As a young mom, participating in a book club met a lot of important social and intellectual needs for me. While those needs eventually shifted as my children moved on to school and I took on a bigger role in the work force, I still treasure those bonds that were established with a unique group of women from different professions and perspectives. My life is richer for the relationships and experiences that grew out of that book club experience.
I’ve been thinking a lot about book clubs lately. While book discussion groups have been around for centuries, there’s been a phenomenal rise in popularity of book clubs in the past couple of decades. Reading is alive and well – a healthy book culture combined with a basic human need for social connectedness is a winning combination.
The librarians at my library do a stellar job of promoting and supporting a book and reading culture and inspiring stories. One of the ways they do this is through the experience of book clubs. And we’re obviously meeting a huge need: the demand for more is almost insatiable! That means we’ve got work to do to figure out how to create even more rich social reading experiences to reach more people. These are indeed good problems to have and libraries play an important role in this realm.
And thanks to the power of living a hugely connected and networked world, opportunities also abound to digitally meet in groups to discuss books and share learning. One such model is Actionable Books, geared for those who read business books, where you can access over 800 “summaries with personality” of the world’s best business books.
I’ve recently joined the Actionable Book Club, because I wanted to connect with others who are interested in personal and professional development. I was also curious to experience a different book club model. This club meets monthly via Google Hangout, and in between via other social media channels. We discuss the books we’ve read and summarized and how we are implementing the lessons from the book into our own lives.
Harnessing the power of groups connected via social media, there are ample opportunities to engage with group leaders and other members and seek feedback on writing. I’ve barely begun to explore all the possibilities yet. But like that earlier book club, I’m enjoying sharing and learning through books with folks from different professions and perspectives.
In this non-traditional book club model, members individually select the books they want to write about: If the book is in print and is in the business, leadership, self-development, team optimization, effective communication, innovative thinking, and role/culture fit category and hasn’t been already summarized on Actionable, we’re welcome to choose it. I’ve chosen to go back to basics, to start by taking a look at understanding organizational theory.
Here is my first book summary at the Actionable Book Club:
Understanding Organizations, by Charles Handy.