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A book group for business owners, anyone?

Diane Hall


The traditional book group could probably be imagined as a set of women (I’m not being sexist here, they are mainly populated by females) getting together in the pub or one of their homes to discuss the latest fiction blockbuster they’ve all read. Though the book in question is important, and most likely gets pulled apart by the group’s members, book clubs offer what any regular group meeting offers: friendship, escapism, the opportunity to share thoughts and worries…etc., etc.

Most business owners read self-development books and non-fiction titles to help them grow. In fact, these genres have positively bloomed over recent years, more so when audio books took off. 

Entrepreneurs devour title after title whilst on their commute, when out for a run, or simply to wind down with at the end of the day.

Publishing industry revenue figures prove this, but I think that ‘downloading’ knowledge of this kind is only half as effective as it would be to apply it, which could involve discussions with those of the same mindset and situation. Think of the ideas that could emanate in such meetings, the plans that could be made, the opportunities that could be found. If any group of people needed to create a book club, it’s entrepreneurs.

You don’t see that many book clubs catering for those who read non-fiction and/or self-development titles. Yet business owners love to network, to become familiar with other entrepreneurs in the area. 

Rather than sitting in a room (hopefully so, now that Covid has allowed people to mix inside once again) and doing the obligatory 60-second round robin before listening to one member drone on for twenty minutes about their company, why not get together to discuss topics that could have actually have a true impact on you and your business?

You may still encounter the same camaraderie and social escapism fiction book clubs enjoy, which is a bonus. What you could also achieve is some serious accountability to put all you’ve learned from the book into practice within your enterprise.

There’s certainly no shortage of self-development books out there, but if they work as intended, why are there so many? Common issues with self-development books—and, indeed, self-help books on a wider scale—is that they can dangle unrealistic results, provide information that your common sense could easily supply, or offer valuable solutions but no help on how you should achieve these. When it comes to improving yourself, accountability is hugely important. We all know that poor eating habits and too much alcohol are bad for us, but if it was easy to rectify these issues on our own, we wouldn’t need the likes of Weight Watchers or Alcoholics Anonymous.

Being a walking library is all well and good, but it’s often only when you apply knowledge to solve a problem that the real learning takes place. Applying critical thinking in one area also helps us to do so in other areas, too—areas that we may not have any prior knowledge of.

Discussing a subject with others can underpin and enrich knowledge. It reflects your comprehension of the topic; misconceptions can be noted and explained, for example. It offers opportunities to learn different viewpoints around the same thing (which provides objectivity). It can highlight gaps in your knowledge and flag up questions to ask to achieve a greater level of understanding. Related topics will naturally crop up in group discussion, which can also be explored. Group learning forces members to engage with the subject more than they may do with a book.

Whilst book clubs are great for escapism and socialising, I believe they could also play a huge part in the growth and development of both a business owner and their business.

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