I have been participating in a discussion group each month or so since about 1990. We started out because many of my colleagues in the company had read "The Fifth Discipline" by Peter Senge and thought it was an important book. However we could not really understand it. Bev Finderhut suggested we form a group to discuss it. We worked on that book for several months and then moved on to good articles and other book.
This month we finished the book "Dealing with Darwin" which I have discussed in previous blogs. As we reflected on our discussion at the end of the last meeting, we all agreed that we found the book boring and a tough read but the discussion really was fantastic. I got more out of discussing the book than the original read.
There are some important ingredients of our group that I would like to share. First at the beginning of each meeting that lasts exactly 90 minutes we share our personal news and any books or ideas we have discovered. The book is then discussed. We then spend the last ten minutes reflecting on how we did today. One of the rules is that the initial sharing and the reflection cannot be interrupted. I think this formula makes the group very effective. Initially I expect one has the impression that the initial work is a waste of good discussion time but I think it makes the discussion much more effective.