In a world dominated by gadgets and social media, Americans don’t read nearly as much as they should. In fact, statistics cite that 33 percent of high school graduates never read another book after finishing school, and a whopping 42 percent of college graduates join them four years down the road.
That means those who do read have an immediate advantage over nearly half the population. Influencing skills can make or break just about any business dealings and reading is the most popular way people learn to influence others. No matter your plans in life, reading is going to help you get there directly or indirectly.
Here are 10 reasons why people who read are more successful:
1. Reading improves mental dexterity.
Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body. Researchers have found that stimulating the brain in the way that reading does can actually slow the progression of cognitive diseases like Alzheimer’s and dementia. Ultimately, keeping your brain engaged in stimulating activities can prevent cognitive function from deteriorating over time.
2. Reading reduces stress.
No matter how business-oriented or tenacious you might be, you’ll never get anywhere in the corporate world if you don’t do well under stress. Also stress universally hastens aging. Long story short, the less stress the better.
With constant pressures such as deadlines, business security issues, and shifting markets, having something that helps you relax naturally is beyond valuable in the corporate world. Reading is one of the easiest ways to reduce stress naturally—and it works almost instantaneously.
3. Reading increases knowledge.
It’s no surprise that reading can increase your understanding of the world around you, but what most people don’t realize is that you can learn something from any book you read. You don’t have to stick to nonfiction or biographies to learn about the human condition.
4. Reading improves vocabulary.
If you want to make it in the business world, you’re going to have to learn how to communicate your ideas effectively. Reading is simply the most effective way to increase your vocabulary
5. Reading improves sleep.
As long as you don’t pick a suspense thriller or other exciting page-turner that might suck you in, reading before bed is one of the easiest ways to improve your sleep cycle the natural way. People who sleep better tend to work harder and get more done during their waking hours, which can lead to more success.
6. Reading boosts memory.
Networking is crucial if you want to move up in the corporate world, but you’ll never get anywhere if you can’t remember anyone’s name. Reading encourages your brain to keep track of characters, scenes and complicated plot devices, and every time your brain creates a new synapse to remember something, it strengthens existing ones.
7. Reading strengthens analytical thinking skills.
You don’t have to read mystery novels to improve your analytical thinking skills. Most fiction books contain at least a little guesswork on the reader’s part, and predicting where the story will go can help improve your thinking skills as you read.
8. Reading improves concentration.
Thanks to the proliferation of smartphones, tablets and laptops, there are countless gadgets vying for your attention on a regular basis. If you can’t concentrate, how can you ever expect to get anything done? Reading on a regular basis can help improve focus and boost concentration in the long run, which will increase your success in more ways than one.
9. Reading improves writing skills.
As reading improves your vocabulary, it simultaneously improves your writing skills. Exposing yourself to well-written works will rub off on you over time and help you communicate better via email or pen and paper.
10. Reading encourages you to set—and reach—your goals.
Even if you don’t realize it, you’re setting a goal to finish something every time you dive into a new book. It’s that goal-setting mentality and exercising of the will power muscle that’s ultimately going to lead you to success, no matter what you might set out to do.
The benefits of reading are often subtle at first, but if you continue reading on a regular basis, you’ll likely see how it’s improving all facets of your life.
About the Article Author
Lindsey Patterson is a freelance writer who specialized in business and technology.
When she isn’t at work she spends time with her family.
If you want to find her you can follow her on Twitter.