Is Reading Books a Waste of Time?

Reading a book can seem like a tedious task. The average length of a book is usually around 400 pages, and it takes a lot of time, effort, and dedication to finish. You might be wondering whether it is a waste of time to spend hours reading.

Reading books is not a waste of time. Reading fictional books helps reduce stress and can lower your blood pressure, while non-fictional books increase your knowledge and offer solutions to various problems we experience in real life. It also strengthens the brain and can increase your lifespan.

In this article, you will discover whether reading a book is worth it, the benefits of reading fictional and non-fictional books, and how to decide which book to read to add value to your life.

Fiction vs. Nonfiction: The Benefits of Both

Books fall into two categories– fiction and non-fiction. Fictional books are imaginative, and non-fictional books are based on facts. Fictional books are created through imagination and can or cannot be inspired from real life. Non-fictional books are factual and informative.

Why Is Reading Fiction Books Beneficial?

An average novel is between 60,000 to 100,000 words. It takes a lot of time to read that many words, so why even bother?

Reading fiction is beneficial because it forces us to infer the meaning behind the character’s actions and what we can learn from them. This helps us to improve our critical thinking abilities, an essential skill that helps us make sense of the world around us.

Though reading fiction is often viewed as a leisure activity with the sole purpose of entertaining, it also teaches you life lessons that you can implement in real life.

A great example is the Harry Potter series. The characters in Harry Potter, through their stories, have inspired their readers and taught them integral lessons about life and death. While this series is based in an imaginary wizarding world, it teaches us about:

  • Leadership
  • Friendship
  • Sacrifice
  • Loyalty
  • Bravery
  • The importance of community
  • Etc.

Why Is Reading Non-Fiction Books Beneficial?

Non-fiction books have a lot of genres, including the following:

  • Biographies
  • Memoirs
  • Self-help
  • History
  • How-to guides
  • Cookbooks
  • Philosophy

All of these genres are valuable and give us practical tips. Unlike fictional books where you have to read between the lines to derive value from them, non-fictional books are pretty straightforward.

The main benefit of reading non-fiction books is that they will provide you with A to Z knowledge about your chosen topic and new information that could help you shape your opinions and change how you view the world.

You can easily apply the learnings from non-fictional books to areas in your life that you wish to work on in a practical way.

Non-fiction books have the solution for almost every problem. If someone is looking to learn about personal finance and how to budget their income efficiently, there are plenty of books that can help them be financially literate.

If someone is interested to learn more about how they can improve their mental health, plenty of non-fiction books in the self-help category can assist with that.

Benefits of Reading Books

Reading books can teach you valuable lessons. Most successful CEOs read one book a week. This is no surprise when you think about all the benefits reading offers. Let’s look at some of them.

Improves Brain Connectivity

In an interview with Business Insider, Dr. Sabrina Romanoff, a clinical psychologist based in New York, mentioned that reading generates neurons in our brain. These neurons increase the old and new neural connections, which help us process information quickly. This skill is handy in academic and work environments.

Saves Time

An author spends a lot of time and energy researching for their books. It takes a lot of years to interview, gather research, and then present all this information in a compact 400-page book. You get the author’s expertise in one book as a reader. If you were to go and research the topic single handedly, it would take you a longer time than reading a book.

Helps With Stress

Research has shown that reading fictional books helps reduce stress and is more effective than other activities like going on a walk or listening to music. When you are reading a book, your heart rate slows down, your muscles relax, bringing down the stress levels by as much as 68%.

Another research showed that simply 30 minutes of reading reduces your blood pressure and heart rate.

Increases Your Lifespan

A study found that those who read survived for two years longer than those who didn’t read. It was conducted for 12 years, and 3,636 adults participated, and they found out that people who read longer than three and half hours every week are more likely to live longer than those who didn’t read at all.

Choosing the Right Book To Read

Choosing the right book to read depends on your interest and current needs. Fictional books are great if you’re looking for an escape and want to relax. Non-fictional books are good if you’re looking to expand your knowledge about a particular subject.

These days you don’t need to go to the bookstore or library to browse through hundreds of books. You can browse online through Amazon’s Kindle. You can also follow book reviewers on YouTube and Instagram.

Reading a book’s blurb can help you decide if you are interested in reading it. It’s always a good idea to read book reviews on sites like Goodreads and Amazon. Reading about other people’s opinions of the book can help make your decision easier.


Reading books is not a waste of time for two important reasons:

  • Reading books strengthens our brain, reduces our stress, increases our lifespan, and lowers blood pressure. These benefits are important when it comes to maintaining good health.
  • Fictional books teach us life lessons through the stories of fictional characters, and non-fiction books offer us straightforward solutions to real-life problems. It provides us with facts and solutions about a specific subject.

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