Read Fiction, Not Self-Help!

Ann Venkataraman
Oct 20, 2020 · 4 min read

Why Everyone Should Read Fiction Books

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You might have seen hundreds of articles on Top 25 reading lists, categorized by themes like leadership, entrepreneurship, marketing, etc. But no one ever talks about the benefits of reading fiction — thrillers, mysteries, romances, etc.

As an avid reader, and a successful corporate America executive, I firmly believe everyone should read fiction. Not just for entertainment, but for improving your life, too. So if you enjoy fiction books, here are some reasons to continue indulging in them. If you do not already read fiction, or look down upon them, then here are some solid reasons to start:

1] Combinatory Play:

They say success occurs when preparation meets opportunity!

You can prepare for serendipity using the concept of “combinatory play” when you combine best practices from one field to a problem in a different niche.

Reading fiction books from different genres helps you quickly (and subconsciously) absorb salient points of different domains without even trying and without boring you out of your brains. You get bombarded with novel ideas and perspectives without even trying!

For example, Robin Cook books talk a lot about surgeries, medical diagnostics/ procedures, and the inner workings of hospital administration in large medical facilities. Daniel Silva’s books present tons of information about world politics from multiple perspectives, not just the USA or the UK. To me, his books are an alternative to CNN and Fareed Zakaria’s Global Public Square, but far more interesting! A recent book I read called the “UnDomestic Goddess” by Sophie Kinsella taught me a lot about the cutthroat competition that happens in law firms.

And who can forget how Dan Brown lifted the curtain on the inner workings of the Chruch & Vatican in his Da Vinci series? Similarly, Agatha Christie books are an amazing window into human psychology and how people behave in relationships.

2] Focus & Discipline:

“Focus” is a huge advantage in this day and age of social media. I admit — even adults have less attention than a goldfish, although only kids get admonished when they get distracted or demand an iPad.

Books are a fantastic way of focusing us on re-learning discipline, focus, and mindfulness while giving us an entertaining and immersive experience.

Books also help increase our ability for delayed gratification, because even though we want to hear the climax of a whodunnit, we still plow through the entire sequence.

3] Creativity & Imagination:

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Another amazing book I read [ Image courtesy author]

Books take you into a fantastic new world and extend the power of our imagination. For example, when I read Angela K Ryan’s cozy Mysteries, I can truly visualize the beautiful beaches of Florida. I can imagine the gorgeous jewelry that the heroine creates for her fair trade Jewellery Store. Books like Harry Potter take us into a completely new world a world that does not exist with goblins and trolls and other fantastic beasts.

Unlike a movie where everything is presented cut and dried, books force us to depend on our own creativity and our imaginative powers are stretched to new heights.

This imagination process also boosts our innovation muscles which potentially helps us succeed better in our personal and professional life as well. For example, Albert Einstein was able to come up with his brilliant theories because of his initial job as a patent officer, not despite it! His work forced him to visualize patent applications from myriad fields and that allowed him to become better in his field of theoretical physics.

Fiction books can help you in the same vein.

4] Escape hatch

Given how negative this whole year has turned out, with the pandemic, natural disasters, divisive and racial tensions and the threat of a prolonged recession. Books are an amazing way of escaping and adding some joy to our lives, iIf only for a few hours or minutes per day.

I do not suggest we should shy away from counselors or ignore the help of mental health experts. However, books can be an immediate and low-cost way of getting some relief from the stressors of real life.

In conclusion, self-help books are amazing for productivity but fiction books are also equally effective in boosting your odds of success.

If you already read tons of books, here are some tips to help you absorb and retain more:

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Ann Venkataraman

Written by

Techie, blogger & DataScience manager. I write about Technology, Leadership, and Career Development.

Great New Reads

Strategies to help you Accelerate your Career and Double your income! Topics include Career Development, Leadership, Innovation, and Self-improvement. Posts that enable you to reflect on the world in new ways.

Ann Venkataraman

Written by

Techie, blogger & DataScience manager. I write about Technology, Leadership, and Career Development.

Great New Reads

Strategies to help you Accelerate your Career and Double your income! Topics include Career Development, Leadership, Innovation, and Self-improvement. Posts that enable you to reflect on the world in new ways.

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