Book and chair

UCSF Alumni Virtual Book Club

Connect with fellow alumni while enjoying books on health care and science! 

There is no cost to participate – you only need a copy of the book to enjoy. 

Already a member? Log in to the online forum!

How does it work?
The book club will meet through a private online forum where people can discuss the current book and connect with each other. The group will spend two months on each book, so you'll have plenty of time to read.

Sign up (or learn more). 

Why should I join?
Join to connect with fellow UCSF alumni, to advance your career, and learn from the expertise and perspectives of fellow book club members. 

Join today. 

What have you read?
In our inaugural year of 2019, we started with The Telomere Effect by Elizabeth Blackburn and Elissa Epel, followed by Bad Blood by John Carreyrou; Dopesick by Beth Macy; Irresistible by Adam Alter; and 21 Lessons for the 21st Century by Yuval Noah Harari.

Throughout 2020, we read Maybe You Should Talk to Someone by Lori Gottlieb; Elderhood by Louise Aronson; a “choose your own” option (Lifespan by David A. Sinclair; The Culture Code by Daniel Coyle; and/or Range by David Epstein); The Sixth Extinction by Elizabeth Kolbert; and The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander.

In 2021, we studied and discussed Brief Answers to the Big Questions by Stephen Hawking; The Great Believers by Rebecca Makkai; The Beauty in Breaking by Michele Harper; Factfulness by Hans Rosling with Ola Rosling and Anna Rosling Rönnlund; and A Good Provider Is One Who Leaves by Jason DeParle.

How are books chosen?
Unless otherwise noted, our members vote for their favorite book option before each reading period begins. See the timeline near the bottom of this page to find out when the next voting period will begin. 

How often will books be read, what is the time commitment, and what are the expectations?
We will spend about two months on each book, reading five books per year. Books will take an average of nine hours to read cover to cover. If you have between one to two hours a week to read, you can make it happen!

How do book club discussions work?
The book club will be moderated by a Professional Book Club (PBC) Guru moderator who manages the forum and provides additional content  related to the book. The moderator will pose questions to the group, share relevant articles and facilitate conversation about topics in the book. Members will be encouraged to post and share as well. This format allows for ongoing conversation and makes it easy for readers to connect with each other through the forum.

What exactly is PBC Guru and what do they have to do with the Book Club?
PBC Guru is a book club management company that partners with businesses, alumni associations and professional societies. Check out their website to learn more. 

What is the projected timeline for reading, voting, and announcing the next book?


Reading Period

Voting Period*

Next Book Announced

Book 1: An Elegant Defense

Jan. 6 – March 10

Dec. 20

Feb. 11

Book 2: Cultish

March 18 – May 20

March 1

May 16

Book 3: Never Home Alone

May 27 – July 28

May 1

June 23

Book 4: The Code Breaker

Aug. 5 – Oct. 7

Aug. 6

Sept. 26

Book 5: Hidden Valley Road Oct. 14 – Dec. 15 TBD TBD

*To vote on the next book, you must join the book club by this date.

Do you have a list of books written by UCSF-affiliated authors?
We do have a list of recent books written by UCSF-affiliated authors, which is updated typically in January and July each year, to highlight and celebrate. If you have written a book recently, tell us about it!

See what we're reading now – and sign up to join the group!
Learn more