While having coffee this AM, I spotted a new survey/study (study by National Endowment of the Arts) announcement that claims that readers and consumers of the arts are better citizens. They are more involved, donate more time and money. They are more likely to volunteer. The study even correlates reading and an increase in physical exercise and outdoor activities.
Crazy? A simple case of correlation, not causation? It would be easy to argue that people with time to read make more money and that people with more money can afford gyms and are politically active too…but I think there is actually a link.
A few years ago, I shared a stage with Dr. Stephen Covey in Salt Lake City at a convention for hospice care workers. In his talk, Dr. Covey urged people to read books as a habit to improve their “emotional imagination”. He said reading will increase the empathy you show people. This is true. When you read books (from self improvement to trash novel), you activate a part of your brain that unleashes creative energy. There is nothing more primal and perpetual than creative energy. You want to work out, write a protest song, call your mom. When you feel creative you feel alive.
If you read one book a month, and half of them help you improve your life and the lives of others — you will feel more creative. You will experience a heightened sense of the possibilities in life. You will prove these cats are right.
Recommended read: The Art of Possibility by Ben Zander