Literary fiction has all kinds of benefits in the workplace

2 min readDec 20, 2022

One of my favorite interview questions is to talk about a recent book you have read. When hiring, I am looking for a curious mind and someone who is always learning.

The answers often surprise me. I often hope to hear something in the realm of management, business, or technology.

After listening to a recent episode of the Securities podcast, I am expanding beyond the obvious fields.

In the podcast, New York City professor Anne-Lisa Cohen, talks about the benefits from reading literary fiction. Non fiction is all about acquisition of knowledge. It is formulaic and often follows simple structure. Literary fiction on the other hand forces us to follow a more complex narrative. It makes us take the perspective of others, sometimes less favorable actors. Those two elements, being more open minded and lowering the need for simplicity, make us better decision makers.

Professor Cohen also mentions about the exposure to literature on the need to closure. People who have a high need for closure, want to make a decision quickly, based upon a few data points. On the others hand, a low need for closure is related to contemplating alternate viewpoints and sifting through information. Literary fiction leads to lower need for closure.

So Kafka, both Apache and Franz, are great answers to the question about a recent book you’ve read.


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