Excerpt for How to Start a Culture-Boosting, Career-Enhancing, Lively & Intellectually Stimulating Business Book Club by , available in its entirety at Smashwords


1 Introduction

2 The First Meeting

3 Ten Decisions (and recommendations for each)

1. Who can join, and how will you invite them?

2. How many members will we have?

3. How often will we meet

4. When and where will we meet?

5. How long should each meeting last?

6. Who will lead the meetings?

7. What are the rules?

8. What should we read?

9. Who will pay?

10. What will be our first book?

4 A pleasant and rewarding experience for all members

5 How to begin your reading group discussion

Six discussion questions you can use with any business book

6 Ten Tips for Book Club Leaders

Meet Bob Lee

Invite Bob to Join Your Workplace Book Club

How much does it cost?


A book club is a group of people who read and talk about books based on a topic or an agreed-upon reading list. All members read the same book over an agreed period – usually one month - and then meet up to discuss that book with other members. Some book clubs focus exclusively on a certain genre like crime or romance, but most read a wide variety of authors and types, usually chosen a few months in advance through consensus or majority voting.

A Workplace Book Club is – as the name suggests – a book club devoted to reading books broadly related to ‘business’, which, apart from the obvious titles could also include genres such as personal-development, popular psychology, memoirs and auto-biographies. A Workplace Book Club can be formed around any group that shares a common interest such as business in general, or entrepreneurship or management. It can be started – for example - by work-colleagues in-house, or by a group of local business people or by friends who share a common interest in business and entrepreneurship.

My focus in this guide is on starting a book club within an organisation but you can adapt the advice with little effort to cover any other grouping. The basic considerations are the same – who is it for, what will you read, and where and when will you meet?

Why should you bother with business books? Because if you’re serious about your career you must also be serious about your personal development. How else can you keep your knowledge up to date and your skills fresh?

Maybe you’re fortunate enough to receive occasional training in work, but that’s rarely enough. TED Talks, article summaries and some blogs and other online resources can be very helpful, but finding the valuable material among all the click-bait articles is time consuming and frustrating. (“She Wanted to Motivate Her Team, but Nobody Was Ready for What Happened NEXT”) Yes, you can get plenty online, but much of it is superficial, designed for consumption in a minute or less – and much of the best stuff tends to be given as a taster or a teaser for ‘the real thing’ …. which is usually a book!

Books continue to be the single greatest source of new ideas, insights, analysis, and knowledge available. So, if you’re serious about opening your mind to new ideas and knowledge, you need books. You can and should read on your own, but reading and discussing one book each month as a shared experience provides discipline, valuable extra perspective, and a level of enjoyment that will more than repay your investment of time.

Culture-enhancing? A lively book club, open to all, will boost your workplace culture by creating shared experiences and allowing colleagues to learn from and with each other, while also getting to know other members at a deeper level.

Career-Enhancing? You’re taking the initiative to start the Workplace Book Club, you’re the catalyst that will improve your club members’ knowledge and insights, and you’re getting noticed by the people who can help you to realise your full talents. If that’s not career-enhancing you probably need to go somewhere they’ll appreciate you more!

And Intellectually Stimulating? That will take care of itself. I promise.

This guide will help you to get your Workplace Book Club off the ground and provide you with tips that I hope will enrich, enhance and complement each member’s experiences of the books that you read and discuss together. Happy reading!

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