This lockdown has certainly made alterations in our work culture and team engagement. We now have to stay at home, we miss our workplace where we work together and perform some team activities. While we were looking for some ideas, we stumbled upon book clubs! A simple 30 minutes session on Fridays, biweekly. It came out beautifully!
We are now done with 5 book clubs. Ayeesha, our People and Culture Manager, heads this team activity; with the help of HearApp she sends out the calendar invites to the team with the details like who’s the book reviewer, the book title, description, and participants. Ayeesha then takes notes from the narration and shares the summary through HearApp with the Amazon link of the book to all the attendees.
Reading books is a valuable skill. It’s not only about the type of book you read, but also sharing the experience and knowledge you get from the book to others. This is one of the major reasons why we organized book clubs. Meanwhile, our team gets inspired to read more great books and learn about them too.
“Keep reading. It’s one of the most marvellous adventures that anyone can have”.
Here is what we have learned from the book clubs so far.
Rich Dad Poor Dad#
What is the best way to start a book club with one of our recent book worms, Varun Raj, to review the first book? The book he chose was ‘Rich Dad Poor Dad’ by Robert Kiyosaki and Sharon Lechter. Being a self-help book, it sure helped some of us on managing our finances (money spent on food to be precise).
Discussion: Varun took a few leaves from the book to try it himself and shared that experience with the team;
Takeaway: Invest money in FD, mutual funds, or a good savings scheme to see the difference.
Book Insight by Varun:
This is the first book that I read before getting addicted to reading. This book helped me a lot both personally and professionally. Personal finance is something that youths of this generation lack at, Robert Kiyosaki explained it in a beautiful form with his own life experiences. The book clearly explains what an asset and a liability is and how to differentiate them. In short, this book makes you smart in handling money.
Blue Ocean Strategy#
Are you a marketer or aspiring to be one? This club might have been more than interesting to you. We had a great time on this book titled ‘Blue Ocean Strategy’ by Renée Mauborgne and W. Chan Kim”, again by Varun Raj.
Discussion: After explaining the blue ocean and red ocean strategy, Varun explained how we can explore the unattained market to create demand rather than to fight for it. He insisted that anyone who wants to work or understand marketing can start with this book.
Book Insight by Varun:
If you’re a product owner or a business owner struggling in this competitive world, then this book comes as a saviour for you. It clearly explains how a product can be differentiated from a regular competition that it fights currently. Also, to create a whole new market for itself by just adding new values and attracting a wider audience. It comes with various tools and frameworks that you can apply to your product today and get benefited.
Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind#
Do you remember “sapiens” from biology class? If yes, then you must read “Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari”. This time we had our CTO, Swaathi Kakarla, talking about the book.
Discussion and Takeaways:
We seem to be on the path to genetically engineering and programming nearly every phase of our wants, desires, and consciousness, the real question we should ask is, “What do we want to want?” In the past 1000 years, humans have evolved to take over the world and are on the verge of overcoming natural selection and becoming gods.
Yet, we still seem unhappy in many ways and we are unsure of what we want. Is there anything more dangerous than dissatisfied and irresponsible gods who don’t know what they want? Just think and relate it to real life.
Book Insight by Swaathi:
What I loved about Sapiens is it’s an introduction to humankind with the absence of religion. So often we hear that “God intended the world to be this way, so it is.", but he unwraps the origins of humankind with logic instead.
Yuval attributes human evolution to three major revolutions: Cognitive, Agricultural and Scientific. What these revolutions have allowed people to do is work together in such large numbers that we are now an apex predator in spite of missing any significant physical skills. It’s a great dive into the history of humankind!
Book discussed next was “Animal Farm” by George Orwell. This was a very interesting fictional book that can be read by everyone, especially for those who are trying to pick up the skill of reading. This one was introduced to us by Sathish Kumar, a Lead Engineer at Skcript.
Book Insight by Sathish:
Animal farm tells you what the greed of power of some could ruin a noble cause that would have benefited many. It also tells about the sacrifices that many do when fueled by greed. In short, “Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely!".
Our next book was one of the most popular and widely acknowledged books, “Alchemist” by Paulo Coelho. This time it’s Pankaj Harita, Head of Operations, who reviewed this book.
Takeaway: Follow your dreams.
Book Insight by Pankaj:
The Alchemist constantly talks about pursuing one’s dream and does so by narrating the story of a boy. It is filled with fantasy and conveys a strong message that when one sets out to achieve their dream (personal legend as described in the book), the universe will send omens and guide them. In this book, Santiago a shepherd is the hero and he desires to travel. When he learns that he is destined to find a treasure in Egypt by the pyramids. His journey to Egypt and his adventures are narrated as a story.
When you finish the book, you will be left with the determination and hope that you will achieve your dreams. Paulo Coelho was known for narrating stories mixed with spiritual and philosophical concepts.
“‘Well, there is only one piece of advice I can give you,’ said the wisest of wise men. ‘The secret of happiness is to see all the marvels of the world, and never to forget the drops of oil on the spoon.’”
Excerpt From: Paulo Coelho. “The Alchemist”. Apple Books.
The Book review culture with the whole team is ABSOLUTE FUN! No one knows when we will be back at our workplace and perform team activities like this, but these book clubs help us stay together. You can also try this at your workplace and share with us how it went over Twitter or email to firstname.lastname@example.org.