In today’s multi-media oriented world, will we soon lose the skill of reading? Today, I can listen to an audiobook or watch a do-it-yourself video to learn how to assemble something, rather than read the manual. Is all of this ease helping or hurting me? Consider that question as you read today’s excerpt.

According to a survey conducted by an independent publisher, Jenkins group, reading regularly after finishing school has dropped drastically. Over thirty percent of high school graduates never read a book for the rest of their lives, and 42% of college graduates never read a book after college. The survey also found that 80% of American families did not buy or read a book in the year that the survey was conducted. Of course, it makes sense. Only a generation or two ago, reading was the most common form of passive entertainment before the rise of popularity in television, video games, and the Internet. Still, while many of us may have hated reading in school, simply because it was foisted on us involuntarily, there are many reasons for picking up a book during your down time. Here are a few.

  1. Increased Ability to Empathize with Others. According to one series of studies, regularly reading fiction increases your ability to understand social situations with greater depth. It makes you more able to empathize with individuals who are very different from you.
  2. Improved writing and general communication skills, two key job skills. One of the key job skills that employers have most recently lamented as deficient among new hires is their inability to communicate proficiently in writing. While you don’t have to be a William Shakespeare to get a job these days, it definitely helps to be able to write clearly and concisely. And there are only two ways to substantively improve your writing skills: by reading and writing.

Source: “The Benefits of Reading to Your Health.” By Brett Blumenthal.