Why you should look for a book club

A couple of years ago, a friend invited me to join a book club in Phoenix. My wife already belonged to two book clubs, and I had to admit, she was reading more than I was and was getting exposed to some of the most talked-about books of the day. So I took my friend up on his offer and opened a door to a great collection of literature and friends.

Every month, anywhere from four to 10 of us meet at someone’s house to discuss the book we chose to read the month before. (We’re not nearly as organized as one of my wife’s clubs, which has one meeting a year just to nominate and vote on books to read over the next year.) I’ve read books I never would have selected on my own, including (affiliate links):

I’m also exposed to people and views I normally wouldn’t seek out. Our book club members cover the full spectrum of political views, from left to right and all points in between. They represent a variety of occupations – medicine, law, real estate development, financial planning, public relations, teaching and football coaching. They come from a variety of religious backgrounds. In short, they represent a cross section of society that I’d be hard pressed to find anywhere else in my day-to-day life.

In this increasingly polarized society, our tendency is to seek out people who think and talk like us and read what reinforces our thoughts and beliefs. We’re losing our ability to hear and respect other people and to take time to understand their points of view. It’s no wonder that we’re losing our nationhood and becoming a collection of warring tribes.

The only way I see to stop that trend is to find places to engage with one another respectfully, civilly and thoughtfully. Something as simple as a book club provides a great forum for doing so. If you start one, or join one, focus on diversity of membership as a priority. It can help open up your mind and give you some new perspectives on life.

Related Reading (Affiliate Link)

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4 Responses to Why you should look for a book club

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention Why you should look for a book club -- Topsy.com

  2. Alex C says:

    I couldn’t agree more. People are more polarized than ever and have lost the ability to listen to all perspectives–a common error is for one to say, “The other perspective,” as if there’s only one other view to an issue. The ability to listen and critically assess others’ opinions will make one a better leader and person. While I’m not a member of a book club, I’m thankful for the friends and acquaintances that have entirely different opinions than me.

    “Seek first to understand, then to be understood.” Dr. Stephen Covey, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People

  3. Pingback: My 2010 book club reading list

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