How to Implement a Book Club at Work

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How to Implement a Book Club at Work:

First, determine if your employees are interested in participating in a book club. Send out an email to gauge employee interest (in reading a book on their own time), and meet during lunch once a week to discuss the book.

Follow these guidelines:

  1. See if an organization leader and other employees have a book in mind to suggest. (Perhaps an employee recently read a book they'd recommend.) Otherwise, recruit a small team to pick a book, or provide several choices of your own. This can also depend on the population demographic of your volunteer readers. If there is a majority who represent a certain function (e.g. training), you may want to decide upon a recent learning and development book. If your readers are from all areas across the organization, consider a broader or agency oriented book.

  2. Determine your book of choice by putting all options to a vote.

  3. If possible, the agency should purchase multiple copies of the book (it’s a small price to pay for knowledge generation).

  4. Hold an initial meeting to determine a regular meeting time, the number of chapters the group wants to read each week and pass out the books. At this meeting, select a volunteer to lead the book discussion(s), and another to lead the subsequent relevance discussion(s), too.

  5. Read, meet, discuss.

  6. When the group completes the book, select the next book. Send emails announcing the next book and soliciting members for the next round of the book club.

  7. A great deal of benefit for agency team building can be gained from the viewpoints of cross-functional book club members. However, you can also reap benefits when members from the same departments read a book on a department-related topic.


  1. Invite new members to the book club each time a new book is started. You don't want the group turning into an “exclusive” team.

  2. Select books that have broad appeal. Several books that have been popular in recent years in book clubs include:

    • First Break All the Rules: What the World's Greatest Managers do Differently, by Marcus Buckingham & Curt Coffman

    • Good to Great by Jim Collins

    • Outliers, by Malcolm Gladwell

    • Freakonomics, by Stephen Dubner & Steven Levitt

What You Need:

  • One Book per Person (sharing a book is not recommended)

  • Conference Room

  • Flip Chart or White Board and Markers



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