The Importance of Reading Fiction

Hannah Frankman
Mission.org

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I am going to begin this article by posing an argument: reading fiction is important.

Everyone can agree that reading is an important component in developing a successful life. Consuming content sharpens your intellect and builds your knowledge set. It seems almost universal that the more successful you are, the more you read.

But this focus on reading is one-dimensional. People get caught up in nonfiction — self-help books, business books, books on sales and health and psychology and relationships. These are all valid books to spend your time reading — they’re filled with information that can help better you in your career and your life — but it’s a mistake to leave fiction in the dust.

Fiction is a forgotten gem, an untapped well of knowledge and information. A person developing and aiming for success should steep themselves in fiction, and read it copiously.

I’ve made my argument. Now to answer the question that follows all such bold claims: why?

Fiction helps you understand other people’s perspectives

Fiction has a power that no other form of communication does: the power to insert you fully and completely in someone else’s mind. It is a meld between the mind of the reader and the writer, and the minds of reader and character.

When you read fiction, you’re seeing the world through a character’s eyes.

Watching a character interact with the world around them is powerful. When studying history, a history book gives you a series of dry facts and anecdotes, but historical fiction sets you down in the middle of the time period, allows you to touch and taste the world around you, interact with contemporaries, solve problems. You understand the period contextually as you never could from the removed perspective of a history book.

Good fiction runs deep into the realms of psychology and philosophy. It explores and uncovers paradigm. It allows you to understand perspectives you’ve never seen before, both psychological and physical.

When you read fiction, you can be someone you’d never otherwise have the chance to become — another gender, another age, someone of another nationality or another circumstance…

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Hannah Frankman
Mission.org

Career development + performance coach. I help solopreneurs find and own niches on the internet. Follow me at hannahfrankman.com and twitter.com/hannahfrankman