Anne Kreamer makes “The Business Case for Reading Novels” in her blog for the Harvard Business Review. Research shows 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” — meaning reading fiction might help you interact better with co-workers and clients and maybe even make you a better manager.
There are already a wealth of non-fiction books out there on improving your career or managing more effectively or doing your specific job better, but Kreamer recommends several fiction books she feels are relevant to the working world:
- The Way We Live Now by Anthony Trollope, inspired by 19th century financial scandals
- Turn of the Century by Kurt Andersen, about trying to balance the demands of work and life in 2000
- Sanditon by Jane Austen, an unfinished novel about a real estate speculator
- Bleak House by Charles Dickens, about the human cost of a prolonged lawsuit
- JR by William Gaddis, about an 11-year-old who builds a fortune in the stock market
- Something Happened by Joseph Heller, about a middle manager as he prepares for a promotion
What do you think? Can reading Dickens make you a better manager?