It was a bad habit. One tap on amazon and bang there it was on my kindle. I’d fleetingly read a review and, before I’d considered a sensible swipe-by, my curiosities or aspirations had slapped me round the face and it was too late. I’d become a heavy user.
We needed to fix our problem of starting but not finishing books and not getting any real value from what we wanted to read. Rebel Book Club was about to begin. Full story.
Returning to London Ben and I committed to doing this every month — one book, one meet-up, one cocktail — and we decided to invite people to join us.
Our first meet-up took place on the roof of Virgin HQ drinking Duppy Share rum in the Spring sunshine and talked about how intentional life-design to
A year on and we’d eaten our way through 12 mind-opening, habit-forming, career-shifting reads. Our 100+ members voted from a themed short-list of three each month. We started Sunday night ‘power hours’ (switch the wifi off and get your read on) and Mix & Muddle bespoke cocktail fuelled meet-ups across London’s best co-working and startup spaces including Airbnb, WeWork, Work Life & Huckletree. We breakdown what we’ve just read and hunt for clues that we can apply to our daily lives and mindsets. We try and focus our discussions around what the book can positively lead to, rather than whether we simply liked it or not. We also took our club on tour to Morocco!
By mid 2018 we'd grown to 350 active members and conquered 44 books (and cocktails) across a diverse set of themes and collectively read over 2.5 million pages. We piloted RBC in Oxford and Bristol, and in December joined forces with marketing guru Seth Godin.
As members spread from London they asked if they could take Rebel Book Club with them, so with a strict policy of only opening in cities beginning with B we followed their lead. Members start volunteering in schools with Bookmark Reading to help increase child literacy in the UK. Featured in Time Out, Indie Hackers, EU Startups, Crowdcube & The Bookseller.
At the end of 2019 we crowdfunded to take the club to the next level. Then Covid-19 landed and everyone went home. The good news is that reading, conversation & community is not cancelled and we now run 2 x remote meets a month with authors & experts that 250+ members attend a time.Since lockdown we've been featured in the Evening Standard, BBC 5 Live, BBC News, iNews & Time Magazine. We also saw our international membership expand with knowledge-hunters joining us from the US, Brazil, New Zealand, Algeria, UAE & Indonesia. August 2020: Published 'How We Choose What We Read' Reports. September 2020: "Inside Instagram's Coolest Book Club."
Now we do both: every month an in-person event in London and Bristol and a global digital gathering. We've been rolling out business events with Samsung, Allbirds, Audible and made a few stage appearances including Ideas Fest & Love Trails.
In amongst all this we've kept up our solid rhythm of a nonfiction book every month on a diverse range of themes, recently taking in: Earth Heroes, Breath Work, Narcos, Magic, Negotiation...and Life on Mars. Join us for more.
We are a lean, remote team passionate about nonfiction and connecting curious, fun people. Like many startups we all work on everything (books, business, community, tech, events).
"RBC was the answer to my old tsundoku problem (pile of books that never get read). 100 books later - RBC is still fulfilling its promise: read and discussa topic each month. But its the people I've met at RBC that have been the surprising highlight."
Discovery + Events
“I have never been a natural reader, I'm here for the socials, But I love what I learn from nonfiction books and talking to people about them after... RBC helps me finally finish my book stack and gives me an awesome group of people to bounce ideas with!”
"Whilst the last year has been a big challenge to pivot to an entirely digital proposition we’ve continued to grow, had some lovely press in The Evening Standard and made our first TV appearance on Sky Arts with Elizabeth Day. We've started to bring the RBC model to brands who want to bring something fresh to their L&D."
"I've always enjoyed reading but after joining RBC I became aware of books and topics I would have never discovered on my own. To ensure I get through all the books, I've made reading my procrastination strategy - I squeeze a chapter in whenever I need a break from work or life."
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* Not only that, we're gifting Rebel Hacks subscribers a free xigxag audiobook voucher when you sign up for a membership *