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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

4.02  ·  Rating details ·  12,387 ratings  ·  1,732 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 4.02  · 
Rating details
 ·  12,387 ratings  ·  1,732 reviews

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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
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
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
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 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 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 and will spend a ...more
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.
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.
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
Jan 09, 2022 rated it really liked it
I was looking for some tips on better hosting, and found an unexpected critique of modern corporate and non-corporate culture, with useful tips to boot.

This book made me realize that:

- We meet - for weddings and business meetings alike - using obsolete formats developed in other times, for other customs and needs.
- Space determines the flow and energy of the meeting and how people respond during the said meeting.
- It is a good idea to host a multi-phase meeting in several areas, as people will
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.
Aug 25, 2019 rated it did not like it
This book was one of the most utter nonsense I have read for a long time. I fell for the title, thinking that the book will present some expert analysis of how human beings interact in social settings, instead, it was a mechanical, boring, mundane, and complete bullshit recipe for event planners. The only reason that I kept reading this book and ultimately finished it was my fascination in just how much a social gathering can become awkward and boring by following the rules offered by this book. ...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
Donna Craig
Jul 16, 2021 rated it really liked it
The Art of Gathering is a fresh, fascinating look at how to hold gatherings (from meetings to weddings) that are memorable and worthwhile. Her steps will help you decide the purpose, invitation list, and order of events for your gathering.

I particularly liked the way the author encourages hosts to be more bold in their control of gatherings. That’s a novel bit of advice, and the author is quite compelling in her presentation of it. I find myself quite eager to try this method out!
A monumental occasion is happening for me this Saturday - I'm getting married! Ahh! I'm a project manager by temperament and training and I have taken the planning seriously. I'm at the point now, a mere 4 days away, that everything is out of my hands and it's going to work out. Or it won't. But we don't talk about that to a bride 4 days away from her wedding.

This book came recommended to me by a friend who thought it would help in the wedding planning process. And boy howdy do I appreciate that
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
Adrian Hon
Aug 18, 2021 rated it it was ok
I began this book as a gracious guest hoping a stimulating party or conference, and ended it hate-reading the final tedious pages. I can't remember the last time I read a book that I mentally tagged as four or five stars, and descended with each chapter further down and down the rankings.

The common critique of this book is that Parker is an inveterate name-dropper who has apparently been to every secret or exclusive event you've heard of, and many you have not. I mean, she is a name-dropper, but
Stacey Reimann
Dec 20, 2021 rated it it was ok
I am not the audience here, nor is anyone who has at least briefly thought about the people they love to spend time with and how they choose to spend that time. I also feel like she tries to speak to a sweeping range of groups, but appealing largely to neoliberals attending business meetings and corporate conferences, just about anything then also applied to activists/radical gatherers feels quickly moot. A bit too preachy, and a bit too peachy. I will say, not having yet gone to social work sch ...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
Mar 27, 2021 rated it did not like it
Farhan Khalid
Jan 01, 2020 rated it really liked it
The first step to bringing together people in a meaningful way is committing to a bold, sharp purpose

Opportunity for your gathering to be a source of growth, support, guidance, and inspiration

Your reason for gathering should take a stand, it can’t be everything for everyone

Specificity matters in gatherings

Use thoughtful exclusion

In attempting not to offend anyone, you compromise the entire gathering

6 people: conducive to intimacy, high levels of sharing and storytelling; not ideal for diverse vi
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
Traci Thomas
May 21, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Matthew Jordan
Dec 25, 2021 rated it really liked it
Kinda changed my life??? So many interesting lessons and ideas, very few of which actually have anything to do with the practical advice given in the book. The main thing I took away was: there are way more decisions involved in gathering people than you might expect, and the more time you put into those decisions, the better your gathering will be. In other words: thoughtfulness is palpable. The best gatherings involve an immense amount of thought, care, and consideration, even if those things ...more
Jamie Leach
Jul 15, 2022 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2022
Thought provoking conversation starter.
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
Nov 18, 2018 rated it liked it
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 don’t. 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 decad ...more
Eduardo Santiago
Jul 08, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: woc
If you had told 20-year-old-me that a book on social gatherings was in my future, I would've raised a skeptical eyebrow; if you'd told me that 55-year-old me would already know and practice much of that advice, I might've laughed nervously while backing away slowly, looking for nearby assistance. How little we know of who we are to become.

This is a lovely book, entirely human-centered. Parker focuses entirely on connection and meaning: she eschews the shallow bullshit of which-paper-stock and wh
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
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!
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The Art Of Gathering Chapter 1 Discussion 1 10 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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