Does reading books really make someone smarter?

Books!! - Books are good for the Brain!!
United States
April 16, 2010 2:36am CST
When I was young I was always told that reading books made people smarter. I have found that this would include anything except for magazines, manga, and comics. In other words novels, which can be in any genre can increase one's vocabulary. It might also lend new insights into whatever it is one is reading. I agree that reading books really does make someone smarter!!
9 people like this
69 responses
@CJscott (4195)
• Portage La Prairie, Manitoba
16 Apr 10
I agree eddy, but I think Magazines, manga, and comics can be included in this. What ever you do that requires energy from your brain, makes your brain work harder, thereby making you smarter. I too prefer fantasy/science fiction, I also like personal development, and biographies. If you are interested in living a successful life, I would recommend reading a Biography of a successful person each month, I got that from a Successful person that does that. With Appreciation.
2 people like this
• United States
16 Apr 10
That is an interesting suggestion. Thank you. What do you mean by personal development? I have heard from my professor that when one watches TV the brain actually flatlines, meaning that the brain is not really functioning. This is why sometimes, as a joke it shows people in front of the TV like zombies. My professor does not even have a TV. A tip my professor gave me is to not watch TV for a month and see how many more friends one will make, because they will be so bored that they'll go out and make new friends. Maybe we should try each other's advice out? Just a thought. =)
1 person likes this
@CJscott (4195)
• Portage La Prairie, Manitoba
16 Apr 10
By personal development, I mean, Self Help. How to be more confident, speak better, relate better, sell better, just be a better person. Things like Think and Grow Rich - Napoleon Hill, I participate in a weekly study group for this check it out - http://30daycleanse.com, How to Win Friends and Influence People, The Quick and Easy Way to Effective Speaking - Dale Carnegie. The Ultimate Gift - Jim Stovall, The Secret - Rhonda Bynes, - The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari, I forget who wrote this, Go Givers Sell More - Bob Burg and is Friend. And other books similar to that, about being a better person. I have a TV, my son uses to watch Bob the Builder. I play video games occasionally. To get out and make more friends from boredom, I would have to give up the internet. I know what your Prof means by the Brain FlatLining. Not watching Television, has really improved my life already, in fact. With Appreciation
@Maggiepie (7816)
• United States
18 Apr 10
EDDY: Nonono! Your professor's incorrect! As with any medium, it depends on how you use it! One no more "flat lines" watching a play or a concert on TV than would do so watching the same play or concert on a stage! The mind absorbs & analyzes & categorizes info the same way! It's the old "GIGO" concept (GIGO is the acronym for "Garbage In, Garbage Out, a comp-geek term which is just the modern version of, "You reap what you sow."). So, if you watch too much drek that has no value, "mind candy," your brain will rot, but if you watch something that makes your mind work, your brain won't. Yes, the 2 media do affect the brain differently, but flat lining? Noooo. This is just logic, Eddy. Professors like to think they know everything, but they don't; degrees & tenure don't guarantee perfection.... Always, always, always, as Theodore Sturgeon was fond of saying, "Question Authority!" Trust your mind. Maggiepie POST THAT TOPIC THAT WON'T FIT ANYWHERE ELSE IN Open Mike!
@jb78000 (15163)
18 Apr 10
i think it depends how you read, if you read actively and think about what you are reading then yes. it can also be passive entertainment though, which is nice but is not going to improve your thinking abilities.
1 person likes this
@Maggiepie (7816)
• United States
18 Apr 10
"Read passively?" I'm confused. I have no idea how it's even possible for a person not to be involved in what one is reading! I can't do that! How is that achieved?? I'm like the title character, Jane Eyre, who, as I recall (it has been many decades since I read it), would become so involved in whatever she was reading that others, as a prank, would stack furniture around her to see how long it took her to notice, giggling because she seldom did! It's the same when I'm writing. One summer long ago, I wrote a story set in the Antarctic, & was parked in front of a window unit AC on full blast for inspiration, shivering, though once I got going, I didn't notice. I wrote for hours without coming out of "The Zone," as artists & writers term it. I actually napped for a bit (cold makes me sleepy), & when I awoke again, discovered I had kept on writing! The penmanship was wobbly, but I could read it! I read the same way, utterly absorbed. Maggiepie POST THAT TOPIC THAT WON'T FIT ANYWHERE ELSE IN Open Mike!
@jb78000 (15163)
20 Apr 10
everybody i think gets involved/absorbed in what they are reading. however, especially if you read a lot, you have probably noticed the difference between reading something that makes you think and reading something as relaxing entertainment. to explian, lets see, perhaps like the difference between watching a sitcom when you are tired and watching a challenging film when you are alert. i don't think the actual thing being read/watched is necessarily that important, although some are certainly 'easier' than others.
@mezulu (166)
• United States
16 Apr 10
Not only does reading expand your vocabulary, but it also exercises your brain! New knowledge can be gained fairly easily, your words-per-minute speed will increase, your logic skills will increase, your ability to assess a situation will increase, your reaction time will increase, as well as many other skills and traits. The more you read, the smarter you will become!
1 person likes this
• United States
16 Apr 10
Wow! Do you have a source for this new knowledge of the affects of reading? I would love to look it up. My favorite genres are science fiction and fantasy genres. Do you have a favorite genre?
17 Apr 10
Hi mezulu, Wow! You've already said almost all of the positive effects of reading books. Very well said. Happy myLotting!
@nangisha (3502)
• Indonesia
18 Apr 10
I think it true. You are what you read. Reading makes your brain work faster and develop your imagination in the same time. Your brain will record and analysis it and make it become knowledge, when you need it your brain will give it to you, maybe when needed new idea. Anything makes your brain stay awake and work it will be really good for us. I think magazines, manga, and comics also makes you smarter especially in art and creativity.
1 person likes this
@Maggiepie (7816)
• United States
18 Apr 10
If we "are what we read," then what were we before writing was invented?" Just an idle query... Maggiepie POST THAT TOPIC THAT WON'T FIT ANYWHERE ELSE IN Open Mike!
@balaman (147)
• India
18 Apr 10
Reading is very good habit - a hobby i can say, can read lot of good books were we gain knowledge and increase our vocabulary and collect new stuff & ideas. But novels will not help/support grammar.
@Maggiepie (7816)
• United States
18 Apr 10
That depends on the novel. The rule is, when in dialogue, anything goes, but when not in dialogue, for the sake of clarity if not style, the author must use proper grammar. I certainly do. There are a few instances in which this rule may be bent or even broken, but less experienced authors shouldn't try it. One must know & internalize the rules before breaking them, because otherwise, the narrative & continuity will suffer in direct proportion to the author's inexperience & talent! Maggiepie POST THAT TOPIC THAT WON'T FIT ANYWHERE ELSE IN Open Mike!
@bellis716 (4804)
• United States
18 Apr 10
I was a farm girl out in the country, miles from anyone, no phone, no TV, and the radio was reserved for the national news, weather report, and farm market report. Books were my window to the world. They increased my vocabulary while showing me that there was a world out there where everyone didn't wear overalls and trade eggs for grocery staples like coffee, sugar and flour.
1 person likes this
@Maggiepie (7816)
• United States
18 Apr 10
I was in your situation. I couldn't wait to get away & see the world. I did, & now I realize that being rural doesn't necessarily mean one is ignorant of what's "out there," or even that one has never traveled. While I've been out of the country a few times & loved virtually every minute of it, I've learned to appreciate country/small town life, & had I the wherewithal to live that way again, I'd love to. Don't conflate the "simple life" with stupidity or ignorance. That would be a sad mistake. The stereotypes do exist, but they aren't the overall reality. Life taught me that. Maggiepie POST THAT TOPIC THAT WON'T FIT ANYWHERE ELSE IN Open Mike!
@mflower2053 (3227)
• United States
16 Jun 10
I believe you do become smarter from reading different types of books. I love to read and wish that my kids shared that with me. Now a days I don't have as much time to read as I did before but if there was a really good book out there I would love to read it. I am sure there are many. I also love the smell of books. My favorite place to go is barnes and nobles. The smell of new books and coffee are so good. Walking through all the different sections of books. I wish I could stay there all day long with no worries and just read a book.
1 person likes this
@kellys3ps (3726)
• United States
18 Apr 10
I think any kind of reading makes people smarter.
1 person likes this
@Maggiepie (7816)
• United States
18 Apr 10
Assuming one already possesses a healthy brain to begin with, yes, it makes one smarter. The IQ & reasoning powers are raised by reading--measurably so! By the way, don't be so hasty to dismiss the value of a really good magazine, manga & comic! The brain, when learning, actually physically changes (this doesn't happen with "passive" media, such as TV, because the brain isn't actively engaged on the same deep level as it is when reading). Even "light" reading forces new views & new connections in the brain. If you're reading something, you're learning something, & if you're learning, you're getting smarter! The best part of reading to improve one's intelligence is that--Alzheimers or other dementia diseases aside--once one achieves higher learning levels, so long as one keeps reading, it never stops increasing your one's wattage! Have fun! Maggiepie HAVE A TOPIC THAT WON'T quiiiite FIT INTO JUST ONE CATEGORY? POST IT IN Open Mike!
@jb78000 (15163)
18 Apr 10
you might have a point about certain magazines and manga/comics in general sometimes being thought-provoking. which magazines were you thinking of?
1 person likes this
@Maggiepie (7816)
• United States
18 Apr 10
Well, I like several scientific, historic (think Smithsonian or National Geographic, e.g.) & general magazines (think New Yorker or Saturday Evening Post, etc.), as well as political ones. I'm especially fond of Archeology Today & Biblical Archeology Review. I'm too poor to subscribe as I once did, but I still have to occasionally find homes for the ones I get from friends; they pile up so swiftly! Why do you ask? Have you a good one to recommend? Maggiepie POST THAT TOPIC THAT WON'T FIT ANYWHERE ELSE IN Open Mike!
@jb78000 (15163)
18 Apr 10
you can get national geographic online free. my favourite magazine is of course private eye, you don't get it in the states though. mixture of satire and extremely good investigative journalism. new scientist is good, so is nature but more technical. if you are short of magazines then try your local library - they should have copies you can read. also they sometimes sell off big stacks for almost nothing when they have to clear space. for example i got, i think 20 copies of nature for £1 once, and the same number of photography magazines. sorry. meant to answer 'heat magazine'
1 person likes this
@fifileigh (3620)
• United States
22 Apr 10
reading anything will improve ur mind and make u more educated, even magazines, comics, and graphic novels. they all improve ur vocabulary and opens ur mind to different things in the world. so, pick something u love to read, no matter what it is, and have fun. when i was younger, i preferred to read magazines, like highlights and tiger beat. in my teenage years, i got into fashion magazines. in college, i got more into newspapers and other magazines, mostly for research purposes. after college, i got into classic novels and graphic novels.
• United States
22 Apr 10
That sounds nice. That's cool how you were exposed to many types of reading materials. I read manga (graphic novels), novels, and whatever homework related readings my classes assign. Can TV also increase one's vocabulary or is it just reading materials?
• Singapore
16 Apr 10
yeah it does .reading book is useful to all of us it gains us more knowledge and beware of things i like to read book but reading magazine is also good indeed that is financial magazines and newspaper which can help us up to date ,i read them everyday and it is useful in some case .
• Bulgaria
16 Apr 10
I think that books really can make your knowledge bases more, but book couldn't make you more intelligent, which depends on your DNA
@fsll518 (304)
• China
16 Apr 10
Yes, I agree... one individual's intelligence or capacity is limited, but he/she could alway improve by learning from books. If only they make use of the knowledge and experience from their reading, then they certainly show more intelligence in some situations.
• United States
22 Apr 10
Sometimes books have lessons or a purpose to why the book was written. The more books that are read the more lessons will be learned by the reader. In that regard people really can transfer the knowledge they learn from books and apply it to real life.
@Dumpertaker (1188)
16 Apr 10
Yes, reading books can make you smarter because you can glean knowledge from the texts you are reading, increasing your education. I sadly miss reading books, my concentration is not up to it these days...
@redhotpogo (4427)
• United States
16 Apr 10
yeah would make you use you're imagination more, get your thoughts going, exercise your brain to get you open to new ideas. i would say reading can make you more intelligent.
• United States
16 Apr 10
Hopefully one's imagination does not run wild with the book one is reading. It is good to imagine oneself in the same world that they are reading about. One, must have their roots here in reality, otherwise they might get lost within their own motivation.
• Varanasi, India
10 Apr 17
Reading books does make people smarter. Not only smarter it makes us more wiser than others. Through books we come to know about so many characters and so many places. Books are a magical escape!
@sheetalnr (588)
• India
26 Jan 13
I am a firm believer of reading good quality books which enhances ones character. If smarter means identifying a persons character & enhancing it, then yes, reading books help you achieve it.
@zapatee (477)
• Philippines
19 Oct 10
i love reading books, and yes, they really help with making us understand a lot of things. they expand our vocabulary, grammar, etc. but i also believe that to be smart we also have to experience real life and learn from it. we get these experiences every day, but the learnings always come in different ways. how we absorb and use those learnings are equally important as reading and understanding what books tell us.
@daiweian06 (1405)
19 Oct 10
In reading books you learn a lot of things. And sometimes you can relate you own experience on what is written in the magazine or book. At first my interest is magazine but now a days reading nutritional books.
• Philippines
14 Sep 10
Not all books makes people smarter, but definitely all of them makes people knowledgeable. It helps people broaden their horizons in different matters, depending on what kind of books they are reading. It also increases the chances of ones capacity to understand things better since reading requires comprehension.
@ifa225 (11092)
• Indonesia
12 Sep 10
yes it does. i agree with you. reading gives you more enlightenment. you can dig more new information, more point of view, and more unique of people. u also know that there is zillion way to solve one same problem by reading books.