A Bookgroup Mastermind is a great way to get more out of reading, especially business books that on the face of it can look really dry. And for many people sit like badges of honour on the desk or even, shock, horror, as a doorstop. If you buy books or love learning you might already be in a book group or two. But if you find you rarely get round to reading them, then perhaps you need an additional incentive to dig into them? There are at least four great reasons to get involved in a Bookgroup Mastermind.
I have to confess, I’m a sucker for a lovely book. My last lunch in the Wellcome Collection café saw me pick up Good Charts by Scott Berinato. A delightful composition of how to present information and construct great charts. Charts with amazing patterns and designs. A joy to look through. Have I read it? Not really. But I gain pleasure from knowing it’s there. Maybe dipping in, while waiting for a Zoom call to start.
But the important message – this chimes with my love for polarities – is understanding what makes a good chart: comparing the design execution (from poor to excellent) and the contextual awareness of what am I trying to say, to whom and where? – low to high.
My business book purchasing tends to rise when I’m writing a report or paper and need to gather a few together, and also on the occasion I get asked to review books too: but then I do read them. A couple of years back I discovered the benefit (and joy) of a group of individuals coming together around a book. And since, have participated in many groups, mostly global.
As a Bookgroup Mastermind veteran I’ve seen them run in several ways. But the outputs are always positive:
- New, relevant connections
- Opposing viewpoints
- Rich dissection and discussion of the text
- Ideas of how to apply the learning
What’s a Bookgroup Mastermind?
Joining a Bookgroup Mastermind is a bit different from reading a novel and catching up once a month to chat over the contents and drink wine or coffee. A Mastermind, as defined by Napoleon Hill is the :
“Coordination of knowledge and effort, in a spirit of harmony, between two or more people, for the attainment of a definite purpose”
The Bookgroup Mastermind involves bringing together a group of peers: smart, engaged and knowledgeable people, committed to sharing knowledge and learning through an accountable infrastructure. The huge benefit of bringing people together with shared interests is the diverse range of backgrounds and experiences that can unleash rich and varied conversations.
The networking challenge
When you work on equality and diversity topics, you might find it’s your full-time remit, but you’re as likely to be doing it part-time. Regardless, there will be a passion behind why you took on this role. Meeting others in similar positions is an important part of your learning curve. Whether at conferences or workshops, or formal professional development the vital part of these events is the opportunity to connect and chat in the side-lines with others. Gaining insights into others’ practices, programmes or impact of policies. The real nugget is connecting with people understanding what works and learning to understand the strategies they have implemented. The challenge in a locked-down world is finding time to make these connections.
Diversity of views
Some mastermind groups are intentionally small. But sometimes, a larger group with small pods means there will be a greater range of experiences, examples and ideas about what might work or be a problem with a proposed implementation. Greater diversity brings greater perspectives.
The main aim of a Bookgroup Mastermind is a rich dissection and consideration of the text and discussion of the ideas or theories of the author(s). The more the merrier. The challenge in this case, is creating an environment where everyone can be heard. Some structure and protocols for facilitating and considering opposing views and how other texts might intersect with the ones under discussion. This requires a community with breadth and depth.
Applying the learning
The main purpose for you in participating in a Bookgroup Mastermind is likely to be what you can take away. How will participating change your life, your capability to deliver your job, or give you new tools? When you enter your Mastermind, a clear purpose helps guide your dedication to reading. And having access to a workbook means you can collect your thoughts and be very specific about how they can be translated into practice.
Getting started with your Bookgroup Mastermind?
Start off, by looking online. Or ask around. Another choice is to start your own. But it can take time to build up expertise and finding a way that works. Here are a few tips:
- Create a group of interested people and develop a purpose for the group.
- Once there’s a purpose choose how many titles you hope to read a year. Don’t over-commit, as people will drift off.
- Define a process for choosing a list of books, this might come out of your Mastermind purpose. And select the first title from this list.
- Set your dates to meet reading 2 chapters every 2-3 weeks seems to offer a good balance. And 1-2 hours reading for each session
- Take turns at facilitating, unless there is a designated leader, and expect it to be different each week.
Joining a paid Mastermind can have the added bonus of not needing to organise others, a broader community of peers, a competent facilitator and may even have the bonus of a workbook and an end of Mastermind event.
Regardless, A mastermind creates a hive mind and a rich learning experience with positive social interaction.
The Katalytik Spring Summer Mastermind starts in May 2021. The focus is on good practice in higher education. Click here to find out more.