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What is literature good for

A long time ago I had this conversation with one of my friends. That kind of guy packed with intelligence, good character and willpower.

Me: It amazes me how come you know all this stuff without reading a book in your entire life.

Him: You got me wrong there. I didn’t read any literature but only technical books, “How to” books.

Me: Why? You don’t like literature, or what? Found something wrong with it?

Him: I can’t give you a straight answer, but in general, at least for me, is a waste of time. You know me: I’m more like the pragmatic type. But if you feel it’s good for you, it probably is.

Me: If it’s good for me, probably it’s good for you, right?

Him: Ok, give me some reasons. Why do you think literature is “good”.

Me: Well, it’s improving your vocabulary, makes you more expressive, teaches you about the proper speech flow.

Him: Yes, of course, I admit that, but it’s not an essential outcome, don’t you think?

Somehow, he was right. If you’re a developer, construction engineer or whatever, what’s in it for you with all this expressivity? After all, is hard enough to keep it up with your industry knowledge so it makes kind of sense to keep an eye on the most important things.

I was so frustrated by going with the flow and read a pile of literature in my adolescence that I needed to search or invent a great outcome out of it. So here it is: literature is also about improving you social wisdom. Not only about emotional intelligence but character intelligence. It offers you a variety of behavioural maps full of choices and consequences, it offers you the ability to see social patterns and, what’s most important, to anticipate them. Like in the game of chess. The more you anticipate, the more winning chances you have. In short, literature improves your political abilities.

Yes, you’re a developer or construction engineer but often you need to negotiate the best solution with your coworkers, explain, empathise with them, understand their weaknesses, etc.

Success always comes with political abilities.

Photo credits:

Adrian Costea