Speaking of books or reading, one question that I often get asked is — do you still read fiction? On replying yes, the next question generally would be — how do you find time to read fiction or why do you read fiction? The answer is pretty simple — I read fiction because I like it. I read fiction because there is nothing more enriching than a good story. I read fiction because:
Fiction reveals truth that reality obscures — Ralph Waldo Emerson
But isn’t non-fiction a wiser choice? Isn’t non-fiction better for knowledge? When we have such limited time available now, shouldn’t we give priority to learning? Oh yes absolutely, non fictions are great, I love them too. I generally alternate between reading a fiction and non-fiction book, but when I have limited time or on very heavy work days, I actually end up reading fiction more. I totally agree that non-fictions are powerhouses for knowledge but are they better? Are non-fictions the only source of learning? I am not so sure. Seriously, neither the reader-me nor the working-professional-me can decide which one is better? It’s like asking whether:
Imagination is better than Knowledge?
Empathy is better than Experience?
Creativity is better than Structure?
Cognition is better than Intelligence?
Storytelling is better than Research?
Can you decide which one is better for you? I definitely can not.
Be it empathy or intelligence — at least I need both to survive in my professional as well as personal life.
As per me, all these skills are important, the degree of importance may vary depending upon your profession or your life stage but there is no science or arts that can prove that one genre of book is better than the other for mental growth or which type of book one should prioritize to utilize the reading time more prudently. A good book is a good book, it doesn’t matter whether fiction or non-fiction. I have at times learnt a great deal about empathy by being able to relate to a fictional character and at times have been amazed by the insights that I could gain by going through a good biography. So, instead of worrying too much on what kind of books to read, I would say — just read a good book, of any genre that you enjoy reading. It’s much better than the skimp reading we do on internet mindlessly throughout the day :-).
What did I read recently? Quite many interesting ones but the two books from my recent reading list that I liked a lot are:
- Non-fiction: Start With Why by Simon Sinek. I have been a great fan of Simon Sinek’s TED Talks and hence I picked up this book on impulse. I am glad I picked it up. While you may think its a leadership book but it’s a great read for almost any professional at any career stage, be it marketing, product, design or business development. It encourages you to put “why” before “how” and “what” — something that many of us lack in our regular approach. If we know the “why”, many things start falling in place automatically.
- Fiction: Rise of Kali by Anand Neelakantan: Very interestingly even this one answers and addresses many “why”s of Mahabharata. This book narrates the story from Duryodhan’s point of view and gives you amazing insights on the reasons behind actions of the vanquished. In case you liked Asura by this author, I think you are going to love this one too. Oh by the way, on my last fiction reco for “Remains of the day by Kazuo Ishiguro”, I was being asked by a friend if he can read it or is too “womanish”. Lol, I seriously don’t know what would be the parameter to define a too womanish read but Kazuo Ishiguro books are readers’ delight, be it a man or a woman reader. If this helps, Rise of Kali is all about Duryodhana’s side of story and presents insights like “manipulation” and “influence” in a story format. Hope this helps 🙂
These days, I am trying to read on user psychology. So, if you have any great recommendation for me, please drop it in the comment section below.
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