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The Art of Gathering: How We Meet and Why It Matters
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The Art of Gathering: How We Meet and Why It Matters

3.99  ·  Rating details ·  7,923 ratings  ·  1,160 reviews
A transformative exploration of the power, purpose, and benefits of gatherings in our lives: at work, at school, at home and beyond.

Every day we find ourselves in gatherings, Priya Parker says in The Art of Gathering. If we can understand what makes these gatherings effective and memorable, then we can reframe and redirect them to benefit everyone, host and guest alike. Pa
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published May 15th 2018 by Riverhead Books
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Tali I highlighted this part when I was reading. Here are the questions for reference:

'...“Conversation Menu” that led the pairs through six “courses” of t…more
I highlighted this part when I was reading. Here are the questions for reference:

'...“Conversation Menu” that led the pairs through six “courses” of talk. Under the heading of “Starters” were questions like “How have your priorities changed over the years?” and “How have your background and experience limited or favoured you?” Under “Soups” was an invitation to ask, “Which parts of your life have been a waste of time?” Under “Fish”: “What have you rebelled against in the past and what are you rebelling against now?” Under “Salads”: “What are the limits of your compassion?”'

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Average rating 3.99  · 
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 ·  7,923 ratings  ·  1,160 reviews

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Justin Tate
May 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
How to Win Friends and Gather People

Everyone needs this book! Whether you’re hosting a birthday party, a major business conference or just looking to improve people skills, these guiding theories on gathering are essential.

Priya understands the magic that happens when people get together for a purpose, and she also understands how miserable it can be without proper planning. Her examples are vast and eye-opening, and she presents her theories with humor and grace.

I rarely read non-fiction, and w
Nov 02, 2018 rated it it was ok
If anyone is familiar with 'The Good Place', it honestly feels like Tahani wrote this in an unironic way. ...more
Shannon Hong
Jul 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mindblown, business
Transformative. Ha. But I’m serious.

This book reframes the way I think about gathering people and hosting events.

My key lessons:
1. Chill is overrated: meaningful events require structure and direction
2. Open and close with purpose— set the stage and allow guests to reflect in the event itself
3. More is not necessarily merrier, be selective and scrutinizing with the people you invite

My only beef might be with the writing, but it’s definitely made up for by the content
Caiti S
Nov 03, 2018 rated it liked it
Marginally better than a similar book I read recently titled Belong by Radha Agrawal. As a professional meeting facilitator, Priya Parker has real experience in creating meaningful gatherings and goes through many examples in the book. The tips I took away have to do with defining a clear purpose for your event, being an intentional host, inviting vulnerability in your guests through priming them prior to the event, and establishing specific rituals around welcoming and saying goodbye to guests. ...more
Sep 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is probably going to be a book I revisit; I found the lessons pretty invaluable. It reframed gathering for me- whether for a casual dinner, a work meeting, or an event you're hosting. There's an importance of individuals coming together, whether to enjoy life or to create something, that is often lost because we get so used to the routine of meeting for work or for fun. The Art of Gathering is fresh air that can breathe life back into the experience.

Another thing that I loved about this bo
May 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Such a great book about all sorts of gatherings--corporate meetings, dinner parties, book clubs. I learned a lot and this book has already affected how I think about my meetings, book clubs, dinner parties, and even classroom dynamics.
jasmine sun
Sep 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: self-help
most books on “people skills” revolve around self-promotion: how to be liked, how to mitigate anxiety, etc.

i never realized how much we’ve lacked advice for making others feel comfortable, engaged, and authentic in social and business gatherings.

this book guides readers through exactly that.
Jessica Jin
Sep 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is the most important book I have ever read. It has transformed the way I think about what truly has to go into creating meaningful and impactful experiences out of every meeting amongst friends, lovers, business acquaintances, and overall, what it really takes to build movements. This book has totally reframed the lens through which I look at life, from my interactions in and contributions to groups, to my role in building communities that last. I'm going to have to reread this a few times ...more
Feb 23, 2021 rated it really liked it
I love how practical this book was. My idea of hosting usually involves providing more food than my guests could possibly eat...a carryover from working with teenage volunteers on a weekly basis. But this book's challenge to think about the purpose of gathering really struck a cord. I want to host a dinner party! (Never mind that I still don't own a kitchen table...or couch...or chairs...)
Absolutely coming back to this one.
Jul 22, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
This book tested my resolve to complete every book I begin. Part of the problem was the title lead me to believe it was going to be about the social aspects of how individual meet and become couples. Instead it is about how to plan dinner parties and corporate meetings. So OK, I'm interested in a far-reaching spectrum of topics so I'll give it a try. However, I think the author was more interested in name-dropping than imparting knowledge. She also has a habit of stating a rule then going on to ...more
Liz C
May 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
fascinating and thought provoking not just for people who organize conferences and meetings, but also just regular people who want to have more than lackluster dinner parties or family gatherings. ranted about this to 3 people already and can't wait to apply these principles to my next gathering. ...more
Marina Ha
Jul 09, 2018 rated it liked it
I learnt about this book from Debbie Milman's podcast "Design Matters", where Priya shared many details about her work in conflict resolution, facilitation, provided the background for the book, her writing process, etc. I absolutely enjoyed the podcast, but as a result, I thought the anecdotes in the book were repetitive of the interview, and had I not listened to the podcast, I would have enjoyed the book more. ...more
Jan 28, 2021 rated it really liked it
Ok ya’ll I have to be honest, I struggled with this book. When it started I thought it was super privileged and pretentious. But I ended it teary eyed and yearning for all the gatherings I partake in to be this meaningful. It was there, just took me a while to get there. I will say as much as I ended up enjoying it, I think what kept me from enjoying it at first was the writing and story-telling. I think the stories could have been played into more - spent more time with the stories to articulat ...more
Catherine Read
Feb 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This book is a must read. For everyone. From dinner parties and staff meetings to holiday gatherings and funerals, we all spend so much time at "gatherings" that are organized by someone.

Priya Parker points out that surprisingly little thought is given to the structure of gatherings. Because of that, many of us spend inordinate amounts of time in boring time wasters that are often tedious and quite forgettable.

This book changes how to think about the purpose of gatherings - absolutely all gathe
Meagan Schultz
Jul 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is the most inspiring book I’ve read in a long time. If you like people, like to hang with people, like to have fun with people ... this book could be a game changer. So many ideas I want to try!
May 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Such an incredible read! Parker and husband Giridharadas are SUCH a power couple (Winners Take All is another one of my favorite reads in the last few years). I started this book at the beginning of quarantine, and I was struggling to get through even a couple pages at a time. I picked it back up a few days ago, 2 months into quarantine, and I took copious notes on each chapter. The book's structure is set like a gathering itself, with Parker cheekily placing the book's acknowledgements within t ...more
Elizabeth A
Jul 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2019, audio, non-fiction
I listened to the audiobook which was well narrated by Bernadette Dunne.

Why do we gather? What is the intention of the gathering? How will this particular gathering be unique? How will you engage all the guests? Once you know why you want to gather, who do you invite. Turns out who is invited is as important as you do do not invite. What is your role as the host? What location might be best for the intention you have in mind? How do you prepare your guests for the gathering? How do you open and
Aug 27, 2018 rated it liked it
I'm more inclined to give this a 3.5 and closer to 4. I wanted it to be a 5 but maybe it was the difference between my expectations versus my takeaways. It was more instructional and less emotional which was helpful because it wasn't what I expected.

What I loved (and the Post-its show this) was that there were elements of gathering that Parker shares that make you think-- obviously as a subtitle related to how and why we meet and why it matters-- but it does question the basics of gatherings in
Oct 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Priya Parker is a consultant on and creator of the kind of gatherings that people remember for the rest of their lives. Her specialties include designing rituals to enter people into and gracefully release them from social spaces and helping people open up to the kind of rich, deep, vulnerable conversation that makes us feel seen and less alone. This book is woven through with dozens of delightful stories of gatherings from around the world, ranging from weddings, funerals, dinner parties, live ...more
Dec 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
4,5 stars!

I love reading a book where I am taught to think about something so differently. And even though it may not seem important, how we meet, I realised that it does matter. When I reflected on events or simple gatherings with family and friends I can see why I walked away from some feeling transformed even enlightened and others wishing I had done something else with my time. One of the best parts of the book was her explanation of form and tradition, something that had always not felt rig
Dec 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Do you like to throw parties? Have you ever had to host a work event? Do you have a weekly meeting with your church small group? Or maybe you dread all of those activities because they seem dull, awkward, and lifeless. Either way, this book is for you.

Priya Parker masterfully explains why every gathering needs to have a purpose, the importance of guest lists and how being a "chill" host is ultimately selfish. This book is a new top 10 for me, and I can't wait to implement these suggestions. I t
Brilliant advice woven through with interesting, vivid anecdotes.

I especially loved the chapter on rule-making and how this increasingly common trend is the opposite of etiquette. Etiquette is typically the dominant culture judging your missteps as evidence of bad breeding--it promotes exclusivity. In contrast, temporary rules explained to guests in advance create inclusivity and are actually freeing. This is just one of so many interesting insights and new ideas (new to me at least) about gath
Traci at The Stacks
I liked this though I often stopped paying attention in my listening. I think I would revisit sections as I host future gatherings. The author is smart and has clearly put a lot of thought it gatherings (as it’s her work) which I appreciated. I was able to reflect on my own gatherings. I sometimes felt like the book could have been two separate books. One on professional gatherings one of personal gatherings. Not because the advice is different but the events are so different.

UPDATED: on my seco
Sarah Conner
Aug 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book is fantastic! It challenged me on every gathering I host from dinner parties, luncheons, annual fundraising celebrations, to bible studies. I will reference it for years to come.
Sep 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
If you plan events of any kind-personal or professional—you’ll find this full of useful suggestions on how to make that event more meaningful and effective.
Nov 16, 2018 rated it liked it
I appreciate the thoughts here and the principles for being intentional. The lower score is because it could have been an article. I just skipped all the illustration stories and it was a fast read.
Apr 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
A book to reflect on ... a bit more difficult to use the examples and extrapolate them into a more private rather than corporate setting, but plenty to think about.
Michael Burnam-Fink
Jun 04, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction, 2021
How many awful meetings have you attended? Disoriented business planning sessions that end with no plan; bloviating academic conferences and charity galas; empty rituals of religious services and family feasts. Don't you owe it to your community and yourself to stop wasting time and do better?

Parker is a professional facilitator specializing in dialogue across fraught groups, and this book is a distillation of her wisdom and experience. It is fantastic, a 21st century version of Carnegie's How t
Kyle Walding
I didn't love the book, but that was likely my fault, being titillated by the title and not further exploring its purpose prior to buying it. In the era of COVID, I sought an abstract/academic evaluation of 'gathering' as a phenomenon; a reflection on how shared physical space affects the building and sustaining of human intimacy and what individuals, forced into prolonged sequestration, might be missing in its absence.

This book was not that. It was sold as an 'urgent manifesto' on its back cove
Cara Navarro
Sep 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing
some social gatherings become transformative and treasured memories and i've never been able to articulate why. this book breaks down (in sometimes excessive detail) everything that goes into an unforgettable gathering, sometimes from a logistical point of view but mostly from a ~vibe~ point of view (which my pisces moon ass v much appreciated).

priya parker's political philosophy background seems irrelevant to the subject matter of the book, but it rly shows and it makes the book so fun to read!
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The Art Of Gathering Chapter 1 Discussion 1 8 Mar 05, 2020 07:49PM  

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Priya Parker is a facilitator and strategic advisor.

She is the founder of Thrive Labs, at which she helps activists, elected officials, corporate executives, educators, and philanthropists create transformative gatherings. She works with teams and leaders across technology, business, the arts, fashion, and politics to clarify their vision for the future and build meaningful, purpose-driven commun

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