Behavior Design Anti-Book Club

After reading behavior designer Samuel Salzer's post on 100 Books to Become A Behavioral Designer, I wanted to have all that knowledge in my brain as soon as possible. As one of his follower’s posted, whether you want to be a behavioral designer, a change agent for your organization, a more competent public health professional, a better you, or just a more interesting dinner companion, then this is for you. “Behavioral Design is the practice of designing for behavior change.”

But how do you read all 100 books in short order?

Enter the Anti-Book Club.

Developed by productivity expert Tiago Forte, The Anti-Book Club turns the traditional book club around. Instead of each person reading the same book, everyone reads a different book and shares their individual summary to the group.

Here's how Forte describes it in his step-by-step instructions for running an Anti-Book Club:

  • Books contain valuable ideas, but are too long, boring, and diluted with extraneous information

  • We need a way for different people to read different books, and then share the key points with each other

  • Progressive summarization provides a way to do so in a format that provides enough context for it to make sense and be useful

  • It doesn’t replace reading the full text, but allows your future self to remember what you’ve learned, and helps others to make better decisions about what to read

After going through the experience twice with Forte's own Anti-Book Club, I was hooked on the value we can collectively bring to each other in a relatively short time. So, my goal is to run his Anti-Book Club format so everyone involved can read all 100 books on Salzer's list.

Here's How It'll Work:

  1. Sign Up to Read a Specific Book
    Complete this short form to gain access to the anti-book club. Once completed, you’ll receive an email with access to a spreadsheet of all the books. Put your name down next to the book you want to read and start reading.

  2. Progressive Summarize Your Book by November 1st
    This is a way to standardize the summaries we will all share. Here's the basic format:

1. First, download the book on Kindle

2. As you're reading the book, highlight good passages that resonate for you. I also recommend highlighting chapter titles and any lists as those often gives great context when reviewing your notes. (Layer 1)

3. Export the notes from Kindle. There are many ways to do this, and I use Bookcision. Then go to and select the book. It’s a quick drag and drop. Readwise is another solution.

4. After you export the notes, place them in a file in Evernote. This is the tool we will use to share our notes with each other.

5. Now go back through the Evernote file and bold the best parts of each excerpt. (Layer 2)

6. Go back through the Evernote file again and highlight the best of the best. (Layer 3)

7. At the top of note, summarize the book in 5–20 bullet points, using your own words. (Layer 4)

8. Save this note template to your Evernote account, answer the questions for your book, and paste your summarized notes at the bottom (here’s a completed example) - thanks Tiago!

9. Right-click the note and click “Copy shareable link”

10. Email the link to me. My address will be in the email along with the list of books.

3. Join The Slack Group
This will be used for coordinating and questions as we compile the summaries. Slack details will be in the email after you sign up.

4. I compile all the summaries and share them with everyone who’s contributed

5. Additional guidelines that may be helpful:
I highly recommend reading Forte's overview of the Anti-Book Club as I'll be following that pretty closely. Here's some of his helpful hints:

  • Highlight lists, headings (especially chapter headings), and additional reading recommendations

  • Include images and diagrams (either by taking a screenshot of the ebook page, or taking a photo of the paper page, and inserting it at the appropriate spot)

6. We’ll hold a debrief meeting and review what we’ve learned (to be scheduled)

Next step:

Sign up here to get access to the spreadsheet to select your book from Salzer's list of 100 Books to Become A Behavioral Designer.