How to set up a Business Book Club (TCI method)

I love to read. I belong to 2 book clubs. I started the first one about 10 years ago and we meet every 6 weeks. I am happy to say that 9 of the original members are still with us! I joined the second book club through The Commonwealth Institute (TCI) as one of two facilitators for a TCI program called Business Books and Coffee.

Over the years friends have asked me how I set up the book club. It was pretty easy: get a core group of friends/colleagues and establish some ground rules and you are off in book club wonderland. I have enjoyed the book clubs and always say that thanks to those clubs I have read and discussed some fascinating books that I probably would not have read on my own.

How to set up a Business Book Club

  1. Select a facilitator or co-facilitators. This is key because these will be the people who will lead discussions and keep the meetings flowing. The facilitators will come up with the questions to guide discussion.
  2. Select the first book and invite the participants. We used a 6 week timeline so that everyone had time to purchase and read the book.
  3. It’s better if you have a mix of ages, businesses and experience in the group. Our group has women from corporations, from non-profits, from government agencies and women business owners
  4. Pre-select 4 or 5 books to propose after the first meeting
  5. Determine the discussion questions. We do not send out the questions in advance because we like to allow the discussion to develop based on the participants and their interests.
  6. The meetings are 1 and a half hours long: 830-10am. The first part is people getting settled and networking over breakfast. We discuss the book for about an hour and select the next book at the end of the session.
  7. We add books as we go along as a result of our discussions and the interest of the participants.

Here are some of the books that the TCI Business Books and Coffee group has read so far:

  1. Thrive, Arriana Huffington

Discussion questions:

  1. What is your favorite lesson from the book?
  2. Do you agree with the premise that meditation fosters creativity?
  3. What do you think of the concept of balance? Is it possible?
  4. Do you agree with the premise of treating employees like family?
  5. What about organizational culture?
  6. Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Action, Simon Sinek

Discussion questions:

  1. What did you think of the Golden Circle Concept?
  2. How does starting with why affect marketing and the competing theories of marketing?
  3. How does starting with the question why affect the work flow and creativity of an organization?
  4. What did you think of the concept of sales vs. loyalty?
  5. To Sell is Human, Daniel Pink

Discussion questions:

  1. Do you agree with the concept that everyone sells all the time?
  2. What did you think of the “E Test”? Did you take the test? Surprised at the results? Any insights gained?
  3. What did you think of the 6 new ways to pitch? Any one in particular that resonates?
  4. What about the role of technology/access to knowledge and how it affects average purchases?
  5. Did you gain any new insights on how to be a better salesman? Do you consider yourself a salesman?

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