Outside of a dog, a book is man’s best friend.

Inside of a dog, it’s too dark to read.

– Attributed to Groucho Marx


Yes, I actually am going to talk about book club.  I think it’s a fantastic idea for both the workplace and the home life.  My youngest and I are reading a book about all the Presidents of the United States.  Admittedly, I did not know that this endeavor was going to lead to written quizzes from my nine year old, testing my retention of information we just read; but that is, in fact, how I spent my Monday night (and seriously, does anybody really know that Thomas is Woodrow Wilson’s first name???)  I also began book 13 for 2013 yesterday, and it got me to thinking.  Reading certainly benefits me and my children.  Can’t that carry over to the workplace?

Many employers have experienced the benefits of voluntary book clubs at work.  It’s an inexpensive and entertaining way to build teamwork throughout all levels of your organization.  Titles and departments don’t matter in a book club.  It’s a great way to get to know each other better.  And, even if your employees aren’t reading books that relate directly to their jobs, their skill sets expand just as their minds do by reading.  A typical book club rotates the discussion leader, so everyone gets the chance to improve their leadership and communication skills.  Just being part of the group helps people become better listeners.  And, the attorney in me thinks that engaging in lively debates over the message intended by a book is a great way to hone your persuasive argument skills.

Your book club may decide collectively or on an individual rotating basis which book to read.  If you learn that your employees want to read a book that would be directly relevant to their performance at work (e.g. anything by Malcolm Gladwell), then you might want to consider purchasing the books for the group.  It’s a small price to pay for a potentially great benefit.

In my view, nothing can quite prepare you for success in life – however you personally define it – as much as a love of reading.  My parting recommendation: anything with “fifty shades” in the title or Fabio on the cover is NSFWB (Not Safe For Work Bookclubs).  Otherwise, READ ON!!! 

Vanessa Towarnicky's primary focus is in the area of labor and employment law. She has been involved in representing clients in various employment cases, including sexual harassment; deliberate intent; age, race, and disability discrimination; wrongful discharge; and various other employment-related torts. She is admitted to various state and federal courts as well as the Third Circuit Court of Appeals and Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals.
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