How to Start an Office Book Club
August 6, 2019
Before I started at HighRock, I could only dream of a job where I could regularly incorporate my love of reading into my work week. Lucky for me, HighRock’s weekly book club is the perfect opportunity to fulfill my book worm needs. If you're also looking for a fun way to talk books with your co-workers, here's my how-to guide on how to build your own office book club, based on what we do at HighRock.
Starting an office book club is a fun way to incorporate some creativity into your employees’ week, stay informed about relevant and interesting topics, and get to know each other a little better. If you think your office might be ready to kick off some Summer reading, here are my top 4 tips for starting your own book club:
Pick a book
This might seem pretty obvious as first steps go, but choosing a book can actually be harder than you’d think. Your first book sets the tone for the rest of the group. Consider what type of group you want to host: if your group craves structure, maybe pick a theme for the year and center your book choices around that theme. For instance, if you pick “entrepreneurs” as your theme, you could do a study of different entrepreneurs, the struggles they faced, and the different approaches they took to overcome and reach their goals. If your group wants to shrug structure for book club, you can choose books “a la carte”, based on what seems interesting to your members.
Some of HighRock’s past book club favorites include:
- Creativity, Inc by Ed Catmull
- QBQ! The Question Behind the Question by John G. Miller
- Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg
- The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey
Strategize a time
Because of shifting schedules, meetings, and other deadlines, it’s unlikely that everyone in your book club will be able to make it each and every week. However, you can research and strategize a time that makes the most sense for your group. HighRock’s book club meets during lunch on Fridays, which is a time that most people in our office are available and ready for a bit of a break.
Consider meeting during lunch or another time that employees are ready to step away from their desks. If meeting weekly is too much of a commitment for your employees, there’s nothing wrong with meeting less often like bi-weekly, or even monthly.
Choose a moderator
Gathering in a room to talk about ideas can be intimidating and conversations can easily stall. It’s a good idea to choose a “moderator” for each book; it’ll be this person’s responsibility to run the group, call the club to order, and keep the discussion going if it stalls out. Here are some tips for first-time book club moderators:
- Prep some questions to keep the conversation going. Don’t be afraid to dig in deep to ask your colleagues what they thought of claims the author made and how they could be applied to their own work.
- Research some related topics a little further to give more insight about a topic or push the conversation in a new direction.
- Think like a teacher and plan a discussion method or an activity. This might not work for every meeting, but shaking up the routine every once in a while can get the creative juices flowing. Choose a discussion plan like fishbowl or incorporate some creativity like idea webbing.
Send the invites & prepare
Prepare a reading schedule so that attendees know exactly what sections they’ll be discussing each day. You can distribute that schedule before your first meeting, or include it in the calendar invite you send to book club attendees, so they can always easily refer back to it. At HighRock, we send all the book club invites at the same time, so anyone can always check to see when we’re meeting about a specific set of chapters. A common Outlook Calendar invite also makes it easy to reschedule and communicate with group members if needed.
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