At five years old he decided he would be a heart doctor and nothing would stop him. Years passed, and he sought any opportunity that may train him. His coursework and extracurricular activities all fit some kind of medical theme: It paid off. He was accepted into a prestigious medical school and became an extremely successful cardiologist.

Few people have an unwavering ambition at such a young age. It would be fantastic if each of us had a lifetime of training for an available job, but without a specific career title/duty in mind, it is difficult to know what training will be most beneficial.

One thing is for certain – every job requires some sort of preparation. It may or may not look like specific experience or knowledge, but it certainly includes several personal qualities. These qualities can be learned, shaped and refined throughout our lives, yet we must be intentional about developing them positively. One of the best ways to cultivate a new skill or prepare for a new job is by reading quality literature. Here are just a few of the traits that reading a good book can help you develop.


Whether it is a non-fiction or fiction novel, there is inspiration to be found. Characters that overcome big obstacles; history that unfolds in amazing ways; ideas that come from understanding a new culture, technology or time period; all of these things can inspire new thoughts and challenge held beliefs. Life can get bland, and employers want to see passion in employees.


Reading quality literature allows us to enter into another world and or mindset without leaving our couch. We can gain a slight understanding of what it was like to hide from Nazi soldiers or how it feels to stand on the banks of the Nile River. When we can perceive life through a story, we are able to see a bigger picture of what lead to a character’s beliefs and understandings. Reading gives us the practice of putting ourselves in another’s shoes and imagining what it might be like. This is an essential skill to have in the workplace and in life, because we are constantly dealing with others and their stories.


Although it takes commitment to read every page in a thick book, reading develops perseverance beyond just that. An avid reader knows that not all stories start off exciting and not all trauma signifies a tragedy. By gaining a broad perspective on the world through reading, one can develop their sense of persistence to push through the mundane and stick around through the challenges. All circumstances can be seen as part of a bigger story that we are characters in – even past training that has nothing to do with your new job.

If you’re looking for a great way to prepare for a new job or help advance the one you already have, you may need to look no further than your bookshelf.

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Allison Struber is an educator, writer, military spouse and mother of three. Read more of her writings at