Working Out Loud: The book club

Alina in Perth, Australia inspired me to do something. So did Irina in New York and Diana in Melbourne. They each asked how they could join a Working Out Loud circle.

Seeking a circle

Seeking a circle

So far, we’ve spread circles via corporate events. There’s a sample presentation and examples here and here. There’s a list of people around the world pledging to form the first 1,000 circles.

But what if you just want to form a circle on your own? A book club is a simple and convenient way to do that. Everything you need is in this one short post.

Inviting people

Perhaps you've heard about the book or have already read it and want to practice. How do you explain it to other people?

Here’s a sample invitation you might send to 3-4 friends, family, or colleagues:


I came across a book I think can benefit both of us and wondered if you would like to read it together as part of a small book club?

It’s called “Working Out Loud,” and it helps you build your network in a way that feels good, provides access to more possibilities, and helps you enjoy every day a bit more. Here’s a description from the back cover:

“Instead of playing career roulette, you invest in deepening relationships. Instead of networking to get something, you lead with generosity. You make your work visible and frame it as a contribution. Combined, these elements form a powerful approach to work and life.”

If we like the book, then we can form a Working Out Loud circle to put the ideas into practice. That group meets for an hour a week for 12 weeks and we each build our own network toward a personal goal.

Would you like to try this with me?

Book club questions

The book club meeting itself is almost like the first week of the circle. You get to know each other and talk about what you might like to accomplish. Here are 13 sample questions you might use to get the discussion going.

  1. The book’s subtitle is “For a Better Career and Life.” What would better mean for you?
  2. What’s the state of your own network? Do you play “career roulette” or do you feel you actively try to “make your own luck”?
  3. The five elements are purposeful discovery, relationships, generosity, visible work, and a growth mindset. Which do you think is the most important?
  4. The book emphasizes generosity and empathy, and notes that “reciprocal altruism” makes that a worthwhile investment. Do you agree? Do you think you can authentically “lead with generosity” and still experience benefits yourself?
  5. The stories in the book are about people with different backgrounds, education, ages, and goals. Was there a story that you identified with most?
  6. Have there been people in your life who you could have helped you but with whom you lost contact? Why did you lose touch?
  7. Some of the contributions seem so simple, like expressing appreciation or gratitude. Even “I’ve been thinking of you.” Do you feel you do enough of this already?
  8. The book says it isn’t necessary but that social tools further increase your odds: they amplify who you are and what you do; extend your reach; expand the set of contributions you can make and how you can offer them. Do you use social media already? Would you?
  9. In the chapter on making it a habit, there's an emphasis on taking small steps and practicing over time with feedback and peer support. Have you found this to work for other positive habits you've developed?
  10. Did you do any of the exercises? If so, which ones were the most useful?
  11. The last chapter talks about the importance of practice. More than any one technique or even any goal, the key thing is to develop a mindset of working out loud and practice it as “an approach to work and life.” What does that mean to you?
  12. What’s the number one thing you took away from the book?
  13. Would you want to form a circle and put the ideas into practice?

If at least one other person answers yes to that last question, pick a time and place for your meeting right then.

May I join you?

If you do decide to form a book club, I’d like to join you. Send me an email at john.stepper@workingoutloud.comor mention that you’re forming a book club on Twitter, and I’ll reply. Through the rest of 2015, I’ll randomly pick one out of every ten and ask to join your discussion by phone if you would like.

“Hi @johnstepper. We’re forming a Working Out Loud book club in Perth!”

My own experience in Working Out Loud circles is that they’ve helped me make progress toward things I care about while making me happier and more fulfilled. I feel more confident, capable, and connected.

Form a book club and a circle and see for yourself.

A little help for a friend

A little help for a friend