Reading is an activity you may take for granted, but the ability to derive meaning from the letters on a page or screen (if you like ebooks) can be life-changing. Here are a few ways researchers think reading is good for you.
It can help you find a better job
An Oxford University researcher analyzed the results of a survey of 17,200 people born in 1970 and determined that those who read books at age 16 were more likely to pursue professional or managerial careers at age 33. The questionnaire asked respondents that other extracurricular activities such as sports, cultural outings, computer games, cooking and sewing were not associated with future career success.
It’s an exercise for your brain
That’s according to Ken Pugh, research director of the Yale-affiliated Haskins Laboratory, which studies the impact of spoken and written language. He said reading is an activity that activates all major parts of the brain, enhancing skills in language, selective attention, sustained attention, cognition and imagination. Books that tell stories through fiction or narrative non-fiction are especially useful for developing imagination and thinking skills that no other way of reading can.
It develops communication skills
According to published in Journal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics, reading only one picture book to children a day can expose them to about 78,000 words a year. The researchers calculated that in the five years prior to kindergarten, children living in households with high literacy rates listened to about 1.4 million more words than children whose caregivers did not read to them. This is important to their future selves, as the ability to communicate well is one of the most frequently cited skills by employers, and they see it as something they value in their future employees.
It can help you become a better leader
This is the view of book co-author John Coleman Passion and Purpose: Stories from the Best and Brightest Young Business Leaders in a story he wrote Harvard Business Review. He writes:
Reading improves verbal intelligence, making leaders more skilled and articulate communicators. Reading novels can improve empathy and understanding of social cues, allowing leaders to better collaborate with and understand others — characteristics that author Anne Kreamer persuasively links to improving organizational effectiveness Get connected, and get raises and promotions for leaders who possess these qualities. Any business person understands that improving emotional intelligence will improve his or her leadership and management skills.
He recommends reading books of all genres, joining book clubs to expose you to titles you may not have chosen yourself, and reading neuroscience or psychology books to give you new perspectives on issues you may encounter at work . Or, just read for relaxation, a pastime that almost everyone can benefit from.