How books help a person

management5 reasons to read a novel again

It's no secret that successful people read a lot. Bill Gates, for example. Or Warren Buffet. At the end of each year, they reveal which books have impressed them the most. These are mainly non-fiction books. But what about fiction?

Is fiction just pure entertainment? Michael Morvan, founder and head of US tech company Cosmo, sees it differently. He reads crime novels every evening. As an entrepreneur, says Morvan, you have to deal with all the details, from strategies and products to personnel management. Immersing yourself in a novel, identifying with the characters and trying to solve the puzzles has two effects on him. On the one hand: while reading, he can switch off from everyday problems at work very quickly. On the other hand: Reading novels promotes his creativity. There are no limits to his imagination. And that's how it should be at work.

In fact, scientific studies have shown that reading novels has a positive effect on developing social skills. Here are five examples.

1. Strengthen judgment

Reading novels can help to better assess people and situations beyond one's own logic, says Michael Benveniste, professor at the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma / Washington. Reading helps to strengthen judgment, especially in situations that are characterized by deep emotions. “Fiction offers space for speculation. About values ​​such as belief, norms and experiences, which play a major role in a social context, ”says Benveniste.

2. Engage emotionally

People who read a lot of novels find it easier to empathize with other people. That's what a study by the University of Toronto found. That's because readers get emotionally involved in the story. They develop images from individual pieces of information, become part of the story in which they encounter complex characters and situations that they would never experience in real life. Keith Oatley, professor of cognitive psychology at the University of Toronto, compares this to a computer simulation - for example on a flight simulator. “Novels and dramas can help us better understand the complexities of social life,” he says.

3. Train empathy

Putting yourself in the shoes of a person from a novel can help you be more empathetic with people in real life. That's because you're building a relationship with a character in the novel, says Raymond Mar, a psychologist from York University in Canada. “Our thinking and feeling is influenced by the action of a story,” says Mar. In our actions we would reflect on experiences from our own past - or on experiences from books. Even if the storylines in novels are often fictitious, they could have an impact on our psyche and our actions, according to the psychologist.

4. Reduce stress

According to a study by the University of Sussex, reading novels relieves stress better than listening to music, going for a walk or - quite British - a cup of tea. Reading reduces stress levels by 68 percent, according to neuropsychologist David Lewis. After six minutes of reading, the heart rate dropped and the muscles relaxed, according to Lewis. Getting lost in a book is the ultimate relaxation. “It doesn't matter what kind of book you read. Those who read escape the worries and stress of everyday life and lose themselves for a while in the world of the author. "

5. Find advice

Novels are often about special people with strong characters who are described in detail, says Juliette Wells of Goucher College in Baltimore. They help to inspire in daily life. "I myself have often surprised myself when I secretly quote Elizabeth Bennet from" Pride and Prejudice "by Jane Auston, who says: My courage grows every time someone tries to intimidate me."