Reading Tolstoy Will…

… increase and develop your social and emotional skills.

Comment below.

A new study published this week in Science concludes that you may get something unexpected from reading great literary works: more finely-tuned social and emotional skills. Conducted by Emanuele Castano and David Comer Kidd (researchers in the psych department at the New School for Social Research), the study determined that readers of literary fiction (as opposed to popular fiction or non-fiction) find themselves scoring better on tests measuring empathy, social perception and emotional intelligence. In some cases, it took reading literary fiction for only a few minutes for test scores to improve.

The one thing reading War and Peace will do is make you either patient or … mercy, of course, reading the endless trips of those Russian novelists across frozen Siberian expanses on dark, wobbly, smokey, uncomfortable trains while pondering great thoughts and introspecting yourself and inspecting your train companions … Yes, of course, I agree. I can think, however, of other ways.

About Scot McKnight

Scot McKnight is a recognized authority on the New Testament, early Christianity, and the historical Jesus. McKnight, author of more than fifty books, is the Professor of New Testament at Northern Seminary in Lombard, IL.

  • Rick

    “The one thing reading War and Peace”
    Or under its original title: “War- What Is It Good For”
    – Elaine Benes

  • RJS4DQ

    Tolstoy? Now Tolkien or Dickens or Melville, these make more sense.

    (Actually Tolstoy was not among the texts they used in the study, nor were any I’ve listed. Wendell Berry was, though – in the category of literary fiction.)

  • NateW

    Recently I decided to start reading a lot of literary fiction (my English education in HS and college was really pretty awful) and this study doesn’t surprise me at all. I started out with “The Great Gatsby” and then “Heart of Darkness” by Joseph Conrad. Since then I’ve been hooked on Conrad and read “Nostromo” and now “Lor Jim.” Conrad’s grasp of human nature is simply astounding. After reading these things When I read the bible I see so much more depth. Infractions, everywhere I look in the world around me I see more depth and color.

    James Joyce is next!

  • Dianne P

    So Scot,
    are you (finally) going to read more (and more) fiction?