Reading books is not only an effective way how to improve analytical skills, it’s also fun! Find out what analytical skills are and how you can improve them by reading fiction.
Definition Analytical Skills
Analytical skills are defined as the ability to visualize, conceptualize, and solve both simple and complex problems using all information available. Analytical skills can include a wide array of different skills, but all of them are necessary for critical thinking and adept problem solving. We use these skills every day, from riding a bike to planning an event. When you learn how to improve analytical skills, it can help in some of the following ways.
Wondering how to improve analytical skills! Just pick up a book! Reading fiction is not only an effective way to improve analytical skills, it's also an enjoyable one.Click To Tweet
In order to lead others, effective communication and the ability to empathize are essential. Reading fiction can help improve these analytical skills in particular.
The better you are at visualizing yourself in your team members’ positions, the better leader or team player you will be. If you can effectively empathize, you can identify strengths and weaknesses in that particular person’s abilities and assign tasks that best suit him or her. Strong communication will help you express and articulate goals and what you expect from your team.
You should also be open to unpredictability and new ideas that may improve the task or process. Adapting to additional information is a necessary part of problem-solving. A study published in the Journal of Business Logistics found that teamwork, particularly in sharing and gathering information, were critical skills needed for supply chain management.In order to lead others, effective communication and the ability to empathize are essential. Reading fiction can help improve these analytical skills!Click To Tweet
Part of analytical thinking includes articulating a problem and finding out how to work toward the solution. When planning, you visualize the process to a solution and think of the necessary building blocks needed to reach the end goal. This is true whether you’re planning a product release or your retirement.
Planning requires the ability to articulate a concrete goal you wish to achieve, as well as the steps needed to reach that goal. Strategizing and organizing may be more effective than traditional detachment in analysis, which can save both time and money because you conceptualize and visualize various paths so that you can choose the most beneficial one for all parties.Planning requires the ability to articulate a concrete goal you wish to achieve, as well as the steps needed to reach that goal. Find out how reading books can improve this and other analytical skills!Click To Tweet
Research and Data Analysis
Gathering information is another important part of analytical thinking and it requires more effort than you might think! This is largely because you don’t know what you don’t know. To discover this, you have to know where to find information to fill in the gaps.
You can do this by observing phenomena in your own life or by reading a scientific article. Next, you need to take the numbers or empirical data collected and apply it to your own situation. This requires finding connections between your problems and the information given.Gathering information is an important part of analytical thinking. It requires finding connections between your problems and the information given. Find out how reading fiction can improve this and other analytical skills!Click To Tweet
How to Improve Analytical Skills
The more you learn about how to improve analytical skills, the more you will see how many ways there are to do it. Here are a few general suggestions:
- Observe the world: Expand your worldview and understand that your experiences are not universal. Learn about the world and practice putting yourself in others’ shoes.
- Learn to ask questions: Constantly question your own and others’ knowledge. Consider whether you have all the information or if there is another question to consider. This also helps with memory recall. See Benefits of Reading Fiction to find out more.
- Practice Something New: Look at the small individual parts of your new subject, then consider how they fit into the greater whole.
- Read a book: One of the most effective and most enjoyable ways how to improve analytical skills. Read on to see how reading relates to the suggestions above.
Observe the World Using Books
Reading a good novel often introduces you to a different perspective of the world, or even a different world altogether. You can observe a theoretical part of the world and understand motivations and opinions that may not line up with your own.
Learn to Ask Questions Using Books
Reading allows someone to constantly ask questions about the created world and find ways it parallels their own. Readers can discuss a book with another person and debate the symbolism and themes present in the novel. Even talking about your favorite character can build analytical skills! This is because it requires you to identify their various characteristics and relate why their personality may have resonated with you. You have to consider whether that character has a similar mindset to yours or if that character reminds you of someone you care about.
If you need a great place to discuss books, join my facebook group KayLMoody’s Book Club. You can dissect books and chapters with fellow readers, all while improving your analytical skills. To find more great places to discuss books, check out my post on How to Use Goodreads.
Do Something New Using Books
Just as watching basketball can light up the parts of our brain we use to play basketball, reading can also allow us to experience different ways of life. This is called grounded cognition, in which the brain reacts to reading or watching something as if it is doing what is being described or shown.
For instance, if the protagonist of a story is currently running away from something, the brain activates neurons associated with the act of physically running. In a study from Emory University, scientists found that reading a novel increases connectivity in the left angular/supramarginal gyri and right posterior temporal gyri, which are parts of the brain associated with perspective taking and story comprehension. In this way, we can experience or imagine things outside of our frame of reference. Read more in Benefits of Reading Fiction.
How to Improve Analytical Skills Using Books
While reading books will automatically strengthen analytical skills, actively practicing analytical thinking can help you improve on these skills even further than if you were just passively reading. Here are some ways you can work to engage in your daily reading.
Ask Questions While You Read
Throughout reading, you should try to ask questions about various parts of the book, such as character motivation, plot, themes, or symbolism. For instance, you might explore how the world’s environment informs the plot around it (for instance, a story set in a rural place may utilize the isolation to prevent outside help from coming, and a futuristic story may take current problems in our world and exacerbate them until they become significant problems the protagonists need to actively tackle). You may also examine the parallels between the protagonist and antagonist, and see how their different decisions and perspectives turned them into the characters that they are.
Using other books and narratives to relate to another novel can also greatly help analytical thinking. This concept of intertextuality requires you to take previous concepts, symbolism, and narratives, and identify them in your current reading. It can be as straightforward as exploring how a zombie outbreak would affect the genteel life of the characters of Pride and Prejudice, or examining how rain or a river may reflect a spiritual baptism for a character.Asking questions while you read can improve your analytical skills. Consider character motivations, plot, themes, and symbolism.Click To Tweet
Guess the Ending
This is especially useful if you’re reading a mystery or whodunnit, as they usually provide enough information for the reader to figure out who committed the crime in question. By trying to guess the ending, you must look for the information provided, then determine the false leads or incongruencies before coming to your own conclusion. The actual end can help confirm why you were right or point to something you may have missed if you were wrong. As you read more novels, try to pick up on patterns in the narrative and see if your past experiences can inform the ending of the book you are currently reading.When you try to guess the ending to a book, it can improve your analytical skills. You must look for hints, false leads, and any incongruent clues.Click To Tweet
Create Book Club Questions
Questions such as “What was your favorite scene and why?” or “How did the characters change throughout the story?” help you improve analytical thinking skills, especially if you are communicating with another person. By doing this, you must be able to identify and articulate changes in a character, or what made a scene particularly poignant. Furthermore, communicating with other people about these ideas allows you to see different perspectives and improve your comprehension of the narrative.
10 Thought Provoking Book Club Questions
Picking up a good novel can be a relaxing way to end a stressful day, but it can also help improve your brain function. The next time you pick up a classic or a contemporary bestseller, try to engage in the narrative by asking questions and picking up on the symbols and motifs that the author may regularly use throughout the story. You may come to a better understanding of the world, other people, and even yourself.
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