"If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales." ~ Albert Einstein
Photo source: http://www.rif.org
In a recent article published on Forbes.com, columnist Erika Andersen wrote: "Reading fiction actually increases people's emotional intelligence: their accurate awareness of themselves and others, and their ability to create positive relationships with others based on managing their own reactions." The basis for her statement was an article her sister-in-law, Anne Kreamer, wrote for the Harvard Business Review, titled "The Business Case for Reading Novels." And in HER article, Kreamer referenced a Scientific American piece on cognitive psychologists discovering that reading fiction helps "readers understand not just the characters in books but human character in general."
The assertion that reading fiction in particular improves one's ability to read people is an intriguing one, but I would venture to say that reading in general boosts a person's emotional intelligence, thus enabling him or her to better comprehend both the verbal and nonverbal cues of others. And, of course, nothing beats temporarily setting aside the books to become an even sharper student of human behavior!