Whether it's Wikipedia, Michael Lewis, or Aristotle, reading brings a host of benefits to the workplace.
"Many business people claim that reading across fields is good for creativity. And leaders who can sample insights in other fields, such as sociology, the physical sciences, economics, or psychology, and apply them to their organizations are more likely to innovate and prosper."
Also from the article...
"Reading increases verbal intelligence (PDF), making a leader a more adept and articulate communicator. Reading novels can improve empathy and understanding of social cues, allowing a leader to better work with and understand others — traits that author Anne Kreamer persuasively linked to increased organizational effectiveness, and to pay raises and promotions for the leaders who possessed these qualities. And any business person understands that heightened emotional intelligence will improve his or her leadership and management ability."
A PREFACE TO THIS 4 PART SCOOP SERIES IN DEFENSE OF READING LITERATURE
Have you ever had to defend great literature at a facuIty meeting? Ever struggle to justify fiction as having value during budget crunch discussions? Or, defend a title as having value to a parent, or that parent's offspring for that matter?
I've been researching the benefits of literature in pursuit of refining vision and mission statements, and other challenging questions related to my pending application for 501(c)(3) nonprofit status.
Today, I've focused upon the real question bluntly phrased, "What are the benefits of reading literature in the real world?"
I've come across a few articles today that are responsive to the question from perspectives beyond those of which we who teach literature are already aware. That is to say, articles that bring the value of reading literature to the "rest of the world," and of particular interest to me at the moment, to those who are willing to provide funding to socially beneficial endeavors, IF AND ONLY IF, those efforts can be documented as having measurable impact.
Though it is relatively easy to measure improvement impact in literacy education, as literacy is a "can-you-do-it-or-not" skill, it is much more difficult to measure impact of employing that skill in pursuit of wisdom as it has been articulated in great works of our global literary heritage.
PART 1 OF A 4 SCOOP SERIES IN DEFENSE OF READING LITERATURE
This extremely well-documented article goes right at the "What good is fiction in the business world" challenge.
A LOT of good apparently!
The premise being that great literature can make great leaders, whether they are business leaders such as "Steve Jobs (who) had an "inexhaustible interest" in William Blake; Nike founder Phil Knight [who] so reveres his library that in it you have to take off your shoes and bow; and Harman Industries founder Sidney Harman (who) called poets "the original systems thinkers," quoting freely from Shakespeare and Tennyson" or great political leaders; I had forgotten that the 1953 Nobel prize in Literature went to Winston Churchill who was awarded the prize "for his mastery of historical and biographical description as well as for brilliant oratory in defending exalted human values". (http://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/literature/laureates/1953/)
To know that there are those in the business world who recognize that the value of being well-read is a true 21st century skill of great value to both those who lead as well as to those being led in the business world may put us in debt to those who recognize and articulate the values of literature beyond the awareness of non literature educators in curriculum development and decision making positions and in the communities where we dedicate our professional efforts.