Self-Help Books Won’t Cut It

voltaire fiction literatureI have been struggling for a while to figure out what’s wrong with reading only self-help and how-to books that spoon feed you with all kinds of personal growth advice without reading any fiction. Finally, it dawned on me – non-fiction is great but it’s seriously lacking in one department: it contributes nothing to your imagination. Imagining and dreaming about things is one of the traits that distinguish us from other living beings and makes our existence presumably more refined.

If you don’t take the time to imagine participating in an exciting travel adventure or a wild romantic affair through reading fiction and processing what you are reading while trying to put yourself in the author or his protagonist’s shoes, will it hurt your ability to enjoy the world and what it has to offer? I believe it will. Many of your great ideas will be born from learning about the great ideas of others. But if you are not exposed to those ideas, much of your own intellectual potential will remain dormant.

I sincerely hope that our obsession with quick fixes for every aspect of life will not make us completely forget how to appreciate classic literature and other kinds of expository writing.

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