Last semester, I asked students in a professional program to read fiction as part of an experiment. I wanted to see if fiction would prompt discussions relevant to leadership/management in new or different ways than when we read more traditional reading assignments–like a textbook directly related to the topic.
The results were fascinating and heartening. It turns out that when smart people read and discuss fiction together, the conversations are rich, nuanced, thoughtful, and generous. The students had no trouble applying what they read to contexts beyond the page.
If you are a reader of fiction, file this under duh. We’ve always known what wonderful things fiction can do for us.
If you want to read more about fiction in business/communication classes, I just co-wrote an article for Harvard Business Publishing Inspiring Minds.