The Independent reports the results of a recent study by Kingston University into the empathy levels of readers and non-readers, and guess what — people who read books are nicer. They just are.
This isn’t so surprising. In my years as a real-world bookseller, it really seemed that there was a sort of invisible filter in the bookshop’s doorway, keeping all but the nicest sort of people out.
The muppet filter, as it was called, occasionally failed, letting through some grumpy sociopath. But for the most part it was effective.
We had a Muppet Rule too, which helped us cope with the occasional difficult customer. Once a year — but only once — each staff member was allowed to shout bloody murder at an unkind customer. and tell them to leave. Most of us came close from time to time, but in all those years no-one actually invoked the rule.