Want to be Smarter or Richer in Life? Here’s How Literature can Help You


Literature perhaps does not seem profitable to most. But what recent findings have shown is that reading good literature helps build attitudes that can lead to a better chance at success. Would you or would you not want to take on the challenge of a good book?

Carl Sagan, a legend in our times with his Pulitzer Prize winning Cosmos ( book and TV series), an iconic, successful figure who demystified science for mankind, relived the wonder of books and reading: “What an astonishing thing a book is. It’s a flat object made from a tree with flexible parts on which are imprinted lots of funny dark squiggles. But one glance at it and you’re inside the mind of another person, maybe somebody dead for thousands of years. Across the millennia, an author is speaking clearly and silently inside your head, directly to you…Books break the shackles of time. A book is proof that humans are capable of working magic.” 

Famous American novelist, F Scott Fitzgerald talked of the empathy that literature generated in him. “That is part of the beauty of all literature. You discover that your longings are universal longings, that you’re not lonely and isolated from anyone. You belong.” Reading gives you a sense of belonging, moves you away from a sense of isolation from the world that surrounds you.

A good book takes you on a journey that is so engrossing that you become oblivious of your surroundings and are lost in the world of literature. It draws you out of your little cocoon of grief or unhappiness into the lives of many more people. It helps you heal; gives time to you to heal. Bibliotherapy which uses literature to heal has come into being for more than a decade. One of the beneficiaries said, “Reading pushes the pain away into a place where it no longer seems important.”

Recent studies have shown that literature not only is cathartic and empathetic  but also helps improve your social skills.

A recent article in The Statesman affirmed: “In a major study conducted by psychologists Raymond Mar at York University in Canada and Keith Oatley at the University of Toronto in 2006 and 2009 respectively, it was found that individuals who often read literature are in a better position to relate to other people and empathise with them.” 

And then added: “They are also able to view the world from the perspective of others. In a similar study conducted in 2010, Mar found similar results once again: the more young people read literature, the more sharp their minds are and they are better prepared to deal with the complexities in life.”

Does this mean we need to revive an interest in literature as a genre among the youth who mostly indulge in quick informative reads on their mobiles?

Read more about it in this article in The Statesman.


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