Although shocking, you may not be surprised to hear recent statistics about the reading habits of U.S. adults. In one study from American Time Report Use Survey, researchers found that only 19% of Americans age 15 and older read for pleasure on any given day. Whether you find yourself to be in the minority or majority of that statistic, I think we can all agree that reading is a healthy habit. In fact, when asked about the key to success, CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, Warren Buffett shared this piece of wisdom:
“Read 500 pages like this every day. That’s how knowledge works. It builds up, like compound interest. All of you can do it, but I guarantee not many of you will do it.”
A quick search on Google about the “correlation between reading and success” will result in an exhaustive list of reputable resources asserting that the wealthiest and smartest individuals in our society all read. So, what can we do with this information? And how can we make reading more of a priority?
We have an idea! It’s called the “Business Book Club” and it’s GAAP Dynamics’ most recent experiment for our marketing team. Stemmed from an idea at our annual meeting, the “Business Book Club” is a perfect way to build knowledge and strengthen a team. This post will share lessons learned from creating our own book club, along with some highlights from our first read, Top of Mind by John Hall.
What is a Business Book Club? And why do it?
It’s really as simple as it sounds. Swap your personal genre of choice (mystery, fiction, romance, oh my!) for a business-oriented book and trade your circle of personal friends with your colleagues. That’s it!
While it may seem daunting to organize a business book club, it really doesn’t have to be. In our experience, it was one of the best, low-cost and quick investments that our company could have made in our people. Here’s why:
- We learned about a new topic together, triggering thoughtful conversations and strengthening relationships.
- We spent time investing in ourselves, yet it didn’t require significant time out of the office.
- We walked away with actionable ideas, which provided a new sense of excitement and purpose in our day-to-day work.
How does one organize a Business Book Club?
There are many ways that you can organize a book club. For starters, you could meet often to discuss chapter(s) at a time or you could meet once after everyone has completed the book. You could make the book a requirement for your team or you could extend an open invitation to anyone in your organization. There are many factors to consider and we highly recommend checking out this site as you think about how to design your own.
For our book club, we decided that we would meet as a group for dinner at the completion of the book. A rotating “host” is responsible for choosing a book and organizing the dinner. At GAAP Dynamics, we never miss an opportunity to eat good food with each other so this is fitting for our culture, but certainly could look different for your organization. While our first book was mandatory for our Marketing team, we’ve decided to open it up to anyone at the company going forward. For this reason, our first book was fairly marketing-related. For a wide variety of vetted, business-related book ideas, check out this site.
When the time came to meet for our book club, we broke bread, drank wine, and let the conversation (and cheese) flow! We started out with questions such as, “What was a major “aha” moment for you?”, and “How would you rate this book on a scale of 1-10?”. From there, we went through each of the chapters to call out any important takeaways and ideas for implementation.
Highlights from Top of Mind by John Hall
Our team collectively found Top of Mind by John Hall to be a worthwhile read. On a scale of 1-10, with 10 being the best, we rated it a 6 or 7. In summary, this book walks through the benefits of using content, such as a blog, to remain “top of mind” for your consumers. It also relays valuable lessons and means for being helpful to others just for the sake of being helpful. While these first few sentences may cause you to tune out, we would encourage you to keep reading. This book can be helpful to any organization looking to improve reach with its target audience. With an increasingly competitive market and a highly educated customer, it’s important now more than ever to have a voice in the crowd and become “top of mind”. Here’s a list of just a few key takeaways:
- Don’t drop the ball on customers after the sale. Continue to be helpful to them even after the check clears. Always ask, “How can I make life better for them?” to cultivate a relationship.
- If you want your customer’s attention, target your messaging. Speak directly to them to get them engaged instead of using a generic, one-size-fits-all approach.
- To keep content fresh for a blog, build a “knowledge bank” for cross-team reference. When a client asks a good question that others may also be wondering, add it to the bank. As long as you’re listening to your audience, content ideas will flow.
At the end of the day, we found our book club experiment to be a success and we’re making plans for our next one in May. We’ll be sure to let you know how our next read goes. Have you participated in or organized a business book club? Or have a recommendation on a good read? We’d love to hear your thoughts, questions, and ideas in the comments section below
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