Why being a Book-smart can be just as powerful

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I can hear my heart rant heavily as my fingers tap on a keyboard aggressively. That the words I am about to spill are so weird but at the same time fresh and still relevant to point out. You may be familiar that human today is more inclined toward practicing and becoming a street-smart, someone who has good social understanding rather than becoming a book-smart, ones who develops understanding from lots of reading. This is in order to befit the social behavior and the world nowadays. That being a street-smart can secure you more good points, while the latter can be otherwise.

There is no denying that being a street-smart earn yourself first-hand experiences which can be worth a lifetime in interacting with people. But, to point that being a book-smart is just ‘dumb’ and only can cost you in losing great times are not exactly the truth. This biased conception roots from the basis yet poor understanding of the quality coming from bookish people.

Take movies for example, lots out there are likely to picture ‘book-smart’ as someone who is socially awkward and plainly innocent in a way that requires other protection. Only few addressed the very perspective of how someone who reads a lot can achieve big things as much as being a street-smart, but in a different way. How? Like the character of Jo March (played by Winona Ryder) in Little Women who had perfectly captured hearts and beats from projecting as someone who is passionate with literary books to becoming a serious writer with strong determination. Let me walk you through one-by-one of why and how being a bookish can give us the best qualities to come!

Featured Photo by Olena Sergienko on Unsplash

Develop better understanding

Being either book-smart or street-smart, both can benefit you with profound understanding at different level and through its different way. How is that?

From the ample reading, it can provide you with a stream of unlimited knowledge which will become useful to prepare yourself in dealing with different situations. It gives you a basis understanding just like the way you are taught in classes.

It might be seen as passive, but it all depends on yourself with the questions you ask yourself while reading and annotating the information you have read.

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Earn effective soft skills

Through multiple reading, it helps to better express yourself with effective articulation on certain aspect or knowledge you had solid read on. This includes one’s ability of putting out the right word at the right time to deliver the message effectively. Thus, you will appear and sound confident and a good speaker commands success.

There is power in words. There is a power in being able to explain and describe and articulate what you know and feel and believe about the world, and about yourself

Tracy Chapman

Same applies to other soft skills such as critical thinking, ones feature that becomes so lacking in young generation today for their poor reading despite being enslaved to technologies.

Be it digital or physical, reading materials like books supply a landscape in which human can develop understanding and analyze the different contexts written across by different authors on the same topic.

This leads you to be open-minded and reasonable at making judgement and decision with concise alternative solutions to the problem at hand.

Broaden your perspective

Photo by Yeshi Kangrang on Unsplash

Being a street-smart, meeting up with different people from all walks of life can provide you valuable insights at looking things in a different light. It is the very reason why people prefer to travel unraveling the intricacies of what is hardly seen and understood from the superficial things of daily commute.

These impacts however only proven to be meaningful when it is documented and translated into stories, reflecting on individual experiences that human today can see in various forms of writing. This perfectly describes what John Dewey meant in his quote..

We do not learn from experience, we learn from reflecting on experience. 

John Dewey

From reading autobiographies to short stories, you get to digest unlimited new experience indirectly and be inspired by such strong values displayed. Whether it is relatable or not to you, such messages it contained can play a great factor depending on your level of attention and interest at perceiving things from reading them. And sometimes, fictions reveal truths that reality often obscures.  

Becoming emphatic

The developing understanding and profound insights gained from reading (book-smart) and life experiences (street-smart) can increase one’s compassion to other suffering. The context is that the relatability of one self to viewing and understanding others. If you find the situation of others relatable to you, you get to better understand and share the feelings it cause.

Yet, when we are empathizing with someone, it is all about how they feel–given their background, their knowledge, their values, and their beliefs – Allyson Apsey

And it is the reality that never would be always the same to any one of us. So don’t ever try to put yourself in others’ shoes just for the sake of wanting to share your thoughts and relate with your own stories.

You can learn to look at other stories through different lens instead and begin to understand how they feel, from the combined indelible reading experience. This goes to show that being bookish can give you a sense of mind to treat others well and not judgemental, complement to that of life experiences that you learned things from.  

Emotionally maturing

Photo by Leon Biss on Unsplash

People say street-smarts are tough, because they used to ignore and buried down those benign emotions. While book-smarts are seen as sensitive due to their portrayal of emotions.

Realize it or not, experiences give you hard lessons and reading them in stories reminds you to value and refresh those lessons.

From having lots of reading, it allows you to base your vulnerable emotions on the fact that you are growing from the adversity you gone through.

That can lead to great clarity of yourself in dealing with emotions.

That can help you big in growing and maturing.


Conclusion: There is more to this conception than meets the eye. There are in fact several other classifications or measurements that also define how well human intellect functions such as Social Intelligence (SQ) vs Emotional Intelligence (EQ). Simply say, human is complex!

What do you say? Do you find “book-smart” benefits you?

Published by Boffin Bubble

Student blogger; aiming to write little bit of everything with heart smiles!

8 thoughts on “Why being a Book-smart can be just as powerful

  1. This was a really interesting read! I definitely think that being book smart can be just as important as being street smart, and that reading lots of books really helps develop your empathy. Thank you so much for sharing x

    Liked by 1 person

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