Based in Washington, Ross is a general manager of a food safety company. His musings explore life, work and every moment in between.

The Book Club (HMC)

8 years ago, I was lucky enough to become a founding member of a book club. It was a small endeavor as the the four of us were in the similar circumstances; early(ish) twenties college graduates trying to build careers during a terrible recession, all with much more capacity for learning. Our premise was simple:

  1. We could learn from each other
  2. We had time on our hands
  3. Our reading lists were getting stale
  4. Knowledge is a force multiplier

The rules we set up were quite simple:

  1. Take turns in choosing books
  2. When it is your turn, buy and ship the books to each other (no excuses about not having time to get the book)*
  3. No consecutive authors or subjects**
  4. Read the book, have an opinion, don’t mince words***
  5. If it’s your turn to pick, you lead the group through the book club meeting

This has turned into one of my favorite associations. We have read business books, biographies, non-fiction, fiction, historical fiction, sci-fi and countless other genres. In the last seven years I have read 53 books with these incredible guys including Justice, Spousenomics, Thinking Fast and Slow, Ready Player One, Dune, and Leaves of Grass. Throughout this time I have been forced to read few books I would have normally acquired, read and devoured the way book club mandated. Before this book club was formed I would have continued to read boring, self-aggrandizing accounts of business people making great companies or great environments. Before I was less, today I am more.

Seek the diverse interests of those around you. Ask everyone you respect in life what to read. Read everything they recommend. Feel what the author asks you to try out. Be open to new genres.

*this was before Amazon Prime

**can’t be all business or all fiction – must switch it up

***this became a social norm, not a founding ideal

Leadership on President's Day

Demons hate fresh air.