Alumni Experience Testimonials

John MacCarthy

Landowner Technical Lead, Ervia

The book circle was infinitely better than and different to what I thought it would be. It was something that was life changing. I thought I was going to be doing something I wouldn’t enjoy and that it was going to socialise my mind back to how the captains of the industry think but it did exactly the opposite.

The most interesting aspect of the Book Circle was the incredibly well structured selection of books that I would not have thought I’d come across otherwise, but besides that, the crucial part of the books was the group sessions and discussions. Hearing everyone’s interpretation of the books and having a shared experience of interpreting the books, that combined effort of distilling messages from the books was crucial. How do you separate the dancer from the dance? There was the group sessions and the books, and they were both critical.

The Book Circle is for people who enjoy thinking and questioning. Especially for people of a certain age where they have had certain life experiences built up, so that they can have enough experience that they can question with this new search light tool of the book club, and also enough challenges confronting them in the future, to equally utilise the tool.

My truthful answer would be everyone though.

Tallyne Vasconcelos

Junior Automation Engineer, Horizon Control Group

I had just moved to Ireland so I wanted to connect with people outside of work and I liked reading, so I saw it as an opportunity to engage with reading in a different way. Doing the Book Circle, I really liked the discussions, especially how they surprised me, the approach of the discussions.

The book circle definitely changed the way that I read, not just my approach and the reading but the way that I interpret things and how I try to understand what the author is trying to tell me, including questioning things a lot more. I would recommend this book club to any kind of person who is trying to grow, personally or professionally and in that way trying to become a better person or trying to understand the world a little bit better.

Helen Murphy

Corporate Planning Director, Statsols

I really liked the choice of books, they were difficult but ones I had never read before, or picked up off the shelf. I also loved the social side, listening to other peoples’ takes on what we read and the buddy system we set up. It’s one of the best things I ever did.

It was a way to do continuous education without being tied down too much, something that would stretch my mind without being overly demanding in relation to class or homework time. It also thought me to be disciplined about my reading and to set time to do that. I am now less quick to jump to conclusions, I would be more cautious about making snap decisions, but also more confident in making judgements about situations and other people’s involvement in those situations. I would recommend it to someone who is mature and able to see the world from different perspectives, not someone looking for a quick fix. Someone looking for personal development, looking for your own answers.

Freda Mills

Principal, Kilcolman NS

A lot of professional and personal development courses are about questions and answers. This was nothing like that, it was about open ended questions and discussions, which threw me off at first, but it makes you think on a deeper level.

I liked Connell’s phrase: “don’t listen to have an answer ready, listen to understand”. It’s more than getting an answer from a book and putting it on paper. I would definitely recommend the book club to open minded people who are willing to develop themselves FOR themselves, not so much for those who want to get a piece of paper at the end of it. It was unique, challenging, foreword thinking and creative.

Brian Twohig

Operations Manager, Dell

We were never told what to think about a particular book, it was more about what we thought ourselves. At first, it was challenging to open up to a new group of people and to actually come out with “this is what I actually think”. That was interesting.

And the challenging of how we think and how we formulate our thoughts, I thought that was really good as well. Trying to go behind the veneer and your initial reactions to get to something deeper underneath. It’s not every day you have conversations like that. Ordinarily you wouldn’t be exposed to those conversations or those books either. One of the take-aways that I got from it was the whole idea that if you have different perspective to somebody else, quite often it’s not that you are in conflict with that person, your ideas are in conflict. Try to see from their perspective and more importantly, or as importantly, think about your own perspective. I think about that more regularly. Why do I have a particular perspective? Do you hold your perspective or does your perspective hold you?—that stuck with me.

I would recommend the book club to people with a curiosity. If you are looking for answers, you will be in trouble, but if you are looking for a method or an approach, that’s key. There might be an answer today, and that won’t fit the question tomorrow. But if you have a well-rounded approach you can adapt. Challenging, enjoyable, insightful, genuinely good fun, I used to really look forward to the sessions. A great experience, would love to do another one.