There's nothing more comforting than curling up with a good book and a cup of coffee. With millions of stories waiting to be read, from fiction to business books, you'll never run out of options, like you might with finding quality shows on Netflix. When you read, you open yourself to new adventures, lessons and perspectives.
"Reading is a very necessary habit for every successful businessperson," said Ellen Parry Lewis, fiction author. "It broadens your mind, helps with your written and verbal communication skills, and gives you a certain level of understanding and empathy."
Time spent with your nose in a book is never wasted – it's productive. Whether you read to escape or pass the time, you're doing yourself and your career a favor. Here are some ways reading can help you in the workplace. [Ready to dive into a business book? Here are some of our recommendations.]
Reading about different types of people and their adversities helps you to understand others better, which is important in your career.
"Whether you're reading about real people or fictitious characters, books are made to not only broaden your mind in regards to facts but feelings," said Lewis. In turn, she added, this develops communication skills, helping you connect with clients and colleagues.
"Regardless of what kind of stories you like to read, fiction or nonfiction, reading enables you to make sense of your life, the lives of others, your relationships and the world at large," added Joe Tonzelli, author and media editor for Cut Print Film.
It's no secret that reading develops one's vocabulary. However, with constant exposure to various sentence structures, voices, styles and delivery methods, you also advance your written and verbal communication skills, said Joe McGee, author of "Peanut Butter and Brains: A Zombie Culinary Tale" (Abrams Books for Young Readers, 2015).
As an avid reader, you'll likely speak more professionally and confidently than others, and with little effort. Understanding the art of language will set you apart from others in the work world.
"Whether you're aware of it or not, you're enhancing your vocabulary on every page," said Tonzelli. "You learn what certain words mean and how to use them. You learn which words hold the power, or the humor, or the emotion."
Books spark creativity. Writers conceive interesting topics for stories, and reading them subconsciously helps you do the same in your work life.
Lewis noted that her imagination helps her succeed in her own career, and it's smart to build on that. An active imagination in the workplace provides benefits, such as better problem-solving skills. Because you're used to reading about different circumstances, you're better equipped to confront any sort of work issue. Your mind automatically thinks analytically about the situation, picking up on lessons you've learned from previous books you've read, to see if and how they could be applied to the problem you're facing.
McGee also stated that readers have broader-reaching minds and more creativity, which helps them think on a deeper level than most.
Sometimes, you need to escape your own problems and dive into someone else's. It may feel like a guilty pleasure, but reading is a great distraction from reality. Distancing yourself from potential stressors can allow you to remain calm and either help prepare or wind you down from a workday.
"Who doesn't like to relax after a long day, perhaps escaping into a world of victorious knights, magical empresses and rebellious maids?" said Lewis.
According to Lewis, reading teaches us to persevere. After finishing a novel for class or a work of fiction in your free time, you may feel a sense of accomplishment, inspiring you to follow suit in your career.
"The ability to read a book, and stick with it, demands attention and focus – something kids seem to have less of in a world of iPhones and fidget spinners," said McGee. "Reading a book requires a commitment, [which] ... is desirable to an employer."
Lewis noted that "knowledge is power" and is a major asset in one's career. Reading offers perspective and insight on different cultures, adversities, lifestyles, relationships and more.
"Reading [also] stimulates mental activity and fosters cognitive growth," added McGee. "Young readers are developing and exercising their brains, much like someone … [who] takes their body to the gym."
McGee advised all professionals to feed their minds by picking up a book. "We should always be striving to grow, learn and improve ourselves," he said. "Reading is one way to do that – to learn from others by reading their words, stories and insight[s]."