Book clubs aren’t just for when you’re off the clock! Workplace book clubs can help teams learn new skills, bond, and stay engaged. Here’s how to start one in your organization.
Blinkist for Business — November 21, 2023
There’s so much we can learn from a good book, and learning can go even further when you discuss ideas with others.
One way to do this at work? A book club.
Workplace book clubs can expose employees to new ideas and ways of working, help them upskill, and promote a culture of professional development. Teams can grow closer and more engaged, and learn more about each others’ viewpoints. A 2023 study even found that a virtual book club fostered social connection among doctors and nurses, which led to improved well-being and reduced feelings of burnout.
Here’s a step-by-step guide to starting a successful workplace book club.
Before you kick off your book club, think about the types of books you’ll read.
While a good fiction book is always fun, workplace book clubs are the ideal place for professional development.
You could read books about:
You could also be extremely specific here and create a book club that focuses on one theme, such as books for:
These types of book clubs are great for fostering community and camaraderie as you’re bringing together like-minded people.
Decide whether you’ll focus on one topic or switch things up every month or so. And make this clear when you advertise your book club so you attract the right people.
You don’t need to have the next two years of books planned out, but it can be useful to have a list of books in mind that fit your book club theme.
Try curating a mix of classics in your chosen genre, new titles to help readers stay up to date, and books by authors from various backgrounds, races, and genders. This’ll make sure your book club is inclusive and brings a wide range of voices to the table.
When selecting books, you can poll coworkers on which books they’d like to read. This can boost engagement as members get the chance to read and discuss the books that interest them most, and can add to the diversity of what is read.
Bonus tip: Check out Blinkist’s Collections to get nonfiction book ideas. Collections are curated reading lists from the Blinkist team. Topics include:
You can also check out trending titles on Blinkist to see what’s resonating with members right now, and what might resonate with your team, too.
Next, decide if you’re going to be a monthly, bimonthly, or quarterly book club.
Make sure you give coworkers plenty of time to finish the book, but not so much time that they forget about the ideas and thoughts they want to share.
Busy team? Try reading or listening to Blinks of books, which share key ideas from a book in about 15 minutes.
Whatever you decide, meet on a regular schedule—say the first Thursday of every month at 4 p.m.—so people can plan for it in their calendars.
And remember that study we mentioned earlier that showed even virtual book clubs can come with benefits. While in real life (IRL) meetings are great for team-building, a monthly Zoom call can work just as well. Remote teams, rejoice!
Blinkist Spaces allows you to save your favorite Blinkist titles, organize your thoughts on them, and share these—both the books and the thoughts—with coworkers.
You can set up a single Space for your book club, or create several Spaces organized by topic, like productivity or leadership.
Members can recommend new titles in these Spaces, perhaps for further reading or future book club meetings. They can add notes for each title, sharing insights they gained from a book, so the group can learn from each others’ perspectives. This can also give you great ideas for discussion points to bring up at future book club meetings.
You can also collect and share notes from meetings you’ve already had, so people can come back to a book and refresh their memory on the most useful insights.
Bonus tip: As well as sharing favorite takeaways from a book or interesting revelations, encourage people to brainstorm ways they could incorporate these insights into their work. If any great ideas pop up, look into ways you can help coworkers make them happen.
To make your book club even more exciting, useful, and engaging, incorporate different elements beyond books.
For example, you could:
This can make book club meetings much more dynamic and give colleagues the chance to learn from an even wider range of resources.
If you want to keep meetings short and sweet, you could provide a list of additional resources for people who want to dive deeper into the topic.
You’ve done all of the prep, and now it’s time to promote your shiny new book club. Send out a company-wide or team-wide email or Slack message to get started.
Remember to share all the details of the book club, including:
Employees could either buy the book themselves in their preferred format with their learning budget, get reimbursed, check out the local library, or, if you’re working with a small engaged group, you could purchase books to hand out to coworkers.
Be sure to send out reminders closer to the time—we’re all busy people—and don’t forget to let new hires know about the book club as part of their onboarding.
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