For thirty-six years I read only fiction. I could never understand why anyone would want to spend free time reading about reality.
And then I became a business owner.
And it didn’t kill me.
I enjoyed it. Instead of looking for an escape in my reading, I turned to ways to fill in my knowledge gap. I realized there was so much I didn’t know. How could I spend a moment on anything other than nonfiction?
So I dedicated a year to it. I figured I’d try one year of reading nonfiction. In 2016, it’s all I read. I read books about:
the armed forces and military history
nuclear energy companies
the body’s adrenal system
And I loved it. If you want to know more, connect with me on GoodReads.
I have no desire to return to my fiction roots (although I will always love Hemingway with the fondness saved for a first love).
Here’s why my heart belongs to nonfiction:
Why I’m a Nonfiction Convert
- As a marketing writer for businesses and entrepreneurs, I’m required to know a little about everything but project a strong knowledge of whatever industry I’m representing. I can get some of that through research, and I do, but it also helps to read a wide variety of books and articles.
- It makes me a better storyteller. Reading nonfiction and pulling pieces from history makes me a vastly better storyteller and gives me a much broader range of appeal than if I was doing this all on my own.
- I fill in the gaps I didn’t learn in school. I had a great education but no professor has time to cover everything. There is so much I didn’t realize was missing from my schooling.
- I have a more well-rounded view of history and cultures than I did before. I see much deeper connections and have a broader understanding that I can now use in current events.
- It keeps my mind occupied and thinking about the world in a way that fiction seldom did. It puts things in context and gives them perspective.
- I used to think only fiction writers told good stories but there are an amazing amount of incredible stories that light up nonfiction books. Truth can be vastly more interesting than fiction.
I’m not saying you have to give up fiction, or that people who read fiction aren’t reading great books, but for me — my personal growth and professional development, have increased enormously over the past year and a half reading solely nonfiction.
If you hate nonfiction, try it. You might be surprised at what you’re able to absorb and how it affects your daily life.