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Book and Learning Circles

Employee and Organization Development hosts book and learning circles throughout the year which are open to all Cal Poly employees. Book and learning circles are great opportunities to engage with colleagues in thoughtful discussion around common themes of interest.

Book Circles involve discussing a book over three sessions. Participants receive a complimentary copy of the selected book with the expectation that they will engage in all discussion sessions. Learning Circles involve watching a video or reading an article, and participating in a discussion during a single session. Please join us for one, or more, of these enriching conversations!

White Fragility [Book Circle]

By Robin DiAngelo

Why can it be so challenging for white people to talk about race and racism? When faced with challenges to their assumptions about race and racism, white people oftentimes respond with emotions characteristic of white fragility—such as denial, guilt, anger, and withdrawal—that prevent meaningful engagement and, in turn, uphold racial inequality. In this book, Robin DiAngelo draws on academic scholarship and her extensive experience as an educator on racial and social justice issues to explain the phenomenon of white fragility and to suggest ways to engage in more meaningful conversations about racism. (Here's a link to a recent New Yorker magazine article about her and her book). In this book circle, we will have the opportunity to reflect on our experiences of white fragility, to think through how to respond to white fragility in our work, and to engage in more significant dialogue about racism in our personal and professional lives.

  • Facilitators: Sarah Macdonald (CTLT) and Lanaya Gaberel (EOD)
  • Time and Dates: 12:00pm – 1:00pm on April 16, April 23, April 30 and May 7
  • Location: 35-312

Please note: CTLT is also offering this as a book circle from 10:10-11am on April 17, April 24, May 1 and May 8. Register for the CTLT session here.

Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance [Book Circle]

By Angela Duckworth

In Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance, Angela Duckworth shows anyone striving to be successful and effective at being the best version of themselves that the essential ingredient to outstanding results is not talent or luck, but a special blend of passion and persistence she calls "grit." With insights from history, academics, experimentation in peak performance, and even what she’s learned from interviewing dozens of high achievers—from JP Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon to New Yorker cartoon editor Bob Mankoff to Seattle Seahawks Coach Pete Carroll — she shares the secrets to "grit."

  • Facilitator: Harry Eggleton, Employee and Organization Development
  • Time and Dates: 12:00 – 1:00 pm on May 10, May 24, June 7
  • Location: 36-105

The Power of Moments: Why Certain Experiences Have Extraordinary Impact [Book Circle]

By Chip and Dan Heath

Explore why certain brief experiences can jolt us and elevate us and change us—and how we can learn to create such extraordinary moments in our life and work. Many of the defining moments in our lives are the result of accident or luck — but why leave our most meaningful, memorable moments to chance when we can create them? Most memorable positive moments are dominated by four elements: elevation, insight, pride, and connection. If we embrace these elements, we can conjure more moments that matter. This book delves into some fascinating mysteries of experience: Why we tend to remember the best or worst moment of an experience, as well as the last moment, and forget the rest. Why "we feel most comfortable when things are certain, but we feel most alive when they’re not." And why our most cherished memories are clustered into a brief period during our youth.

  • Facilitator: Jeff Williams, Employee and Organization Development
  • Time and Dates: 12:00 – 1:00 pm on May 17, May 29, June 14
  • Location: 36-105

Lead Like the Great Conductors [TED Talk]

By Itay Talgram

An orchestra conductor faces the ultimate leadership challenge: creating perfect harmony without saying a word. In this amusing, inspiring, and insightful talk, Itay Talgam demonstrates the unique approaches of six great 20th-century orchestra conductors, illustrating essential lessons for anyone in a leadership role.

  • Facilitator: Harry Eggleton, Employee and Organization Development
  • Time and Date: 12:00 – 1:00 pm on April 26
  • Location: 36-105

The Power of Vulnerability [TED Talk]

By Brené Brown

Brené Brown studies human connection – our ability to empathize, belong, love. In a poignant, funny talk, she shares a deep insight from her research, one that sent her on a personal quest to know herself as well as to understand humanity. Brené Brown is a research professor at the University of Houston who studies courage, vulnerability, shame, and empathy, and has authored several books including Daring Greatly, and Dare to Lead. Join us as we view the recorded TedTalk then engage in rich discussion about her research findings, our personal takeaway, and what we can bring to Cal Poly.

  • Facilitator: Lanaya Gaberel, Employee and Organization Development
  • Time and Date: 12:00 – 1:00 pm on May 16
  • Location: 36-105

When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing [Video]

By Dan Pink

Everyone knows that timing is everything, but we don’t know much about timing itself. In When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing, Pink shows that timing is really a science. Pink distills cutting-edge research and data on timing; shares irresistible stories; and provides practical takeaways that deliver compelling insights into how we can live richer, more engaged lives.

  • Facilitator: Jeff Williams, Employee and Organization Development
  • Time and Dates: 12:00 – 1:00 pm on June 5
  • Location: 36-105

For more book circles, visit the Center for Teaching, Learning & Technology (CTLT).