Many people like to acquire knowledge by joining a book club and exchanging ideas with people. Many of our team members enjoy reading, so our founder Taco has organized internal book clubs exclusive for our team.
If you have ever hosted or participated in a book club or if your learning is hitting a bottleneck and want to try something different, this article may be helpful. In the end, we will share our recommended reading list with topics of design thinking, storytelling and game design to make your learning more fun and efficient! Now let’s take a look at how we organize a successful book club!
Fourdesire’s Intern Book Club and CBR Book Club
The intern book club is designed for interns, featuring 8 units associated with Fourdesire’s specialties. In each unit, we select a classic book for that domain and include it in our employee orientation.
▲ Books selected for Fourdesire’s 2021 Intern Program
The CBR (Classic Books Revisiting) book club is designed for senior coworkers We pick a chapter, article, or a TED Talks video based on the subject for everyone to articulate their opinions and present their arguments.
In the following, we will use the CBR book club as an example to explain the structure of our book clubs and our inspiration.
Encourage engagement through 3 Phases
As an interdisciplinary company, our initial intention to start a book club was to facilitate communications between coworkers through a shared language. We referenced the structure of MIT’s Learning Creative Learning online course to organize our book clubs.
1. Identify Themes
Based on Fourdesire’s core value, we extend the themes such as “play (fun) ”, “design”, and “storytelling” and then pick an appropriate book for each theme.
Everyone can sign up for the book club freely. Each theme will run for 5 – 6 weeks so the members can discuss the topic thoroughly.
2. Preparation Assignments
After reading the designated chapters every week, every member must complete the preparation assignment on our internal forum.
Below are the common book club discussion questions we use:
- When is the last time you experienced ____ ?
- What is your favorite experience of ________?
- What would you create if you have a chance to ________?
- What is the difference between ______ and your initial imagination?
- What do you think about the difference in ______ between author A and author B?
Most of the assignments are centered on personal experience and the members’ insights on life. By combining the information with reading theories, they can gain different points of views from new perspectives.
In this phase, we provide motivation to the members: members must complete the assignment so that they are qualified to attend the book club that day. No pain, no gain! (lol)
3. At the Book Club
Every member’s answers are shown on the screen and each member will discuss the topic accordingly. We find the assignments can help the members organize their thoughts and speak up with confidence, thus increasing engagement.
3 Features of Fourdesire’s Book Clubs: Make Learning Fun and Efficient
1. Theme-based Reading
Some people prefer reading a book from beginning to end, while our book clubs choose appropriate books (or chapters) based on the theme to connect the core concepts of each domain and create a personal knowledge management network.
How to build a personal knowledge management network? Choose a book you like, then explore how the author builds the structure through the reference list or bibliography of the book.
▲ Theme-based reading helps you gain a full understanding of the topic
2. Come with Questions
“Don’t rely on people to share the knowledge you can get from the book. A book club should focus on listening to others' experiences and ideas while sharing yours.” Taco, Fourdesire founder and book club leader
At the book club, the members rarely discuss the content of the book. Instead, they focus on sharing their “ideas”. We encourage everyone to read the book from a subjective perspective and share their opinions on the topic.
3. Understand Knowledge through Life Experience
Even for domain knowledge, assignments associated with daily life will encourage people to share their thoughts more willingly!
For example, after a book club member shared his favorite game “Don't Starve Together” in an assignment, the game has become the entire team’s favorite game!
▲ Book club members eagerly share their favorite games on the forum
Run Book Clubs in a Sharing Spirit
We believe sharing is a critical driving force for learning. Through every member’s engagement, we are able to create a unique book club.
One of the members loves to be the first to hand in assignments. She says: “Besides sharing my favorite books, I’m also eager to know what other people are going to share, which is a big incentive for me to take part in the discussions!”
Do you have any interesting book club experiences or special tips for gaining knowledge? Feel free to share with us!
Fouredesire’s Book Club Themes and Recommendations
- The Design of Everyday Things（Revised & expanded edition）
- Emotional Design
- Change by Design: How Design Thinking Transforms Organizations and Inspires Innovation
- The Art of Innovation: Lessons in Creativity from IDEO, America’s Leading Design Firm (English Edition)
- The Writer’s Journey: Mythic Structure for Writers, 3rd Edition
- Save the Cat!: The Last Book on Screenwriting That You’ll Ever Need
- STORY: Substance, Structure, Style and the Principles of Screenwriting
- Theory of Fun for Game Design, 2nd Edition
- Reality is Broken：Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the World
- 100 Principles of Game Design (English ver.)
- [MDA: A Formal Approach to Game Design and Game](A Formal Approach to Game Design and Game)
- The Aesthetic of Play (English ver.)
Books for 2021 Intern Program
- Design theory: The Design of Everyday Things
- Interaction design for dummies: You’re Not Stupid. The UIs are! Common UI Design Knowledge for Non-designers (original book title: 失敗から学ぶユーザインタフェース 世界はBADUI(バッド・ユーアイ)であふれている)
- Introduction to game engines: The Power of Computational Thinking: Games, Magic and Puzzles to Help You Become a Computational Thinker
- Commercial art and style: Interaction of Color
- Playful design: Playful Design
- Design thinking_: Change by Design: How design thinking transforms organizations and inspires innovation_
- System thinking: Thinking in Systems: A Primer
- Marketing, media, and social communications: Marketing 4.0: Moving from Traditional to Digital