Join the Behavioral and Social Sciences Alumni Book Club, a virtual community to connect with fellow UMD alumni and enjoy books related to how social science and policy shape our world. Participation is free!

How it Works
The Behavioral and Social Sciences Alumni Book Club, known as the University of Maryland Social Sciences and Lifelong Learning Book Club, is an online community that reads books related to how social science and policy shape our world. Enjoy books and discussion related to a range of interesting topics including psychology, social justice, political science, human behavior and more. If you love learning across a range of topics then this book club is for you!

Why Join? 

1. Connect with Fellow Behavioral and Social Sciences Terps: Want to connect with intelligent, driven and interesting people? Joining one of our book clubs will introduce you to Terps across industries, generations and geographies to help you improve your network.

2. Advance your Career: A professional book club enhances your career on two fronts. First, the books you read will make you more effective in areas critical to success like leadership, communication and productivity. Second, the network you'll be building can help you with career advice, introducing you to the right people and finding your next job.

3. Reading is Good for You: Did you know business people who read at least seven business books per year earn over 230% more than people reading just one book per year? Or that reading improves your intelligence, reasoning ability and has been linked to reducing the chance of Alzheimer's? Joining one of our book clubs will help you read more and enjoy all the benefits that come with it.

Book covers

Frequently Asked Questions
How often will books be read, what is the time commitment and what are the expectations?
The book club will read one book every two months. The books selected will be popular psychology and social science books and take an average of six hours to read cover to cover. If you have between 15 and 30 minutes a week to read, you should be fine. There are no strict expectations on members for this virtual community; if you are particularly busy with work, family or other obligations and can't read one of the books, it's OK. If you can only read part of a book and contribute a little to the online discussion, that's OK, too. The goal of this program is to connect BSOS alumni together through important topics, so participate in a way that works for you.

Will there be any in-person meetings of the book clubs?
The book club will be online, so people can participate anywhere in the world. If there is interest, then people may form reading groups based on geography in order to have in-person discussions with fellow Terps.

Is there any cost to participate?
No. Participation is completely free for BSOS alumni! You are responsible for getting a copy of the book to read or listen to, but your local library should have most books for free.

How do book club discussions work?
The book club will have a moderator who manages the LinkedIn group where discussions occur online. The moderator will pose questions to the group, share relevant articles and encourage conversation about topics in the book. Members will be able to post and share as well. This format allows for ongoing conversation and makes it easy for alumni to connect with each other through LinkedIn.

What if I don't have a LinkedIn Profile?
We're using LinkedIn Groups to host the virtual book club, so it's easy to connect with fellow Terps. If you don't have a LinkedIn profile, you can make one for free at Just sign up and follow the easy instructions to make your profile.

What exactly is PBC Guru, and what do they have to do with the Behavioral and Social Sciences book clubs?
Professional Book Club (PBC) Guru is a company founded by two University of Maryland alumni to help businesses implement and manage professional reading programs. The Behavioral and Social Sciences is teaming up with PBC to put this program in place for alumni. You can check out their website at if you want to see more of what they do.

What if my question isn't answered?
Feel free to send an email to info [at] pbc [dot] guru and we'll be happy to help.

Join the Behavioral and Social Sciences Alumni Book Club



Rule Makers, Rule Breakers: How Tight and Loose Cultures Wire Our World by Michele Gelfand (April-May 2019)

Past Selections:

The Poisoned City: Flint's Water and the American Urban Tragedy by Anna Clark (February - March 2019)

The Line Becomes a River: Dispatches from the Border by Francisco Cantú (Dec. 2018 - Jan. 2019)

Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City by Matthew Desmond (Sept. -  Nov. 2018)

I Was Told to Come Alone: My Journey Behind the Lines of Jihad by Souad Mekhennet (July - August 2018)

The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander (May - June 2018)

Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End by Atul Gawande (March - April 2018)

Why Nations Fail: The Origins of Power, Prosperity, and Poverty by Daron Acemoglu and James Robinson (January - March 2018)

March: Book Three by John Lewis (October - December 2017)

Irresistible: The Rise of Addictive Technology and the Business of Keeping Us Hooked by Adam Alter (September - October 2017)

Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman (July - August 2017)

Quiet by Susan Cain (April - June 2017)

Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson (February - April 2017)