FREEDOM AND SAFETY
It’s official – reading is good for you.
With many successful people connecting reading to their good fortune, here are five reasons to pick up a book today.
People who read books live for around two years longer than those who don’t, irrespective of gender, wealth, education or health, according to a Yale University study. While a similar association was found among readers of newspapers, it was weaker.
“Book reading contributed to a survival advantage that was significantly greater than that observed for reading newspapers or magazines,” the authors of the study wrote. “Compared to non-book readers, book readers had a 23-month survival advantage,” they noted.
Deep reading promotes empathy and emotional intelligence - cognitive processes that can lead to greater chance of survival, the report explained.
Some studies suggest students take in more information from paper than from screens, underlining the case for picking up an actual book rather than an e-reader. One study in Norway showed students who read texts in print scored better on reading comprehension tests than students who read digitally.
A review of educational research published by SAGE Journals showed readers may not comprehend complex or lengthy material as well when they view it digitally.
Evidence suggests that being immersed in a book-oriented environment is beneficial to educational achievement. One study shows how growing up with a library at home boosts adult literacy, numeracy and technological problem solving.
Skills like these are increasingly important as younger generations seek to navigate the Fourth Industrial Revolution. The World Economic Forum’s Future of Jobs Report demonstrates how demand for skills is shifting toward softer skills that can be fostered, in part, through reading.
In addition to improving your emotional and cognitive intelligence, reading can also help broaden your vocabulary, with some research concluding that “above average readers experienced a higher rate of vocabulary growth than did average readers.”
Moreover, an Oxford University Press Report found evidence of a significant word gap in UK schools, which it said could be holding back the educational progression of some children.
“Reading aloud, discussion about reading, and independent reading experiences at school and at home can encourage vocabulary growth," the report noted.
Exercising your mind is likely to reduce your risk of dementia, according to the Alzheimer’s Society. The organization advocates finding something you like doing that challenges your brain and doing it regularly like reading “challenging books”.
“Regularly challenging yourself mentally seems to build up the brain’s ability to cope with disease,” according to the Society’s website. “One way to think about it is ‘Use it or lose it’.”
The World Economic Forum's Book Club and other similar organizations collate reading lists and provide an online space for discussion of fiction and nonfiction.
You can join this book club wherever you are in the world. The authors are directly involved, often responding via video to questions and comments posed by members.
So what are you waiting for? Sit back and enjoy a good book today.