Slack Book Club

I’m starting a book club. It’s a little different than typical book clubs.

The plan is to have a slack workspace, with each book getting its own channel. You can start threads based on whatever interests you—interesting ideas, clarifying concepts, sharing anecdotes.

There’s no required anything. There’s no reading schedule. There’s no meetings required. There’s no commitment—you can (and should!) drop a book if doesn’t keep your attention.

The books I read will generally be engineering related. However, anyone’s free to create channels around any book that interests them.

If you’re interested, you can sign up here! I will likely prioritize people that I know to start, but I hope that this grows large enough for anyone to join.


This format is clearly a bit different than traditional book clubs—this is literally a chat room. Here are a few of the ideas guiding the format.


People have different interest levels in any particular book. Interest can also wax or wane over time, even for the same book. On top of this, life sometimes throws off your typical reading.

From my experience, this results in lots of people dropping out of a book club over time.

Additionally, some people get stressed about getting their reading in. This seems counterproductive. One, reading should be enjoyable. Two, I suspects this makes it harder to take stuff away from a book.

This is the main drive around having no commitment. Read only what you want, when you want.


An immediate consequence of having no commitment: how do you actually discuss a book?

For me, this has two main facets: dicussing a particular topic and staying “on schedule.” The approach I’m taking is to have both things be asynchronous.

Topic Discussion

The chat room/forum style approach to discussion is nice in that it allows people to participate at will, on their own schedule. You’re not forced to sit through a conversation thread that doesn’t interest you, and you don’t have to plan for any meetings.

It’s also nice to be able to spin off interesting/side conversations. Conversations are often multi-threaded or multi-faceted, but face-to-face conversations don’t always handle this well.

There are tradeoffs, of course. Conversation might not flow as smoothly. Nuance is harder to share.

Reading Schedules

If anyone is free to read what they want and when they want, how are we supposed to synchronize for a discussion?

I see this as self-selecting. If someone wants to discuss topic X, I would expect most of the participants to already be familiar with topic X. That means they’ve likely read about it already.

If you haven’t read about topic X, you could still participate if you like. There’s also something else you can do—start a new thread on topic X once you do get to read about it!

Another cool thing—each conversation might end up being wildly different! Maybe they take two completely different angles. Maybe the latter builds upon the former. Duplicate conversation topics, I suspect, won’t be bad—they’ll just lead to different discussions.

Note also that this means anyone can start reading a book at any time. People who have finished a book can hang around if they want to participate in future discussions. They can just as easily leave the channel.


There are plenty of people who prefer to be lurkers—while you might be interested in a book, you might have zero desire to participate in a discussion. That’s fine too.

The discussions are there for you to take what you want from them. For some people, that means actively participating. For others, that means reading through what everyone else thinks.

This is definitely going to be a bit experimental—I hope it takes off, but I can also see it flopping! We’ll see how it goes!

Again, you can signup here.