In our modern digital society, the old-fashioned book is becoming more and more necessary. Our attention spans are shrinking and our patience runs thin. We spend most of our time wasting time and not utilising it. This puts us at a social and professional disadvantage. However, reading can combat this.
Studies show that reading has many benefits professionally and personally, including:
- Broadening one’s mind – Reading books on various topics and situations whether fiction or fact, will allow you to look at other perspectives whilst simultaneously adding to what you have learned throughout your life.
- Increases intelligent – By reading about various topics you are bound to learn more whether it is about a particular subject or about people in general and relationships. You always learn something when you read no matter whether you are reading a trashy romance novel or the Encyclopaedia. It is recommended, however, that you have variance and diversity.
- Sharpens Memory – The act of reading works the various parts of your brain. Think of it like training a muscle; you have to work it to strengthen it. In addition, some studies suggest that reading may also help fend off Alzheimer’s.
Reduces stress – reading for six minutes can reduce stress by 68%!
- Improves analytical thinking – Studies by Anne E. Cunningham (PhD in Developmental Psychology from University of Michigan) have found that analytical thinking is increased by reading. Thus allowing the reader to analyse and pick out patterns faster.
- Increases vocabulary – Reading is said to teach you more about vocabulary than an average conversation. This is because reading exposes you to words you might not come across every day and forces you to concentrate on them as you actively read them. A broader vocabulary is a great benefit as knowing what other people are saying and using the perfect words to convey your own feelings is critical in life as well as in the workplace.
- Improves writing skills – Being exposed to writing allows you to pick up a few things at both an active and subconscious level. Thus your writing will improve the more you are exposed to the writing of others.
Improves concentration and focus – Practice makes perfect and reading is a great (and enjoyable) way to practice.
- Improves creativity – Being exposed to various topics and creations of other’s imaginations only helps to cultivate and add to your own.
- Boosts relationships – Reading novels can also make one more empathetic and understanding of social cues, allowing oneself to better work with and understand others.
Deep, broad reading habits are often said to be a defining characteristic of great leaders and pioneers such as Winston Churchill and Steve Jobs. People said to have these characteristics are also more likely to have pay raises and promotions in their career. As an added bonus, reading makes you a better listener and listeners are more successful in life.
In conclusion, what’s one of the best things you can do for your career? Read; as broadly and as much as you can.
John Coleman, 2012, ‘For those who want to lead, read’, Harvard Business Review, https://hbr.org/2012/08/for-those-who-want-to-lead-rea
Anne E. Cunningham and Keith E. Stanovich, n.d., ‘What reading does for the mind’, California State University Northbridge, http://www.csun.edu/~krowlands/Content/Academic_Resources/Reading/Useful%20Articles/Cunningham-What%20Reading%20Does%20for%20the%20Mind.pdf
Keith E. Stanovich, 1993,‘Does reading make you smarter? Literacy and the development of verbal intelligence’, U.S National Library of Medicine, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8447247
Glen, 2014, ‘8 Benefits of Reading (or Ways Reading Makes You Better at Life)’, LifeDev, http://lifedev.net/2009/06/reading-makes-you-better/
Unknown, n.d. ‘The 26 major advantages to reading more books and why 3 in 4 people are being shut out of success’, http://www.persistenceunlimited.com/2007/12/the-26-major-advantages-to-reading-more-books-and-why-3-in-4-people-are-being-shut-out-of-success/