What Groups/Communities are you a part of? Is one of them a Learning Community? – (These two book clubs could be useful)

We are made for human connection, aren’t we?

Regardless of what we do, where we live, what we are interested in, we are people who need people (thanks, Barbra Streisand).

No matter what the activity — from bowling, to hunting, so sports teams, to quilting groups, to work projects – the glue that ties it all together is the relationships we form and the relationships we nurture.

My former colleague Karl Krayer, in a training session that he offered to many organzations, spoke of the four essential elements of groups:

  • Group Goals
  • Individual Roles
  • Processes and Procedures
  • Relationships

Get everything right in a group activity, but leave out the relationship aspects, and it is destined to fail.

Given that reminder, I have a simple suggestion:  among the groups you belong to, may I encourage you to make sure that you are of this particular kind of group:  intentionally join a learning community.

Though most known in academic circles, think of the value of always being a part of such a community throughout a lifetime:

Learning communities connect people, organizations, and systems that are eager to learn and work across boundaries in pursuit of a shared goal.

One such learning type of community is a book club.  Book Clubs are seemingly everywhere.  Here is a description:

A book club is a reading group, usually consisting of a number of people who read and talk about books based on a topic or an agreed-upon reading list.

That would be a great group activity to join.

But I think I have invented a new kind of book club, and have created an opportunity to join a learning community in the process.

In my book clubs, you don’t actually have to read the books.  In fact, most people do not read the books.

{Don’t; get me wrong… It is always better for folks to read books for themselves.  But, let’s be honest:  the busier you are with work and life, the less time you have to read the books you want, or need, to read}.

In my book clubs, I read the books carefully, and prepare and provide multi-page, comprehensive synopsis handouts.  I then present the key elements from these handouts.  People follow along with the handout in front of them, pen in hand.

It really is possible to learn enough of the key concepts from the books that you can discuss the books intelligently, and put some of the lessons of the books into practice into your work life and your personal life.

But – and here is the key point; the big deal – the very purpose of these gatherings is to learn!  You attend with other fellow learners…a learning community!  You follow along with the synopsis, and then you discuss the ideas presented.  You…learn!

My question for you – my challenge to you – is this:  do you have a regular time set aside for learning, with others, in a learning community?  If you don’t, don’t you think it might be useful.

After all, lifelong learning requires time invested in actual learning.

What are you doing to be a genuine lifelong learner?


there is always the right book to learn from

there is always the right book to learn from

About these two book clubs:

#1 – The First Friday Book Synopsis – a book club for Business Books

In our 25th year, I present two synopses of useful business books every month on the First Friday of the month (7:00 am, Central Time). (Sometimes, in July and January, we meet on the second Friday of the Month).

People participate in-person in Dallas, or on Zoom.

You can always find the two book selections on the home page of this web site.

#2 – The Urban Engagement Book Club – for books dealing with issues of Social Justice (Sponsored by CitySquare)

Each month, I present a synopsis of one book dealing with issues of social justice.  This book club has met in monthly sessions for over 15 years.  Currently, we are meeting only on Zoom.  We may go back soon to in-person at CitySquare in Dallas, and also on Zoom.  We meet on the Third Thursday, at 12:30 pm (Central Time).


(You can sign up for e-mail announcements/reminders for both of these book clubs on the home page of this web site).

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