Matter of Fiction with the Business Community

Matter of Fiction with the Business Community

Matter of Fiction with the Business community first, we’re all supposedly so busy that we apparently don’t have time to read. A 2019 Pew Research Center survey found that a staggering 27% of American adults had not read a book in the past year. Secondly, when we do make time to read, we tend to go for books that we believe may justify the time we are spending on them – that is, nonfiction business books that could offer some useful conclusions for us to use in our professional lives. As a result, there is a severe deficiency in fiction reading.
Ultimately, reading gives us one-on-one access to some of the best minds of the past two millennia. What makes time better spent: an hour with Charlie Munger, or an hour at a meeting where we really don’t need to be? Framed in this way, the answer to the question should be fairly straightforward. If we need more conviction that time spent reading is time well spent, look at how much our most successful leaders read.
Now on the second issue, the issue of fiction, there has been considerably less discussion within the broader business community as to why there is a growing reluctance to engage with the imaginative genre. Worse yet, people seem genuinely embarrassed when they admit to reading fiction, as if, in doing so, they have relaxed or prioritized something frivolous over something with attached “value”. As an example, when I am interviewing potential new team members at our company, one of my favorite questions is: “What is the last book you read?” If the answer to my question is a work of fiction, it almost always comes with a warning of “Well, my guilty pleasure is …” or “Just for fun, I read …”

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