ragan’s PR Daily a few days back entitled PR firm owner: Reading fiction helps your career.  Now, that’s a headline that will get your attention.  The article sites a study that says that by reading fiction a person can improve their social skills including increased empathy and the ability to take another person’s point of view.  According to the author of the article Gini Dietrich, “Emotional intelligence is forged in many ways, including by reading fiction. Just like anything else, we have to work our minds—for leadership skills, for managing profits, and for working better with our human capital.”  She talks about how in interviews she will ask perspective employees what type of fiction that they read because it gives her an idea of the type of writing that they will be able to produce. 

If reading nonfiction connects you to the world around you, then perhaps reading fiction connects you to the world inside of you.  Fiction can give you experiences that you never would have otherwise.  Never have I lived in New York in the 1950’s, feeling trapped by my feeling and obligations, but having read Judy Blundell’s Strings Attached, I have experienced those emotions.  Never will I be stranded on a desert island with my fellow beauty pageant contestants, but through Beauty Queens by Libba Bray I have.  Yes, that last example was a bit out there but you get my point.  The more experiences that you have both real and fiction, the more you are expanded to meet the world…and who knows, it might just help your career.

But that’s just what I think, what do you think?  Do you feel that reading fiction opens you up to new experiences?  Do you think that reading fiction increases your social skills?  Is there a favorite book or type of book that helps you to unwind after work?  Let us know in the comments!

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0 thoughts on “Read fiction to succeed”

  1. I totally agree with this. Reading a lot of fiction growing up really did help me develop empathy. I learned to look at things from different POV’s and being a bit more perceptive of other people’s feelings.

  2. I agree wholeheartedly. I love reading fiction and nonfiction, books for adults and books for children, blogs and emails. I enjoy them all but with fiction, I feel like I am slipping into the skin of another person. That can’t help but alter the way I see the world.

  3. I agree that reading fiction helps us develop as human beings, but beyond that it also helps develop creativity. Some high school students of mine volunteered with a class of underprivileged elementary schoolers who barely read and were astonished at how these children were unable to imagine anything outside of what they’d seen on TV or in movies. Creativity is a must for anyone who wants to get ahead in their career or their personal lives.

  4. I disagree. I am a history major studying to get my masters degree. I read a lot of non-fiction history and within the pages one can achieve empathy for others. Reading true accounts of how events effected different people teaches empathy. Fiction is not the only source. It can be achieved through non-fiction as well. Fiction is more fantasy than the real deal!

  5. I believe that reading fiction helps expand the brain to “possibilities” and lets the imagination soar. Historical fiction frequently incorporates actual historical events, public figures, dress, foods, etc.; current fiction uses current events, places, things, etc., and eventually will become historical fiction; and, futuristic fiction speculates about what could be. And, fiction is more often than not a reflection of the human condition no matter the period. It gives us different perspectives on problem-solving or approaching relationships.

  6. … and, fiction isn’t as dry or dull as a lot of nonfiction – it’s much more fun to read and to escape to some other place or time. I read nonfiction as well in the form of biographies, autobiographies, histories, and newspapers & magazines – I always wind up questioning whether or not the writer of nonfiction may have “filled in the blanks” to make things more interesting and easier to digest.

  7. Completely agree with this. In fact, one of my former bosses advised me of this when I was just getting started in the corporate world. I find reading a mix (fiction, non-fiction, news, blogs, etc.) makes it easier to start conversations and to form bonds with others.

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