Skillsoft Blog

Skillsoft Off the Shelf virtual book club—a new way to learn, share ideas and champion a culture…

By Mark Onisk

In a HBR piece, John Coleman says, “Reading is an essential component of leadership development. I’ve argued the benefits of reading extensively at HBR – broad and deep reading habits can sharpen intelligence, make you a better communicator, and improve emotional intelligence, among other benefits.”

He then goes on to elaborate the many reasons why he is such a big proponent of workplace book clubs, including what is probably my favorite reason, and that is how through group discussion we can gain a more diverse perspective. It is why, he explains, that at Harvard Business School students read a case or story collectively together and then discuss it to ensure everyone is made more aware of the variety of different perspectives people bring to a discussion, which in turn “can deepen understanding and help a group reach a more rounded decision.”

We agree.

We’ve taken the idea of the traditional book club and given it a digital makeover for the modern workforce. Our Skillsoft Off the Shelf digital book club that launched earlier this month will feature a monthly book selection accompanied by an exclusive discussion with the author. Titles are chosen specifically to align with trending topics, emerging business practices, provocative new ideas, or ground-breaking research—subjects that will get people talking, sharing, and practicing new ways to work together

Jocelyn Davis, a former consultant who has spent 25 years in the corporate learning industry, also is a firm believer in the power of workplace book clubs. But she adds an important caveat- discussion is critical. “Education of any kind needs guides and fellow students to share the journey — fellow explorers. It’s not enough to sit down and read a book. It’s not just soaking up great ideas, but taking the next step to find out what others think about the texts — who, by the way, you soon discover generate ideas you would never have imagined — and then taking the next step to apply the ideas. The book offers practical tools to help you take these ideas and use them on the job. No single individual can get the most out of these ideas without others to discuss problems and provide encouragement.”

With this in mind, we have developed a series of discussion questions for each book and then to help you promote Off the Shelf within your organization or team, we have designed some handy promotional tools.

We’re pleased to announce our initial line up of authors.

Andy Cunningham /


This month, We’re kicking off the book club with Andy Cunningham, author of Get to Aha!: Discover Your Positioning DNA and Dominate Your Competition. Andy Cunningham has been at the forefront of tech and innovation since day one, and she’s been helping companies create new product categories ever since. Now she reveals the winning framework she uses to transform markets and industries

Rajeev Peshawaria /


In January, we’re honored to have Rajeev Peshawaria. Join one of the world’s experts in leadership strategy as he makes the case for a change in leadership roles to align with today’s environment of high connectivity and transformational technology. Using his research of over 16,000 people around the world, Peshawaria offers practical guidance on how to overcome challenges and practical tools and techniques needed to source talent and innovate quickly in the open-source era

Wendy Sachs /


In February, Wendy Sachs offers insights and timely guidance for people, particularly women who find themselves facing a career or industry transition

Sachs distills practical guidance and lessons from interviews with numerous women who have successfully learned how to redefine their skills and their roles in a climate of constant market and organizational change.

John Sonmez /


In March, we’re featuring a conversation with John Sonmez, Need a roadmap for planning a successful path forward in IT development or programming?  Join popular blogger, author, instructor and creator of Simple Programmer as he offers advice and strategies for building yourself into a dynamite IT professional, including how to develop a balance of soft skills with technical prowess, understanding how to communicate with your team, interview tips and more.

Skillsoft Off the Shelf will provide a great opportunity for organizations to aspire and inspire, to get talking about current trends, strategies that could improve and just looking at their company through a new lens. Most importantly, this new program from Skillsoft will get your employees reading, sharing ideas, and reinforcing positive working relationships that will enhance your corporate culture while developing  a new way to learn together.

I’ve said it before, books are indispensable learning assets and what we take from them will only be enhanced through group collaboration and robust discussion of how the concepts apply in real-time, in the workplace.

Find out more about Skillsoft Off the Shelf.

Mark Onisk is the Senior Vice President of Books.


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