IOE - Faculty of Education and Society


IOE academic launches reading clubs for business executives

Dr Zachary Walker runs corporate reading groups to support managers' personal development and performance.

A woman wearing a red blouse and grey cardigan reads a book. (Photo: Hero Images / Adobe Stock)

Dr Walker has a PhD in Education, an MBA in International Business, an MA in English Language Learning and a BSc in Human Development. Drawing on this broad experience, he now focuses on innovative teaching and learning, inclusive leadership and neuroscience.

He also came up with the idea of an executive reading group. An avid reader, he cites the proven benefits of reading. 

"The science is very clear that reading heightens brain connectivity, reduces stress, leads to improved attention, working memory, sensory integration, creativity, and it increases our fluid reasoning and brain plasticity. In short, taking the time to read provides a competitive advantage by leading to better individual and organisational performance."

It's the notion of scheduling time to read that underpins the reading clubs. Leaders often think they don't have time to read business books. Dr Walker counters this by listing Warren Buffett, Bill Gates, Oprah Winfrey and Barack Obama - the highest achievers who make time to read and credit it with their success.

Business LDN (formerly London First) is a professional association with around 200 members. For over three decades, it has campaigned to keep London at the forefront of global business, working with, and for, the entire UK. Business LDN has advocated for the creation of the office of London Mayor, Transport for London and congestion charging. It also launched the UK's largest careers fair for school leavers and incubated Teach First.

Dr Walker has run reading clubs with Business LDN since January 2020. He works with leadership to select reading material in advance and facilitates the discussion. The club meets monthly over lunchtime. 

Dr Walker uses books, articles and reports as a springboard to valuable debate on key topics for a business. The reading clubs promote critical thought and enable challenging conversations. Business LDN's clubs have covered teamwork, change, negotiation skills, racial fluency and the future of work.

Image: Hero Images / Adobe Stock