Reading seems to have become an unpopular activity in the last decades, especially among business people. Even though history— and present— is packed with examples of great leaders who were avid readers, busy professionals increasingly overlook the obvious evidence we have to firmly state that reading can catalyze insight, empathy, innovation, and personal growth.
Reading, — whether Wikipedia, literature, or Plato — is one of the quickest ways to acquire and assimilate new information.
The mere act of interpreting the written word sharpens attention, comprehension, analytical thinking and if you do it aloud it reinforces sounds, pronunciation, intonation and rhythm. Now, imagine the added value it can have if you choose the material wisely.
If you are a bit at a loss on what to read and where to start, the first thing you should do would be to check the top reading list of the people you look up to — believe me, they definitely have a long, and most importantly, varied one. Do not think that you can only profit from books related to your field of studies since it is well known that great figures like Winston Churchill were inspired by books on sociology, philosophy, psychology, history, as well as fiction.
Perhaps you are not at a loss and you believe in the benefits of reading but you find it difficult to make time to develop the habit. Here is where public commitment to a group might be just the accountability you need. Group reading is a uniquely effective way to enhance the perks of reading and comes with a number of additional benefits.
First of all, book clubs or reading groups make it easier to commit to systematic reading habits. Any group activity helps reinforce commitment and this is because they are an essential reminder of our goals. This benefit can be reaped faster if you join a book club composed of friends and community members, as well as one composed of professional colleagues at work.
The act of reading in community can help you have a better understanding of diverse perspectives.
You won’t choose every book your group reads, so you’ll be forced to read genres and works you would not otherwise. As I said before, engaging with diverse content can pull you out of your point of view and help you make connections between ideas from other fields that might be relevant to your work or life.
Furthermore, discussing content in book groups can expand the way you think and make you more comfortable and confident in professional discussions, whether these are boardroom presentations or team meetings with colleagues. While there are countless articles and tips to become a better orator or speaker, the best and surest way to be a good conversationalist who’s able to engage on substantive or controversial issues, is to practice.
Then, if group reading not only increases confidence, empathy, verbal, emotional and intellectual intelligence, but also provides a safe space outside the strictly professional environment to engage in content discussion and learn to converse more productively with others... Why not including it as part as your company routine?
Company-sponsored book clubs reinforce professional relationships within a firm and they create opportunities for colleagues to discuss topics of mutual interest outside the scripted work routine.
It can strengthen ties interdepartmentally and especially in remote teams or in Covid times, they can offer a link between team members who are in partial or total physical isolation.
ProseFond, for example, is a virtual bookclub that was created by the Wayports community for the employees and employers of the companies that conform it. This means that it not only fosters camaraderie and teamwork among people from the same company, but also allows them to connect with pairs from other businesses from the same or different field— to network.
In times when networking has become an obligation in which the aim is to score as many business cards as you can and frantically introduce yourself to as many people as possible, ProseFond has proved to offer a comfortable space for employees and employers from different companies to engage in interesting conversations and debates.
Wayports provides the ideal environment not only because people have a virtual presence by means of an avatar but also because it is equipped with a virtual library for ProseFond Meetings: The MacLane Library. This library, currently under construction, is the center of our community events and initiatives and if you are interested in joining the Wayports community.
But in order to participate in the community there is no need to wait for the virtual library building to be completed. If you would like to build your own virtual space and organize activities such us a bookclub, you can join The MacLane Library Discord channel here.