This is why reading more makes you a nicer person

  • Marie Claire is supported by its audience. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn commission on some of the items you choose to buy.
  • We KNEW it

    Words by Jadie Troy-Pryde

    Readers, unite – there’s actually a really brilliant side effect to your ability to devour books.

    You may have already worked your way through all of these wonderful books (and if you haven’t, add them to your Amazon basket immediately), and aside from the pure joy of leafing through a satisfying page turner, what other perks could there possibly be?

    Well it turns out that those of us who read are much more likely to be nicer people.

    That’s right, get out the smug smile that’s usually reserved for moments when you can boast that you actually read the book way before the film was made.

    A study from Kingston University asked 123 participants whether they preferred reading books, watching TV shows or seeing plays before testing their interpersonal skills. The results showed that the bookworms were more empathetic than their non-reading counterparts.


    ‘Exposure to fiction relates to a range of empathetic abilities,’ researchers at the British Psychological Society said last week.

    ‘Engaging with fictional prose and comedy in particular could be key to enhancing people’s empathetic abilities.’

    But it doesn’t stop there. According to a different study by eHarmony, there are certain books that will enhance your attractiveness.

    The research – based only on information from heterosexual individuals – showed that people looking for love through an online dating site got a lot more messages if they mentioned the following books:

    Men’s messages increased when they said they enjoyed…

    1. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (+36% more messages)
    2. 1984 (+21%)
    3. World War II (+16%)
    4. The Da Vinci Code (+5%)

    Women’s messages increased when they said they enjoyed…

    1. The Hunger Games (+44% more messages)
    2. The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo (+31%)
    3. A Game of Thrones (+30%)
    4. To Kill a Mockingbird (+21%)
    5. Pride and Prejudice (+18%)
    6. Harry Potter series (+16%)
    7. Lord of the Rings series (+10%)

    So there you have it – readers are nicer and more attractive. We knew it.

    Reading now

    Popular entertainment stories

    Popular Life stories