The Unexpected Benefits of Literature (Number 4 Will Surprise You)


Did you know that reading “Ulysses” or “To Kill a Mockingbird” helps you save time? Reading “The Grapes of Wrath” will make you nicer. A video by The School of Life explains some of the unexpected benefits of reading literature.

Most people read literature as a school requirement. Others read for pleasure or intellectual stimulation. These are the obvious benefits. Here are some additional (and surprising) benefits.

#1 Literature saves you time.

Books are a great time saver because they give us access to a wide range of experiences, emotions, and thoughts that would take us many years to experience directly. Literature lets you jump from birth to childhood to adulthood all in one book or story.

Novels, poems, and plays simulate reality and let you see what it’s like to be divorced or to quit your job or kill someone—without adverse consequences.

#2 Literature makes you nicer.

Literature lets you experience other people’s point of view and shows you consequences of actions on others. Literature takes you across continents and time. It turns you into a citizen of the world at no or little cost.

#3 Literature is a cure for loneliness. “In books we find descriptions of who we are and what events are really like described with honesty not allowed in ordinary conversations,” according to the video. “In the best books, it’s as if the writer knows us better than we know ourselves.”

Books are our true friends—always around and never too busy.

#4 Literature prepares you for failure. Let’s face it: Nobody wants to be a loser. And yet, great literature is about people who messed up. In books, we don’t have to judge the characters as harshly as in real life.

Note: This post was originally published on my old blog on Nov. 2, 2016. The original version didn’t make it when I moved my blog to Squarespace.

The School of Life Video: What is Literature For?

Video:  “What is Literature For?” Courtesy of The School of Life.