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 to four sessions. Participants receive a complimentary copy of the selected book with the expectation that they will engage in two or more 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!


Daring Greatly [Book Circle]

By Brené Brown
Every day we experience the uncertainty, risks, and emotional exposure that define what it means to be vulnerable or to dare greatly. Based on twelve years of pioneering research, Brené Brown PhD, LMSW, dispels the cultural myth that vulnerability is weakness and argues that it is, in truth, our most accurate measure of courage. Brown explains how vulnerability is both the core of difficult emotions like fear, grief, and disappointment, and the birthplace of love, belonging, joy, empathy, innovation, and creativity. Daring Greatly is a practice and a powerful new vision for letting ourselves be seen.

Please select Register to see all session dates.

  • Facilitators: Lanaya Gaberel, Employee and Organization Development
  • Time and Date: February 15 - February 29 | 11:00 AM - 12:00 PM
  • Location: Zoom

The Power of Habit [Learning Circle]

By Charles Duhigg

In this ingenious talk, Pulitzer Prize winning writer Charles Duhigg seamlessly combines informational facts from research, anecdotes from real events, and personal experience with insightful observations to explain why human behaviors are compelled by habit. Citing research evidence supporting the positive effects of willpower on long-term decision-making, Duhigg encourages listeners to teach willpower by supporting the mindful contemplation of consequences and resisting impulses that otherwise result in persistent habits.

  • Facilitators: Jeff Williams, Employee and Organization Development
  • Time and Date: February 27 | 11:00 AM - 12:00 PM
  • Location: Zoom

Hidden Potential: The Science of Achieving Greater Things [Book Circle]

By Adam Grant
Imagine if you could peel back the layers of what you believe about talent and success to reveal a whole new paradigm—one that empowers every individual to reach for the extraordinary. Discover the secrets to unlocking your true potential with our Book Circle featuring "Hidden Potential," a revolutionary guide that weaves together groundbreaking evidence, surprising insights, and vivid storytelling. Adam Grant shows us that progress depends less on how hard you work than how well you learn. Growth is not about the genius you possess—it's about the character you develop. Grant explores how to design systems that create opportunities for those who have been underrated and overlooked. Whether you're looking to break barriers, inspire change, or simply find a more joyful path to progress, "Hidden Potential" is your gateway to a new world of possibilities.

Please select Register to see all session dates.

  • Facilitators: Jeff Williams, Employee and Organization Development
  • Time and Date: March 07 - March 21 | 11:00 AM - 12:00 PM
  • Location: Zoom

ChatGPT's astonishing potential [Learning Circle]

By Greg Brockman
In a talk from the cutting edge of technology, OpenAI cofounder Greg Brockman explores the underlying design principles of ChatGPT and demos some mind-blowing, unreleased plug-ins for the chatbot that sent shockwaves across the world.

  • Facilitators: Jeff Williams, Employee and Organization Development
  • Time and Date: April 03 | 11:00 AM - 12:00 PM
  • Location: Zoom

The Happiness Advantage [Book Circle]

By Shawn Achor
Discover the transformative power of positivity and success with Shawn Achor's groundbreaking book, "The Happiness Advantage." In this compelling guide, Achor explores the profound impact of cultivating happiness on personal and professional achievement. Drawing on extensive research and real-world examples, the author unveils the undeniable link between a positive mindset and enhanced productivity, creativity, and resilience. Achor's engaging storytelling and practical strategies will empower you to harness the happiness advantage, unlocking your full potential and reshaping your approach to challenges. Whether you're seeking to boost your career, improve relationships, or simply lead a more fulfilling life, join us on a journey to a brighter and more successful future!

Please select Register to see all session dates.

  • Facilitators: Dani Gaeta, Employee and Organization Development
  • Time and Date: April 10 - May 01 | 02:00 PM - 03:00 PM
  • Location: Zoom

Blindspot [Book Circle]

By Mahzarin R. Banaji and Anthony G. Greenwald
Our mental processes can affect what we think and do, even without our conscious awareness. This book guides us into revealing these "Blindspot" in order to better understand how they influence our thoughts and actions. Written by distinguished psychologists and co-creators of the Implicit Association Test, Banaji and Greenwald, this book uses stimulating exercises and illustrative examples to explore unconscious bias and strategies for reducing it in the workplace, classroom, and beyond. If you would like a glimpse into your unconscious mind and have an interest in better aligning your behaviors with your intentions, please join us for this enlightening read and discussion.

Please select Register to see all session dates.

  • Facilitators: Lanaya Gaberel, Employee & Organization Development
  • Time and Date: April 16 - April 30 | 01:30 PM - 02:30 PM
  • Location: Zoom

Anatomy of a Breakthrough: How to Get Unstuck When It Matters Most [Book Circle]

Adam Alter
Almost everyone feels stuck in some way. Whether you're muddling through a midlife crisis, wrestling writer's block, trapped in a thankless job, or trying to remedy a fraying friendship, the resulting emotion is usually a mix of anxiety, uncertainty, fear, anger, and numbness. But it doesn't have to be this way. Anatomy of a Breakthrough is the roadmap we all need to escape our inertia and flourish in the face of friction. Artfully weaving together scientific studies, anecdotes, and interviews, Alter teaches us that getting stuck is a feature rather than a glitch on the road to thriving, but with the right tweaks and corrections we can reach even our loftiest targets.

Please select Register to see all session dates.

  • Facilitators: Jeff Williams, Employee & Organization Development
  • Time and Date: May 09 - May 30 | 11:00 AM - 12:00 PM
  • Location: Zoom

When to take a stand—and when to let it go [Learning Circle]

By Ash Beckham
Ash Beckham, speaker and author of Step Up: How to Live with Courage and Become an Everyday Leader, shares a personal story where she found herself in a situation that made her ask: who am I? She felt pulled between two roles — as an aunt and as an advocate. Each of us feels this struggle sometimes, she says — and offers bold suggestions for how to stand for how to stand up for your moral integrity when it isn't convenient. Join us as we view the recorded Ted Talk then engage in rich discussion about her story, her suggestions and the role we can play at Cal Poly.

  • Facilitators: Lanaya Gaberel, Employee and Organization Development
  • Time and Date: May 09 | 02:30 PM - 03:30 PM
  • Location: Zoom

The Happiness Advantage: Linking Positive Brains to Performance [Learning Circle]

By Shawn Achor
We may be primed to believe we should work hard in order to be happy, but could we be thinking about things backwards? Often happiness remains just over the horizon. In this fast-paced and humorous talk, psychologist Shawn Achor argues that being happy now is what inspires our peak performance. Learn to leverage the happiness advantage for greater resilience and overall well-being. We can change the formula and positivity can become our strategic advantage. Join us as we discuss how changing our lens can change our world!

  • Facilitators: Dani Gaeta, Employee and Organization Development
  • Time and Date: May 30 | 02:00 PM - 03:00 PM
  • Location: Zoom

The Center for Teaching, Learning, and Technology (CTLT) also hosts book circles each quarter and you can learn more about their offerings by selecting “Book Circles” on their Programs and Services webpage at: https://ctlt.calpoly.edu/programs-services.