The club has three rules: 1. Each member must bring one interesting topic of conversation on any topic in the form of a question. 2. In the interest of encouraging ideas and conversation, each member must not ridicule or deride an opinion too strongly. 3. Each member must occasionally write a short essay or argument to read to the group.
The club is modeled on Benjamin Franklin's club of the same name:
"As a young [Franklin] was interested in all sorts of intellectual pursuits—philosophy, science, invention, writing, the arts, and so on—and he wished to encourage his own development in those areas. So at twenty-one he recruited eleven of the most intellectually interesting people in Philadelphia to form a mutual improvement club, which he named “the Junto.” The club’s members...would encourage each other’s various intellectual pursuits. Every member was expected to bring at least one interesting topic of conversation—on morals, politics, or science—to each meeting. The topics, which were generally phrased as questions, were to be discussed by the group “in the sincere spirit of inquiry after truth, without fondness for dispute or desire of victory.” In order to keep the discussions open and collaborative, the Junto’s rules strictly forbade anyone from contradicting another member or expressing an opinion too strongly. And once every three months each member of the Junto had to compose an essay—on any topic whatsoever—and read it to the rest of the group, which would then discuss it. One purpose of the club was to encourage the members to engage with the intellectual topics of the day. By creating the club Franklin not only ensured himself regular access to some of the most interesting people in the city, but he was giving himself extra motivation (as if he needed any) to delve into these topics himself. Knowing that he was expected to ask at least one interesting question each week and that he would also be answering others’ questions gave him extra impetus to read and examine the most urgent and intellectually challenging matters in contemporary science, politics, and philosophy."
Ericsson, Anders; Pool, Robert (2016-04-05). Peak: Secrets from the New Science of Expertise (Kindle Locations 2804-2810). Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Kindle Edition.