Are you in a book club?
If not, you should be! Five million Americans gather each month in book clubs, and for good reason.
Book clubs are a great way to bond, meet new friends, and enjoy the occasional drink. I’ve found that most focus on fiction, which can be a lot of fun.
But one day, I thought to myself…why not take a page from Benjamin Franklin and start a non-fiction book club to learn new skills?
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Today, I know that being a part of a non-fiction book club is one of the most powerful ways to put new ideas into action. It’s the secret nobody talks about when it comes to gaining new skills.
Non-fiction book clubs have had an incredible impact on me over the past few months.
But where do you start? Have no fear: I’ll cover everything you need to know.
How To Start A Successful Non-Fiction Book Club
1. Choose the right book
Choose a book that YOU are interested in. As the organizer of a book club, your enthusiasm and passion will make or break the club – especially in the first few meetings.
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2. Start with loved ones
Email two friends or family members and ask if they are interested in joining you in a new book club. It’s great if you can start the book club with some people you already know.
3. Use technology
Open an account on Meetup.com to schedule your first book club meeting. I recommend scheduling the first session two to four weeks in the future to allow people time to read the book.
4. Figure out where
Choose a location for your first book club. I suggest a restaurant that you know and like, preferably one that is relatively quiet on a weekday night.
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5. Express your passion
In the book club invitation, describe why you choose the book. For example, are you a fan of the author? Are you passionate about personal development? Curious about business?
6. Do your homework
Prepare a discussion document. I suggest at least five questions and five quotes from the book that you liked. You may not use the document, but it will make you feel more confident to have it with you.
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7. Be prompt
Show up early at the venue. I recommend arriving 10 minutes early and sitting near the entrance of the book. Put your copy of the book on the table so other people can find you.
8. Get to know everyone
Start with introductions. Go around the table and ask everyone to introduce themselves. This exercise helps to break the ice.
9. Start big
Start the book discussion with the most controversial idea from the book. Starting the book club with a challenging idea is a great idea to get the discussion rolling.
10. Be courteous
Thank everyone for attending the book club. Near the end of the book club, thank everyone for attending and take suggestions for what book to read next. You want your fellow book club members to be interested in coming back.
But What Books Do I Start With?
At this point, I hope you’re as excited as me at the power of non-fiction book clubs. Discussing books with other people will double your results and help you put ideas into actions.
But with so many books out there, it can be overwhelming to know where to start. Here are four suggestions to get you started.
1. Tribes by Seth Godin
Seth Godin is best known as a marketing expert. This short book connects leadership and marketing in a striking way. Even if you don’t work, this is the book for you if you are seeking motivation to build your leadership skills. It is a fast read and it is easily one of the most inspirational books I’ve read.
2. The Effective Executive by Peter Drucker
Whether you work as an employee or an entrepreneur, you have executive responsibilities. Again, even if you don’t work, Drucker’s book provides excellent timeless recommendations on improving your time management and effectiveness. The “Know Thy Time” chapter alone is worth the price of the book.
3. How To Win Friends & Influence People by Dale Carnegie
For many people, this is an indispensable resource. I have known people that read the book every year to learn new lessons. You could easily have a two-part book club discussion exploring the ideas on how to help your fellow man.
4. Getting Things Done by David Allen
David Allen’s classic book provides a classic introduction to the fundamentals of productivity. I credit this book with teaching me a key habit I’ve used for years to stay productive.
Getting Things Done is an excellent book for discussion, too. You can discuss productivity apps (e.g. Remember the Milk), productivity habits, and other concepts. Who knows…you might even find a productivity buddy to help you implement the book!
If you’re looking to improve yourself and learn new skills, it’s great to read non-fiction and self improvement books. But why not do it with other like-minded people who are as interested in moving forward as you are? Utilize book clubs! Start a book club today, and I can promise you that you won’t regret it.
Bruce Harpham runs Project Management Hacks, a website that helps you improve your productivity at the office and at home. Bruce’s corporate experience includes working at financial institutions where he delivered major cost reduction projects. Bruce is an Anglophile, world traveler and book enthusiast.
Photo by davcare