Reading should be an important part of anyone’s routine. There’s plenty of people offering advice to this effect. And plenty of people in marketing or business publishing their best book lists for 2016.
The one thing I find oddly absent from many, however, is a good slice of fiction.
There’s lots of Seth Godin, lots of David Oglivy, and a smidge of Daniel Kahneman. Lots of books on marketing methods, self-improvement, and models of success.
But I cant believe an effective reading smorgasbord wouldn’t contain any fiction.
Basing your reading plan on non-fiction gives you lots of exposure to facts, things learned, paths well trodden. Important aspects.
But fiction gives you access to 2 important things: 1) the (possible) future and 2) worlds you aren’t usually exposed to.
Trying to understand the future is very hard. Rather than trying to rationalise it to death, we should encourage creative thought on what is possible. As the splendid Tom Goodwin would say, we need to teach people how to dream.
And we all tend to spend too much time in our insular echo chambers. Fiction is the chance to dip your feet in the worlds of other. Develop empathy for others experience, walk a mile in their shoes and then get a taxi back so you can return their shoes, you thief.
So, this year, try mixing it up.
“That’s what fiction is for. It’s for getting at the truth when the truth isn’t sufficient for the truth.”