How do you get folks to come to book-reading meeting?

During LambdaDays’ ReactDay I’ve been to Gleb’s presentation on journey to Reactive JS, where he showed what steps he is taking to make a JS programmer travel from imperative JS to reactive one. It was a nice and clean presentation which I liked and can heartily recommend. During Q&A I asked Gleb a question, which he later on expanded into a better one, here.

One can summarize the dialog as follows:

My question: Which step of the journey was met with most objections?
Gleb’s answer: I had trouble abandoning the returned values, especially as we switched to promises. Other people had difficulty there as well.
His expansion: How can you overcome any potential objection to the functional way of javascript programming in your team?
His answer to expanded question: Instead of giving a new employee a book on functional javascript, and telling him / her to read it, we have a book club for all interested current employees. Everyone who wants to learn or refresh the advanced javascript techniques is welcome to read a chapter from “JavaScript Allonge” or some other book every week and meet to discuss it.
My follow-up question (this post): how do you get folks to come to book-reading meeting?

Full context

For full context you may want to learn more about Gleb’s original preso. In a nutshell, it showed a number of steps you can make to take a procedural programming JavaScripter and step by step, with stops along the way, transform the way he programs, till he’s a reactive JavaScripter. Along the way you “bore down” his programming style, so that he avoids things that may surprise you (think == and !== or this), encourage him to move from procedures to functions, to compose program of functions and make functions arguments to other functions, skip returns altogether in favour of promises etc. etc.

So, my original question was which step was most problematic, and the answer was “skipping returns and switching to promises”.

Expanded question and it’s answer and my follow-up question

Gleb’s post on overcoming any obstacle, raises a bar somewhat higher. He has (rightly!) decided, that while his answer was specific to the question, still problem might manifest for others during yet another step of the journey. So, he took the right way out: general solution, the book-reading meetings. Let me quote the most relevant part of his post here again:

instead of giving a new employee a book on functional javascript, and telling him / her to read it, we have a book club for all interested current employees. Everyone who wants to learn or refresh the advanced javascript techniques is welcome to read a chapter from “JavaScript Allonge” or some other book every week and meet to discuss it.

Part with emphasis (his, not mine) caught my eye. It’s for “all _interested_ current employees” (now emphasis’ mine). So, how do you make them interested? 🙂 I’m asking because Gleb’s answer is quite like mine! I, too, wanted my colleagues to pick up FP more, wanted them to know about Java more, wanted them to use other things and do other things and read other things.

So, to make that happen, I did number of things, including a book-reading club (SCKRK), FP group (Lambda Lounge Kraków) and other presentations (i.e. on Polish Java User Group events or during work-hours, inside the company).

And the results were… mixed. For the book-reading club – not as high as I’d have hoped.

Perhaps… or more on results

So, what results I’ve seen? Well, while some folks indeed participated in the meetings, most wouldn’t. I can offer several why’s and perhaps why’s:

  1.  enthusiasm for knowledge wasn’t high enough – a very basic and one can argue always true answer
  2. location, location, location – if it ain’t in the office, ain’t during work hours, I’ll have to commute someplace extra, sacrifice extra time – this one is reinforced by the fact that all meetings during work-hours in the office were much more frequently attended by my work colleagues then those outside (both time- and place-wise).
  3. another group? yet another subscription? How’s group A different from group A’ or group B for that matter? What do I learn first? What’s more important? Gleb’s reading-club is JS-focused, it’s usefulness for their work – natural and self-explanatory. SCKRK or Lambda in my case – not so much.

So, I wonder now, what can be done more? What worked for you?

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