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

3.98  ·  Rating details ·  4,608 ratings  ·  670 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.
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Published May 15th 2018 by Penguin Audio
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Average rating 3.98  · 
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Justin Tate
May 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
How to Win Friends and Gather People

Everyone needs this book! Whether youre 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
Nov 02, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
If anyone is familiar with 'The Good Place', it honestly feels like Tahani wrote this in an unironic way.
Shannon Hong
Jul 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mindblown, business
Transformative. Ha. But Im 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 its definitely made up for by the content
Caiti S
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  ·  review of another edition
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
Jessica Jin
Sep 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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
jasmine sun
Sep 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 weve lacked advice for making others feel comfortable, engaged, and authentic in social and business gatherings.

this book guides readers through exactly that.
May 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
May 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Marina Ha
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.
Catherine Read
Feb 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Elizabeth A
Jul 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio, non-fiction, 2019
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
Meagan Schultz
Jul 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the most inspiring book Ive 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! ...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
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
Apr 06, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Sarah Conner
Aug 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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  ·  review of another edition
If you plan events of any kind-personal or professionalyoull find this full of useful suggestions on how to make that event more meaningful and effective. ...more
I enjoy hosting people, facilitating meetings, and organizing gatherings but I want to get better at it. That's why I picked up Priya Parker's book. Midway through the book, I delivered a guest lecture and incorporated some of the lessons I learnt from this book and feel like I had a more effective class as a result. The book is littered with anecdotes of good gatherings and practical advice that includes: not being "chill" about your gathering, focusing on people and structuring the event to ...more
Feb 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A rare book on leadership that combines emotional intelligence, insight, and practical takeaways in every chapter. Plus, Parker offers some tips and strategies that impact almost every area of life. Well worth the read.
Feb 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I am fascinated by gatherings and group dynamics so this book is my favorite of the year so far! I will go back to refresh myself on the strategies and rituals that create meaningful and unique experiences. Directly relevant to the mundane as it is the elevated.
Lily Jamaludin
Jan 05, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Art of Gathering is really about how to build better events. Except Priya Parker doesnt think of them as just events. She thinks of them as gatherings and experiences with the potential to heal, connect, and transform those who attend. Think about events, conferences, or camps where you had an amazing experience. Priya is saying those experiences are not accidents - you too can carefully craft your event to be transformative. She fuses a lot of design thinking elements into the practice of ...more
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
As an omnivert who cycles between introvert and extrovert moods on the regular, I yearn for gatherings that bring people together and I dread gatherings that dont. I love to make plans with groups of people, and I always hope that each gathering kindles friendship and fellowship that will last. My book group is legendary (I love you guys!) for the magical sense of belonging that helps me regain my center when life has knocked me sideways. My movie night crew has also stayed strong through ...more
Jan 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
-Figure our the purpose of the get together before hosting one
-Stick with your demographic. Ie: bar only for kids, keeps our adults
-Elderly receive lots of health benefits by hanging out with young ppl
-Groups: 8-12 people, 6, 12-15, 30, 150
-Select a location that embodies the meeting: plumbing company partner HQ for Valay
-Use different rooms for different parts of the meeting to get ppl to remember better: Have different Phases - theres a narrative
-Alamo Theatre: goodbye texter ad
Dec 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Trey Grayson
Jun 08, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Want to learn how to improve your dinner parties, make your staff meetings more productive, or actually cause those conferences to produce an outcome beyond networking? Then check out this new book. I just finished a gathering this week whose organizers used this book as a guide, and it was much productive and enjoyable than similar gatherings Ive attended. ...more
May 17, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
There are some really interesting and useful ideas in here, although the author sounds like a slightly exhausting person. I just got done planning a rather large gathering (my dad's celebration of life, nearly 500 guests) and it was interesting to see how we had independently used a number of her gathering principles which really did contribute to the success of the event.
Jun 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Really good book. Everyone can benefit from reading this, especially those that are in business, love to entertain, or want to start up a book club. No, seriously. If you want to start up a book club read the first chapter on "thoughtful exclusion." It will save you many headaches.
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The Art Of Gathering Chapter 1 Discussion 1 1 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

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