My novel, Playing the Game, makes a good selection both for book clubs and for work groups wanting a unique discussion tool. It is a quick read in a realistic corporate setting, with characters like the people we’ve all met in our own workplaces.
The mid-size structure of the PlayLand organization depicted in the novel make it relevant for employees in most work settings. Whether you work in a small business environment or in a large national organization, whether you are a manager or a line employee, you will find elements of your workplace in this book. The story offers an opportunity for a rich conversation on management, corporate politics, and the people we see daily whom we all love to hate.
Here are the discussion questions in the back of the novel. If any of these questions interest you, recommend this book to your book club and/or to your HR department.
1. The epigraph in this book is a quote from Winston Churchill: “Play the game for more than you can afford to lose . . . only then will you learn the game.” Which characters in Playing the Game played for more than they could afford to lose? Which held back? Does this epigraph fit the theme of the book?
2. Which characters in Playing the Game changed the most during the course of the story? In what ways did they change?
3. Which characters did you admire most? Least?
4. Which of the characters was most like your favorite boss? Which was like your least favorite boss? How have you managed both good and bad bosses?
5. Which character in this book was the best leader? Which character would you most want to work for? Is the same character the best leader and your preferred boss?
6. Does this book say anything to you about balancing work and family time?
7. Have you ever worked for a business that faced serious problems like PlayLand did? How did your employer deal with those problems? What advice do you have for the PlayLand executives?
8. Have you or someone you’ve known ever been laid off? Have you had to lay off employees you managed? What impact did the layoff have on both the employees who were let go and the survivors?
9. What were some of the unique challenges of working in a family-owned business described in this book—for the family members and for those who worked for them?
10. In what ways did the relationships between the PlayLand vice-presidents work well? In what ways were they dysfunctional? How do you think these relationships could have been improved?
11. Which of the business functions portrayed in the book (Product Development, Operations, Marketing, Finance, Legal, and Human Resources) contributed the most to PlayLand? Which were stumbling blocks to progress?
12. What aspects of corporate life were described realistically in this novel? Which seemed unrealistic?