Wish your relationships with your coworkers didn’t stop at “what did you do this weekend?”
There are few better ways to get to know people than to engage them in true intellectual conversation. And while that might be hard in the ordinary course of work, it’s not hard in a book club. So why not bring work and book clubs together?
This year I’ve gotten to know a couple of my coworkers on a deeper level through an office book club for Atlas Shrugged, the philosophical novel by Ayn Rand. The book deals with big themes of integrity, responsibility, reality, freedom, and wealth – in fact, it deals with most questions that make up the struggle of human life. But its story of entrepreneurs fighting elements, chaos, incompetence, and malice is especially relevant for innovative businesses and disruptive industries.
Through reading this book (albeit at various paces) together, most of us have found ourselves in conversations far more personal than we would have expected: conversations about religion, about family, about personal failings, about the values that will help our company succeed. And because our work is so close at hand, there may even be more of an immediate effect from the book onto our work.
A book club of your own would be easy to start. All you need is a short lunch break, a great book, and some literate and thoughtful coworkers. You get friendship – or at least a fun way to sharpen your conversations. And you get the social reinforcement to read great works. As with many worthwhile pursuits, the workplace lunch club wins on multiple levels.