Get down to business with online book club

Those looking to enjoy the benefits of a book club can do so with a click thanks to a new program launched this month by NIU College of Business Alumni Relations.

Nearly 200 former Huskies have already joined the College of Business online book club, delving into the New York Time bestseller “The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and in Business” by Charles Duhigg.

Cassandra Young, director of Alumni and Donor Relations for the College of Business

“We are reading practical business books – enriching people’s lives with best business practices – through our virtual book club,” Cassandra Young, director of Alumni and Donor Relations for the College of Business, said. “It’s free to join so all you need to do is buy the book or get it from the library.”

If you’re pressed for time and think you are too busy to commit to a book club’s regular meetings, joining an online group may be the perfect solution. Young said they partnered with Professional Book Club (PBC), a book club management company which acts as the club’s moderator. The moderator poses questions to the group, shares relevant articles and facilitates conversations about topics in the book. Members are encouraged to post and share as well, making it easy to connect with each other through the forum.

“This platform offers yet another way for our alums to engage with us and continue the lifelong journey of learning,”Balaji Rajagopalan, College of Business dean, said.

Participants read one book every two months which makes it simple for even the busiest folks to get involved. Young said the response has been great, from recent grads to those who graduated many years ago.

“It’s a unique way to stay engaged with the university and to network with other alumni,” Young said.

Louis Zmich, who graduated with a master’s degree in 2018, shared the sentiment.

“Time gets in the way and you begin to lose contact with your old college friends and alma mater,” Zmich said. “No one anticipates the fall out (but) the fall out happens because of the inherited lifestyle of hardworking people.”

Zmich said NIU’s online book club is very user-friendly.

“The website is simple, easy to use, and promotes discussion, (all) fundamental components of a good online book club,” Zmich said. “The moderators seem to be on top of discussions and make everyone feel invited to participate.”

NIU alum Janyce Fadden, an avid reader of business books, was eager to join the online club.

“I have always enjoyed reading business books and liked the format of a digital platform to discuss (them),” Fadden, who graduated with an Executive Master of Business Administration degree in 1984, said. “The first book was easy and fun to read (and) I can add my thoughts on my time.”

Fadden said she encourages other alumni to give it a try.

“You only have yourself to thank for taking advantage of this opportunity to open your world and improve your mind,” Fadden said.

Zmich agreed.

“How nice to dedicate yourself to something that keeps you connected and broadens your understanding of the world we live in,” Zmich said. “If you are on the fence about joining, give it a shot. If the book club is not for you, at least you got a good book out of it.”

Find more information on the College of Business Alumni Book Club here.

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