If you’ve read a non-fiction book in the last 6 months, you’re probably different from others in these 9 unique ways

Avatar by Isabel Cabrera | November 29, 2023, 8:36 pm

Reading a non-fiction book is no small feat. It’s an investment of time and brainpower, a conscious decision to step away from the fluff and dive deep into reality.

If you’ve finished a non-fiction book in the past six months, you’re likely not the same person as before. There’s something unique about you that sets you apart from others.

See, reading nonfiction tends to shape us differently. Whether it’s your perspective on life, your conversation skills or your problem-solving abilities, something in you changes.

Curious to know how? Here’s a little sneak peek into 9 distinctive ways that your plunge into non-fiction has made you different from the rest:

1) Enhanced critical thinking

Non-fiction books and critical thinking go hand in hand.

You see, when you delve into a non-fiction book, you’re not just absorbing information. You’re:

  • Actively engaging with the author’s perspective
  • Analyzing their arguments
  • Constructing your own responses to the ideas presented

This is a workout for your brain, akin to lifting weights at the gym. Over time, this mental exercise strengthens your critical thinking abilities.

What does this mean in practical terms? You’re likely to be more analytical in your day-to-day life. Whether it’s dissecting a news article or evaluating a business proposal, you’re likely to approach situations with a more skeptical and questioning mindset.

This isn’t common among everyone. Many people prefer to take things at face value and avoid the mental strain of critical analysis. But as a non-fiction reader, you’ve trained your mind differently.

Think about that the next time you find yourself dissecting an argument or questioning a popular opinion — it’s your non-fiction reading habit that has honed this skill!

2) Expanded worldview

Non-fiction books have this uncanny ability to transport us to different places, times, and perspectives. It’s like having a passport to anywhere, anytime, without stepping out of our comfort zones.

I remember when I read “Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind” by Yuval Noah Harari. In the course of a few hundred pages, I was transported from the dawn of humankind to the present day, all while sitting comfortably in my armchair.

This book didn’t just tell me facts – it changed the way I saw the world. It made me think about our society, our values, and our place in the universe in a completely different way.

That’s the beauty of non-fiction books. They can expose us to different cultures, ideas, and ways of life that we might not encounter otherwise.

This broadened perspective sets us apart from others who stick to their familiar surroundings and viewpoints. We become more open-minded, tolerant and understanding – all because we took the time to read a non-fiction book.

3) Improved memory

Frequent reading, particularly non-fiction, can actually enhance your memory. This has everything to do with the brain’s “use it or lose it” principle.

When you read a non-fiction book, you’re not just passively flipping through pages. You’re actively trying to remember and comprehend the information being presented. This requires focus and mental effort, which in turn strengthens your memory muscles.

In fact, a study published in the journal International Psychogeriatrics found a link between reading regularly and slower cognitive decline in old age. Participants who engaged in mentally stimulating activities like reading showed a slower rate of memory decline compared to those who didn’t.

So if you’ve been indulging in non-fiction lately, chances are your memory is sharper than most. And in today’s fast-paced, information-driven world, that’s a huge advantage.

4) Increased empathy

Aside from keeping you sharp cognitively, reading non-fiction also makes you more empathetic.

This is especially true of memoirs or historical accounts, which often involve stepping into someone else’s shoes.

As you journey along with the main character through the pages, you see the world through their eyes, understanding their thoughts, feelings and experiences.

This ability to understand and share the feelings of others is known as empathy. And non-fiction books are a powerful tool for nurturing it.

Whether it’s understanding the struggles of a political refugee or empathizing with the challenges faced by a successful entrepreneur, non-fiction places you right in the middle of real-life experiences.

This increased empathy can influence your interactions with people in your daily life. You become more understanding, more tolerant, and more compassionate.

What’s more, all of these add up to this next trait…

5) Better communication skills

Non-fiction books are, in essence, a form of communication. The author is trying to convey a message, present an argument or share information.

By reading non-fiction, you’re not just a passive recipient of this communication – you’re actively participating in it.

As you engage with the author’s ideas, you develop your own thoughts and responses. You learn to articulate your views, present counter-arguments, and structure your thoughts logically and coherently.

This process, in addition to developing empathy, naturally improves your communication skills. You become better at expressing yourself, at articulating complex ideas succinctly, and at engaging in meaningful discussions.

So if you’ve noticed that your communication skills have improved recently, your non-fiction reading habit might just be the reason why.

6) Enhanced patience and focus

In today’s fast-paced world, we are often in a rush, looking for quick fixes and instant gratification. But reading non-fiction requires patience. It’s not always easy to digest complex ideas or detailed historical accounts. It takes time and focus.

I’ve had times where I’ve had to re-read a paragraph multiple times to fully grasp the concept. At first, it was frustrating, but then I realized it was teaching me patience. It was teaching me to slow down, to focus, and to really engage with what I was reading.

This patience and focus extends beyond reading. It permeates into other aspects of life – at work when dealing with a complex project, or at home when trying to solve a problem.

Believe me, in this hyper-distracted digital age, that’s no mean feat!

7) A constant quest for knowledge

Non-fiction readers are, by nature, curious. They have a thirst for knowledge and a desire to understand the world around them.

Every non-fiction book you read feeds this curiosity, but it also sparks new questions. The more you learn, the more you realize how much there is to know. It’s a never-ending cycle of learning and questioning.

This constant quest for knowledge sets you apart. It drives you to keep learning, to keep growing, and to keep challenging yourself.

So, if you’ve been reading non-fiction books recently, you’re not just different from others – you’re on a lifelong journey of learning and discovery. And that’s something truly special.

8) Greater appreciation for reality

As a non-fiction reader myself, one of my favorite things about it is how it keeps me grounded. In contrast to fiction, which I enjoy reading for escape, non-fiction offers a different type of immersion – the complexities of the real world.

I admit that this can be challenging, especially when it comes to difficult topics like war, poverty, or abuse. But it also fosters a deep appreciation for reality.

And like it or not, that’s going to create a shift in your worldview. In your values. And ultimately, in your character.

9) A sense of accomplishment

Given all of these benefits we get from reading non-fiction, it’s not surprising that we end up with a sense of pride and accomplishment.

This is something every reader can resonate with. Because let’s be honest, finishing a non-fiction book is no easy task. It requires commitment, focus, and a genuine thirst for knowledge. So when you finally turn the last page, the feeling is incomparable.

There’s a sense of achievement, a satisfaction that you’ve gained something valuable – knowledge. You’ve not only committed your time and energy, but you’ve also expanded your understanding and perspective.

This sense of accomplishment is not something everyone experiences. It’s unique to those who dare to venture beyond their comfort zones, who choose to challenge themselves with thought-provoking ideas and complex realities.

So if you’ve recently finished a non-fiction book, give yourself a pat on the back. You’ve achieved something remarkable, something that sets you apart from the crowd.

Final thoughts

Reading a non-fiction book is more than just consuming information. It’s a journey of personal growth and transformation.

Every non-fiction book you read, every fact you assimilate, every perspective you consider is a stepping stone on your path to becoming a more informed, empathetic, and critical thinker.

As Francis Bacon, the renowned philosopher, once said, “Knowledge is power.” Reading non-fiction is an empowering experience, transforming not just your mind but your life.

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