Few are strangers to failure. But Elon University’s book club, Read and Lead, selected this year’s book, “Failing Forward,” to teach students how to learn from failures and improve upon them.
The Read and Lead program invites students to join a book club concerning leadership development. Those who register for the program can pick up the book at the Center for Leadership.
So far, 14 students have registered for this year’s program, but any are welcome to join, according to junior Immanuel Bryant, organizational development director for the Center for Leadership.
“As college students, we’ve all experienced failure,” Bryant said. “This book teaches students how to move forward and rebound from those failures.”
“Failing Forward,” by John C. Maxwell, was proposed for this year’s reading by Michelle Kusel, assistant director for the Center for Leadership, according to junior Mat Goldberg, senior director of the program.
“She recommended it after reading it and realizing many Elon students can gain valuable insights from it,” Goldberg said.
The book provides a step-by-step process for its audience to follow regarding how to move forward from failure, Bryant said. It contains key quotes that are easily relatable, according to Bryant.
“Not all readers are leaders,” he said. “But all leaders are readers. Reading gives you the ability to see the next step before it happens.”
The Read and Lead book club originated when Bryant sent an email to “student leaders,” which refers to students who are presidents or executive members of student organizations, to gauge students’ interest in starting a book club. From there, a pilot program was developed and the club read Jonathon Sprinkle’s book titled “Be the One” last semester.
This year, the club seeks to promote discussion about the book through multiple outlets. According to Bryant, the program will allow students to reflect on the book through free writing and articulate discussion that help students to write with clarity and purpose.
“Each meeting will have exercises and simulations related to the book,” Bryant said. “I’ve developed a reading guide for the book and I hope to keep it as an option for the following years.”
Students’ experience in last year’s reading program foreshadows success for this semester.
“Students really enjoyed coming together to discuss the book and found conversation organic and insightful,” Goldberg said, describing the group that participated last semester. “But for this year, we were committed to choosing a book more focused on leadership.”
This year’s book choice and the act of reading come together to teach students how to lead, Bryant said.
“For those who want to lead, read,” he said.