Reading fiction helps your career, but reading poetry helps more

We have known for a while that people who are most successful in business read fiction.  And people who read fiction have more empathy, no matter where they land on the gender or personality trait spectrum.

It’s interesting to me that genre fiction — sci-fi, mystery, and political satire, for example — do not increase our empathy, and exposure to nonfiction correlates with loneliness and lack of social support.

But what about poetry?

It’s hard to find examples of famous writers of fictional narrative who also have flourishing careers in the business world. For the most part, novelists have a day job and jump at the chance to quit that day job as soon as they can reliably support themselves writing. Yet the world of poetry is full of writers who had long careers in business. T.S. Eliot worked in banking. After Wallace Stevens won the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry.

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