Reading for pleasure helps us make positive life changes

Reading for pleasure helps us make positive life changes

Research released today has revealed the remarkable and often untold benefits books can have on our everyday lives, yet over a quarter (27%) of the population has expressed concerns that reading could become a forgotten pleasure.

Commissioned by GALAXY® chocolate on behalf of Quick Reads, a programme that produces short books by well-known authors for busy people and less confident readers, the report reveals that regular reading has the unique ability to empower us to embark on positive journeys in life, connect us with others and make us feel happier in our own skin.

This year, the campaigner for education Malala leads the line-up of authors, shining a light on how reading can empower us all.

The research, produced in partnership with Dr. Josie Billington at The University of Liverpool, has shown that books can provide the fundamental confidence we need to pursue our goals and make big life decisions:

  • 27% of the population have been inspired to make a positive change in their life from reading such as look for a new job or end a bad relationship)
  • 36% of the population have been inspired to go travelling by a book

The study also revealed that reading has inspired us to make other positive changes in our lives:

  • A fifth of the nation has been motivated to take better care of their health by reading a book
  • 19% of adults say books have given them the impetus they need to take up a new hobby

QR 2016 Packshots Horizontal2[1]The study has also revealed that books lead to a more tolerant and empathetic society. As many as half of UK adults say that reading makes them more sympathetic to other people’s beliefs, whilst 17% of readers report that books have inspired them to remain calm during a disagreement, compared to just 5% of those who never read.

Bestselling author Andy McNab commented: “Every time you read a book you get a bit of knowledge, every time you get a bit of knowledge you get a bit more power. I have struggled with and overcome challenges with literacy in my life and experienced first hand the transformational power of books. I urge anyone who does not read for pleasure to pick up a book and reap the rewards of reading.”

A third (35%) of the population admits that they would like to read more but are often distracted by using their phone or watching TV. However, highlighting the profound and significant effect that a good book can have on our overall contentment and fulfilment, the research revealed that over a third (38%) of the nation chooses reading as their ultimate stress remedy. What is more, reading is proven to be a greater comfort to us than some more obvious go-to solutions:

  • 35% of participants revealed that books are most likely to bring them comfort when they are feeling down, versus 31% who choose a glass of wine and 10% who choose a hot bath
  • 41% of adults even find reading to be a better cure for their everyday worries than a night out with friends
Top 5 most inspiring literary characters from bestselling novels Top 5 characters from bestselling novels most of the nation identify with
Females are inspired by… Males are inspired by… Females identify with… Males identify with…
1. Atticus Finch (To Kill a Mockingbird) 1. Atticus Finch (To Kill a Mockingbird) 1. Bridget Jones (Bridget Jones’ Diary series) 1. Frodo Baggins (Lord of the Rings series)
2. Katniss Everdeen (The Hunger Games series) 2. Frodo Baggins (Lord of the Rings series) 2. Harry Potter (Harry Potter series) 2. Robert Langdon (Da Vinci Code / Angels and Demons)
3. Harry Potter (Harry Potter series) 3. Harry Potter (Harry Potter series) 3. Bella Swan (Twilight series) 3.Harry Potter (Harry Potter series)
4. Bridget Jones (Bridget Jones’ Diary series) 4. Robert Langdon (Da Vinci Code / Angels and Demons) 4. Anna Fitzgerald (My Sister’s Keeper) 4. Atticus Finch (To Kill a Mockingbird)
5. Anna Fitzgerald (My Sister’s Keeper) 5. Amir (The Kite Runner) / Pi Patel (Life of Pi) 5. Atticus Finch (To Kill a Mockingbird) / Emma Morley (One Day) 5. Pi Patel (Life of Pi)

Dr Josie Billington, Deputy Director, Centre for Research into Reading at the University of Liverpool says: “35% of respondents in our research reported that they would like to spend more time reading, but cite using their phones or watching television as frequent distractions: no wonder there is concern that reading is at risk of becoming a forgotten pleasure. The positive effects that reading can have on society are widely documented and what has been made abundantly clear by this research is that books can help us to enjoy the little things in life, and be happier in ourselves; a useful and timely reminder for all of us to draw on the many benefits that only reading can deliver.”

Sue Wilkinson, CEO of The Reading Agency, says: “At The Reading Agency, we believe that everything changes when we read and Quick Reads are the perfect way to get even those with the busiest schedules back into reading. We hope this research will encourage more people to see the value and benefit of reading, encouraging them to pick up one of these great books and, when they have finished it, be inspired to go to and read all the others on the list and share them with family and friends.”

Galaxy® Quick Reads are bite-sized books written by best-selling authors which cost only £1. They are available from bookshops, supermarkets and online or can be borrowed from libraries across the country. For more information visit