Company Book Club: How to Benefit as a Business Team by Reading

Reading books is one of the best and easiest ways to learn. For a few years, I have been encouraging my managers and the rest of our team to get into the habit of reading.

A few years ago, I urged a few teammates to read a business book and write a summary that we could then all discuss. While only one person read the selected book, I felt so proud to put the summary on our bulletin board. One of our architects came into the office and was so impressed with her effort.

[Photo: Annie Spratt/Unsplash]
I decided to try this exercise again recently, but this time, we started with the managers of the company. We kicked it off with How Google Works (public library), and then we started reading it together and discussing the content as a group.

It took a bit of trial and error, but we settled on a weekly rhythm, reading two or three chapters per week. Then we’d get together for 30 minutes each week to discuss what everyone learned. By keeping this weekly discussion session as a standing meeting, we’d usually finish a book in two to three months.

We’ve read all types of books, from The Great Mental Models Volume 1: General Thinking Concepts (public library), The Great Mental Models Volume 2: Physics, Chemistry, and Biology (public library), The Great Mental Models Volume 3: Systems and Mathematics (public library) to the Almanack of Naval Ravikant: A Guide to Wealth and Happiness (public library). We like reading different types of books because we can diversify our thought processes and then compare them and the topics we are exploring.

I love our book meetings – we’ll of course talk about the content, but most importantly I seek to apply the knowledge to our own lives or even our company. Just this week, we were talking about the concept of choosing samples. Our finance manager suggested we send out surveys to a representative sample of our company instead of to the whole population to avoid survey burnout. She then suggested we investigate how we were sending our customer service surveys to make sure they were representative of the people.

I have found this exercise so valuable that we are going to expand the program to the rest of the company, but we want to do it sustainably so that everyone is reading and expanding their knowledge. Hopefully, along the way, we will create a few bookworms.

[Photo: Kevin et Laurianne Langlais/Unsplash]
Also, we hope to mix people from different teams. At my company Celaque, we are always trying to decrease hierarchy and instead bring people together horizontally. I hope that they will interact and get to know each other, strengthening the company’s structure. In this way, they will connect in a new way, through knowledge and the habit of learning.

I find that to read continuously, it is essential to create a habit. Asking someone to read a book once will not be enough, and the groups can make all the difference when it comes to accountability. I can tell you because it happened to me. I had been putting off reading The Great Mental Models Volume 3: Systems and Mathematics (public library). When our management team started reading it, I decided to join in. And so, despite having a hectic schedule, I managed to read the entire book and discuss it with them, and now, I don’t miss a meeting.


Pamela Ayuso is an author and the co-founder and CEO of Celaque. She is a real estate entrepreneur and developer who has executive leadership experience in two of the most successful real estate developers in Honduras — managing operations at Alianza and leading Celaque. Celaque develops office and residential buildings and manages a broad portfolio of properties. Pamela’s focus is on growing Celaque into a model for the 21st-century company.

In addition to her role as CEO at Celaque, Pamela is the author of Amazon best-selling book, Heptagram: The 7-Pillar Business Design System for the 21st Century. She offers practical business and personal development insights for other entrepreneurs and business leaders on her blog and LinkedIn. Her husband and her three wonderful daughters inspired the story of her first children’s book, Alicia and Bunnie Paint a Mural.       

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