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THE TEN COMMANDMENTS FOR GREAT BOOKS DISCUSSION GROUPS


by Bill Baker

1.    Thou shalt come to a discussion group to exchange ideas, not to find a convenient forum for expounding thine own pre-conceived opinion.  This is the first and great commandment and the second is like unto it.

2.    Thou shalt read the book and take part in the discussion in a quest for understanding/wisdom, not a quest for confirmation of pre-conception.

3.    Thou shalt confine thy comments to the book or to what thou art certain is common knowledge, rather than flaunt thy expertise in esoteric subjects.

4.    Thou shalt not haul in personal anecdotes unless they are very short and very pertinent.

5.    Thou shalt listen to the other participants, not put in thy time impatiently waiting for them to finish so thou may expound.

6.    Thou shalt continue in the development of an interesting point someone else introduces rather than divert the thread of discussion to thine own fixation.

7.    Thou shalt not rely upon volume of sound and velocity of words as a substitute for coherence and content.

8.    Thou shalt not drag in outside authority nor historical reference which other participants may not know in order to evade discussion of the idea.

9.    Thou shalt read the book if thou wishest to speak.

10.                  Thou shalt be prepared to treat all with the courtesy thou wouldst wish for thyself and to laugh not only at others but also at thyself.

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