Reading for Fun Can Do a Body - and Career - Good

When is the last time you read a book for fun? Think long and hard. Has it been awhile?

Reading is, of course, an integral part of college education and the successful path toward graduation. Students have textbooks, eBooks, other course materials and lecture notes to read, as well as material for their research papers and assignments. However, reading for fun can not only be enjoyable and help one decompress from the stresses of everyday life, but can potentially correlate to success in business and one’s career field.

In a recent post to the Harvard Business Review Blog Network, Anne Kreamer said, “Academic researchers, such as Oatley and Raymond Mar from York University, have gathered data indicating that fiction-reading activates neuronal pathways in the brain that measurably help the reader better understand real human emotion — improving his or her overall social skillfulness.” 

Improving one’s social skillfulness and emotional intelligence translates into better soft skills and interactions with colleagues. 

In addition, it is important to note that employers also continue to reiterate the following at campus business advisory board meetings: Soft skills and critical thinking/problem-solving skills are desirable traits for candidates to possess, in addition to education and knowledge of the particular profession. 

“The ability to interpret and respond to those different from us — colleagues, employees, bosses, customers and clients — is plainly critical to success, particularly in a globalized economy. The imperative to try to understand others' points of view — to be empathetic — is essential in any collaborative enterprise,” said Kreamer in the article.

And regardless of one’s preferred genre, readers can always benefit from perusing fiction. Whether one enjoys mysteries, science-fiction/fantasy, thrillers, romance, westerns, action or adventure – no one genre is better than another. Regardless of what type of fiction people enjoy, the act of reading fiction can help develop interpersonal skills, emotional intelligence, and improve our “sensitivity to and appreciation of complex human situations,” according to Anna Leahy, director of Tabula Poetica: The Center for Poetry at Chapman University, in a Huffington Post article.  

The latter “provides a richer ‘toolkit’ of understanding from which to pull when making decisions and building relationships. And as our business lives get more complex, faster-paced, less hierarchical and more dependent upon our ability to build support with those around us – that kind of toolkit becomes ever more critical to our success,” Leahy added in the article. 

So, take some time to read for fun. Engross yourself in a novel. It just may help your career success.


Kreamer, A. (2012, January 11). The business case for reading novels. Retrieved from

Leahy, A. (2012, June 24). The importance of reading for all of us. Retrieved from

External links provided on are for reference only. Rasmussen College does not guarantee, approve, control, or specifically endorse the information or products available on websites linked to, and is not endorsed by website owners, authors and/or organizations referenced.

Hilary A. Wagner, American Library Association-accredited librarian, is the Campus Librarian and Diversity Champion at Rasmussen College in New Port Richey/West Pasco. She has worked in academic and public libraries for more than 20 years. Hilary has an M.A. in Library & Information Science from the University of South Florida. She has presented at international, national, and state library conferences and contributes to American Library Association and Florida Library Association committees.

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