Why Joining a Monthly Book Club is Changing the Way I Read
For over half a year now, I’ve been part of a book club – or rather, a ‘Book KREW’ as we like to call it. Once a month, we meet online to discuss the non-fiction book we read in the previous month. Then we pick a book to read in the next.
It’s an extremely simple idea – to invest just 1 hour a month in an online meeting – but it’s one that can have a massive impact on your reading habits.
In this article, I will share a couple of changes I’ve noticed in my now-8-month-long book club journey and how you can join (or set up) a book club yourself.
Change #1: I read more 🤓👌
I’ve always had a kind of on-and-off relationship with reading. Sometimes I can read 3 books in one month. And then for the next 6 months, I don’t read a single one.
It’s been hard to get into a long-term reading habit, even though I notice a ton of benefits from reading regularly. I even made a video once about what 30 minutes of reading per day for 30 days did to me.
Since I joined our book club, I now read at least one book per month. And sure, sometimes I did so on the final weekend before our meeting. I’m not perfect. But as the months went I noticed I started getting into a pattern more and more.
Whenever I now have an idle moment – like when I’m on the train or I feel like watching a TV show – I’m much more likely to pick up a book. There were even months where I finished 2 or 3 books, because I finished the book club’s book early on in the month already.
The monthly cadence and accountability created by my other club members help me build a sustainable habit that – while not perfect – it is helping me get most of the benefits from reading I’m looking for.
📙 I feel more productive and energised
📙 I take more actions towards personal and business growth
📙 I feel more equipped to inspire others
Perhaps most importantly, reading more is helping me feel better about myself. Reading regularly is a habit that’s in line with how I imagine the best version of myself. Becoming that version is something I’m striving for every day.
Change #2: I reflect better ✍️
Besides the accountability and motivation you can get from a book club, you also get new insights with regards to the things you read.
When I read a book myself, I’m inclined to read it and move on to the next one. Now that I read a book as part of the book club, I notice I’m listening differently. More actively. Looking for insights or things I want to apply in my own life.
I take notes too. A lot of them. In a structural way. I never really did that before when reading (or listening to) books.
I think the reason I do all this is because we discuss the book together in the monthly book club meeting. The structure of the meeting is (loosely) as follows.
⏰ 10 minutes: a brief round of general thoughts on the book we just read
⏰ 20 minutes: a deep dive into key insights and things we loved
⏰ 20 minutes: a deep dive into things that confused us or didn’t agree with
⏰ 5 minutes: we give the book a rating based on our experience
⏰ 5 minutes: we pick a book for the upcoming month together
As you can see, there’s quite a bit of time in which we dive deeper into important topics from the book. Taking notes helps me structure the information from a book and distil what are the most important insights to me.
Then I get to hear what other people’s most important insights were, which gives me a new perspective. Often it’s things I completely missed or didn’t pay particular attention to.
So in a way, I don’t just reflect on the book once in order to prepare for the book club meeting. I reflect on it twice, because I also get to hear insights from other people.
That’s twice as many reflections as I did before. Because again: I didn’t reflect at all 😅
Taking notes and reflecting on the book in this way has made it a lot easier to apply key insights to my own life and businesses. Sometimes we like to schedule additional sessions to make this transition from book to real life. We even took some additional time for that during our book club session today, as we discussed how we could apply the ‘jobs to be done’ concept from How Will You Measure Your Life? to our own businesses.
Tips on how to join a book club yourself 💡📙
If my story inspires you to join a book club yourself, I’d say: go for it! It’s literally one of the tiniest commitments you could make – one hour a month – but the positive impact could be massive. Life-changing, even.
And sure… you’re also committing to reading that one book every month and that might not feel easy at first. So why not cut yourself some slack? Allow yourself time to get into the habit of reading regularly. Find out what works for you and try to get a little bit better every month.
But don’t quit. Give it some time ⌛
I sucked at finishing my books in the early months. I even resorted to reading summaries just to have something to say during the meeting. But I showed up regardless. And I got better. Now, reading a book every month is easy. I even feel like I can do more, so I do.
As for some other practical tips on how to join a book club:
💡 Start with a minimum of 2 or 3 motivated people. You don’t need more initially. Once you get to 5 people or more, you might want to think of splitting up the groups for the deep dives, to allow for equal participation and quality discussions.
💡 Commit to meeting monthly or biweekly. If you’re all new to reading regularly, once a month is plenty. You can always change. You may want to consider a principle where if you don’t show up for a meeting twice in a row, you’re out of the club. Having serious club members can help with motivation and prevent the whole club from falling apart.
💡 Agree on an agenda and recurring meeting time during the first meeting. You could start with the agenda my book club uses, just as I shared it above. We have a recurring meeting date scheduled in our calendars for the 4th Tuesday of every month.
💡 Keep track of your books and votes. You could use Google Sheets or Notion to keep track of the books you’ve read and want to read together. You could use a tool like Mentimeter or Handy Polls to vote. Though when your group is small enough you probably won’t need to. This is an example of our Google Sheet.
💡 Stay in touch using your communication platform of choice. We use WhatsApp. It’s nice if someone takes the lead in sharing updates during the month on their reading progress and moments of inspiration to inspire the others and keep energy up.
Instead of starting your own book club, you could also look for clubs online or join mine. We still have spots available at the moment, though I might take down the link if we get too many requests. You can join here, using the link to our WhatsApp group.
If you have any more questions about joining or starting a book club, feel free to ask me in the comments.
I hope it will bring you as much joy, inspiration and positive change as it did me. Happy reading!