The Fels Alumni Book Club

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December 6, 2017

The Fels Alumni Book Club is a regularly-scheduled group that discusses books covering important topics related to public service and politics. Learn more below:

The Fels Institute of Government prides itself in maintaining strong relationships with its diverse alumni and continuously providing them with opportunities for networking, engagement, and ongoing education. One such opportunity, offered for the first time this year, is the quarterly Fels Alumni Book Club: a free-to-join group of Fels graduates who come together regularly to discuss pieces of literature relevant to the work of modern public administrators.

Founded by recent alumna Renya Wasson, Executive MPA ‘17, this group was created as a way to both keep alumni connected and to encourage their continued exploration of important political and public service topics. The meetings are held on Penn's campus where alumni, faculty, and students discuss the book over wine, cheese, and other light refreshments. Alumni located outside of the Philadelphia area can participate in the conversation from anywhere in the world via online video conferencing software or telephone. 

Shortly after each meeting, the next book is selected from a list of participant-submitted suggestions and is subsequently announced to all interested alumni, who are invited to read it at their leisure. Past books discussed include “Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City," by Matthew Desmond and “The Gatekeepers,” by Chris Whipple. Alumni-suggested books for future discussion include:

  • “The New Jim Crow” by Michelle Alexander
  • “The Retreat of Western Liberalism” by Edward Luce
  • “If Mayors Ruled the World” by Benjamin Barber
  • “No is Not Enough” by Naomi Klein
  • “Man’s Search for Meaning” by Viktor Frankl
  • “The Evangelicals: The Struggle to Shape America” by Frances Fitzgerald
  • “My Own Words” by Ruth Bader Ginsburg
  • “Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood” by Trevor Noah
  • “Destiny of the Republic” by Candice Millard
  • “How Will You Measure Your Life” by Clayton M. Christensen et al.
  • “Visual Intelligence” by Amy Herman
  • “Leadership and Self-Deception” by the Arbinger Institute
  • and many others!

The next meeting date and book will be announced soon, so keep an eye out for more information in Fels social media posts and email newsletters. All alumni are invited to read and attend, so please join us at our next meeting--we would love to have you!

For more information about the Alumni Book Club or to offer book suggestions, please contact Assistant Director Cassie Tomkins at For a full list of books suggested for the alumni book club click here.

Fels Institute of Government

The Fels Institute of Government
3814 Walnut St. 
Philadelphia, PA 19104

(215) 898-7326

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