What Happens In Book Club Doesn’t Stay in Book Club

This past week I had the opportunity of appearing as the guest of honor at a first-ever book club hosted by the Hanover YWCA located in Hanover, PA. The event was born out of a meeting this past May sponsored by York Traditions Bank where a group of 100 women gathered together to learn how to raise the bar on life.

I say I was the guest of honor because the club chose my book, Beyond Tremendousfor their inaugural discussion. We discussed the biggest challenges of leadership, the importance of character, integrity, compassion and vision, how passion makes us who we are and how to quit acting tremendous and start being tremendous.

I fell in love with books and words and the interaction that happens when people gather to share when I was a child. I would sit at the table after a meal, sometimes at home, and often at an event where my father had taken us along. All around me were individuals sharing the impact of people and books in their lives. I remember being fascinated by how rich these interactions were, how brave they were to lead organizations and build companies or ministries, and travel to faraway lands, and how smart they were based on what they were sharing. I hoped that someday, I could gather beautiful people around me to discuss life-changing books.

Someone would share what they had read, and how it had radically altered their lives. Many times, books served as a rebuke, allowing the reader to reboot and then "rebeaut"ify their life. My father, Charlie "Tremendous" Jones, said that learning makes us smart and proud; but unlearning makes us humble and wise. He maintained that the person who picks up a book is never the same as when they put it down. So here I was at book club watching these women transform before my eyes and ears.

So just what is the miracle of books? Books scratch you where you itch. There’s even a school of psychology called Bibliotherapy which is a therapeutic approach that uses literature to support good mental health. Books are way cheaper than a psychiatrist, and you don't need an appointment! People are hungry for answers in their lives. And the answers are literally at our fingertips in the constant presence of a book. A word, a thought, can send you into the next season. One book can generate countless epiphanies and remove the veil from your eyes to previously unrecognized options.

Books can even save your life. I should know, they’ve saved mine numerous times. When I was too broken or depressed to utter a word, I knew where to turn. When you read, you become a greater version of yourself than you were before. You will eventually be able to see both sides of the equation, and that is power. You gain the ability to answer the big questions of life and, most importantly, you gather the insights to be the best version of you.

With everyone clamoring about what’s wrong with the world today, there’s one solution that’s rarely suggested: reading. They tell me it’s too old school, that people’s attention spans can’t focus for that long, that everyone is too busy with digital addictions and surfing online to take the time to read. Well then, they’re never going to find what they are looking for.

In his poem, Nothing Gold Can Stay, author Robert Frost laments the loss of youth and innocence that besets us all. Many of us long for the chance to go back in our lives to a time when we experienced joy and freedom and trust. The world beats us down through moral inertia, spiritual apathy, and physical exhaustion. Books, and most importantly, dear people talking about books, can renew our spirits and our minds.

The book club is off to a tremendous start, and we look forward to our next discussion!! If you'd like to join us or start a book club in your town or organization, drop me a line, because you know I'd just love to help!!

Always remember the mantra of the greatest bookaholic of all time, my father, who said, “You’ll be the same person in five years as you are today except for the people you meet and the books you read”.


Beyond tremendousBibliotherapyBook clubCharacterCharlie "tremendous" jonesCompassionCorporate readingHanover ywcaIntegrityLeadershipMental healthPersonal developmentRaising the bar on lifeReadingTremendousTremendous leadershipYork traditions bankYwca


Ann Lovett Baird

Ann Lovett Baird

Truly answers are in the pages of a book, if only by way of encouraging the reader to think differently.

Joy Schmidt

Joy Schmidt

So true Tracey! Books are the difference between knowing and thinking that you know. Whether to learn and grow or to relax and rejuvenate, books are the most cost effective and valuable resource we have!

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