10 Reasons Why Men Should Read Books

About twice as many women as men read books. Come on, guys. Let’s step it up.

Of course, men are just as capable of reading books as women are. Maybe we just need a little reminder about why reading books is important.

Here are 10 good reasons.

1. Reading makes you smarter. According to Anne E. Cunningham, a professor of cognition and development at the University of California, Berkeley, those who read have higher GPAs, higher intelligence and greater knowledge than those who don’t. What’s more, she found that reading keeps you sharp as you age.

2. Reading improves your memory. It increases neuronal current output, creating new synapses in the brain and opening new areas to memory. Scientists have found that reading can lower levels of beta amyloid, a brain protein involved in Alzheimer’s, by keeping the mind stimulated.

3. Reading makes you a more interesting person. It expands you. “A great book should leave you with many experiences, and slightly exhausted at the end,” said the novelist William Styron. “You live several lives while reading.”

4. Reading makes you more empathetic. In a study at the University of Buffalo, researchers found that the stories we read, including the characters we get to know and learn with, help us understand different ways of life. In a study conducted in the Netherlands, researchers showed that people who were “emotionally transported” by a work of fiction experienced a boost in empathy. By reading about people from places unfamiliar to you or whose lives are unlike yours, you become more tolerant. “The enemy of prejudice is travel,” Mark Twain said. Reading is a form of travel.

5. Reading improves your conversational skills. To express yourself, you need words. The more books you read, the more words you’ll be exposed to. Over time, these words will find a place in your vocabulary. You’ll also better understand what others are saying. Thus, by reading, you can become both a better speaker and a better listener.

6. Reading broadens your worldview. Through books, you’re exposed to different ideas, opinions and ways of thinking. This broadens your perspective and causes you to examine your beliefs and search for truth. “Whenever you read a good book,” says Vera Nazarian, “somewhere in the world a door opens to allow in more light.”

7. Reading improves your writing skills. Reading well-written work has a marked effect on your own writing. It raises your game. Even the greatest writers learn how to craft prose by reading the works of others. And no matter your profession, strong writing skills give you an edge.

8. Reading improves your focus. In our busy lives, especially with social media, we’re torn in many different directions. By contrast, when you read a book, all your attention is focused on what you’re reading. Your eyes and thoughts are immersed in the details of the story. This improves your concentration and focus.

9. Reading improves your critical thinking skills. Reading a mystery novel, for example, sharpens your mind. It forces you to solve problems. Reading requires you to think and process information in a way that watching TV or skimming the Internet can’t.

10. Reading reduces stress. According to research conducted by the University of Sussex, reading is the best way to relax. Even six minutes of reading can be enough to reduce stress levels by 68 percent. That’s better than listening to music or taking a walk. “Losing yourself in a book is the ultimate relaxation,” says Dr. David Lewis, the cognitive neuropsychologist who conducted the research.

So don’t hold off any longer. Buy a new book or open an old one. Rediscover the joy of reading and be an even better man.


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