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Get Together: How to build a community with your people

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"With no jargon and no nonsense, Bailey, Kevin and Kai lay out simple, practical steps for helping people come together in meaningful and powerful ways."
--Dave Isay, Founder of StoryCorps and winner of the TED Prize

Although communities feel magical, they don't come together by magic.

Get Together is a practical and heartfelt guide to cultivating a community. Whether starting a run crew, connecting with fans online, or sparking a movement of K-12 teachers, the secret to getting people together is this: build your community with people, not for them.

In Get Together, Bailey, Kevin and Kai share true stories of everyday people who created thriving communities, both in-person and online. They untangle the challenge of getting passionate people together into clear steps, helping individuals and organizations navigate the intricacies of leading a community, including:
-- How to rally the first people
-- How to get people talking
-- How to attract new, authentic folks
-- How to develop leaders and expand globally

The People & Company team reminds us that we each hold the potential to spark a community. Get Together shows readers how if we join forces--as company and customers, artist and fans, organizer and advocates--we'll do more together than we ever could alone.

"I highly recommend Get Together for anyone who's looking to crack the code on building a community."
--Alisha Ramos, Founder of Girls' Night In

More advance praise for Get Together:
"Get Together tells the stories and reveals the insights of community building. Don't start one without reading this book."
--Robert Wang, Founder of Instant Pot

"As a leader of a social impact organization, I found Get Together to be helpful in thinking about how we could do better at building and cultivating the community around IDEO.org. I'd recommend Get Together to anyone organizing or participating in communities, personally or professionally."
--Jocelyn Wyatt, CEO of IDEO.org

"Get Together is a book about our most valuable resource--people--and how to get them together. Sounds simple; but then all great ideas are."
--Craig Pearce, Co-writer of Romeo + Juliet, Moulin Rouge!, and The Great Gatsby

"In a time of growing social isolation and disconnection from what matters most, Bailey, Kevin and Kai offer a vision for how the world could be. Read it!"
--Casper ter Kuile, Co-author of the How We Gather report

"This book encapsulates what took me 20 years to learn at Surfrider in a 90 minute read. It provides clear guidance on how to methodically build a thriving community."
--Dr. Chad Nelsen, CEO of Surfrider Foundation

"Get Together is a must-read. As a community builder, I have an immense appreciation for the way Bailey, Kai and Kevin broke things down."
--Claire Wasserman, Founder of Ladies Get Paid

"As the producer of the first Star Wars Celebration, I had to work with my team and Lucasfilm to build an event that was worthy of the worldwide Star Wars community.

193 pages, Kindle Edition

Published August 20, 2019

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Bailey Richardson

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5 stars
144 (25%)
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204 (36%)
3 stars
162 (29%)
2 stars
40 (7%)
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8 (1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 64 reviews
Profile Image for Matthew Jordan.
71 reviews52 followers
February 21, 2022
A distressing read. I did not view it as a book about “community”. I view it as a historical/anthropological artifact on how the idea of “community” has been deployed by brands and corporations to extreme success. In other words, this is a book that embodies a set of ideas you’ve heard a million times before: the encroachment of market values, the corporatization of everything, neoliberalism. But it hits you particularly hard when you’re looking for a book about creating and nurturing communities, and the communities in question are in fact customers.

As a guide to building a fanbase, acquiring loyal customers, starting a business, or supporting content creators, I would say that Get Together achieves great success. It’s a marketing book, and should be read as such. It fails, however, to address the most important questions that arise in community: what happens when people dislike each other? What happens when things get messy? What happens when people disagree about who to let into the community, or start creating factions? How are grievances addressed, disputes resolved?

It’s possible I’m being too harsh. Maybe the leaders of bowling leagues and church groups read books about creating community, and they provide the exact same advice that’s in this book. I’m open to that possibility. The advice is good: let people create thing together; the first group of people defines the culture, narrative is powerful. Something just rubs me the wrong way about communities being oriented around corporations, whose prime directive is always to maximize shareholder value. Maybe that’s the issue: communities are here being used as a tool to make money, rather than a valuable end in themselves.

In short, here is my cynical take: if we are as a society replacing civic action groups, religious organizations, and bowling leagues with Facebook groups dedicated to consumer products, perhaps we’re better off bowling alone.
Profile Image for Oana Filip.
54 reviews14 followers
November 9, 2019
This book is an excellent read for anyone who wants to build communities and tribes of all kinds, both digital and non-digital. It walks you through everything you need to know to create, nurture, and consolidate groups of people towards the same goals. And, of course, it shows you why a community builder is, before anything else, a leader.

“Like most relationships, communities don’t form overnight; they take time to flourish. You’ll need to stay invested in these people if you want to bring a community to life.” — Bailey Richardson, Kevin Huynh, Kai Elmer Sotto
Profile Image for Martin Brochhaus.
145 reviews138 followers
May 25, 2020
My first foray into Stripe Press (I bought all their books).

As the organiser of the Python User Group Singapore, this is quite relevant to me and indeed, I got a few good ideas out of it, but I gotta say it is disappointingly thin on content.

If you just write down all headlines on a DIN A4 paper, you have the entire gist of the books and reading it for real is almost pointless, because each headline is spiced up with maybe one, maximum two examples, that are described in one or two paragraphs of text.

At least it doesn't waste your time, you can read it in 90 minutes and it has chapter summaries at the end of each chapter with very actionable bullet-points.

The framework for building communities presented here is good, I found myself unknowingly doing a lot of these things after years of community building, but the content to motivate you and give examples could have been much better, more varied and more fleshed out.
51 reviews1 follower
September 15, 2020
Certainly, you can accomplish great things without a thriving community alongside you. But if you join forces—as company and customers, artists and fans, organizers and advocates—you'll do more together than you ever could alone.

The authors believe the goal of community building is to create a revenue stream; often for a company, definitely for you.

Otherwise a concise book on how to organise interest groups. The tl;dr:

1. Invite interested people to a shared activity over a common purpose.
2. Create a group identity and make it easy for people to advertise it.
3. Share responsibility in organising.

The rest are simple acts toward these. The authors like hierarchical organisations and converting loyalty into money; there are no suggestions on how to organise and scale in a mode other than capitalist. Bowling Alone is quoted.
Profile Image for Sophie Cua.
16 reviews
March 22, 2021
Very practical guide on how to build a community that will last. Personally, super enjoyed it because I'm a very process-driven person and it helped that literally every step was numbered and explained in depth. Gives concrete steps and actions that a person can do to create a community not just for themselves but most importantly, for others. Loved the examples that were used and cited!
Profile Image for Bilal Jr..
68 reviews9 followers
April 6, 2020
a simple definition of the word community is : " a group of people with diverse characteristics who
are linked by social ties, share common perspectives, and engage in joint action in geographical
locations or settings "

But why read this book & why read about communities first place ?

the answer would be non but " we have to " , because being a worker make us part of our work community , being a traveler with group make us part of that community , selling a certain product to customers make us part of that buyer-seller relation .... so if we want a better social life or if we want to thrive in what we love & do we have to pay attention to the communities we're part of .

this book gives us such a great examples of people going from having hobbies or being passionate or caring about certain matters to creating successful communities .
Profile Image for rixx.
829 reviews41 followers
March 5, 2020
This is an alright book if you want to build a "community" for a corporate entity. It tries to provide more than that, but everything it suggests feels just slightly icky and tainted with this corporate language. But it does provide actionable advice, and a solid focus on engagement and growth.

It also presents an impressive collection of well-researched current examples for communities like Twitch. Sadly, no failures are examined, so the survivorship bias is strong here.

For an advice collection geared towards corporate and marketing cultures, it completely skips over money, employment, and compensation. This is definitely a difficult and contentious topic when building a community around a product, so I'm surprised this was left out.

Side note: there is no groundwork, no theory to stand on, which would have interested me a lot.
Profile Image for Mia Quagliarello.
42 reviews2 followers
September 4, 2019
“Get Together” is an immensely readable and useful book that demystifies community-building from the ground up. Step by step, Bailey, Kevin and Kai take you through getting communities to get together, stick together and grow together. Chapters are supported with helpful questions and pages to write notes, and inspiring stories — including the authors’ own — are sprinkled throughout. The Mariah Carey superfan story made me tear up! It also framed my own experience in a way I didn’t appreciate until I read it on the page. An invaluable resource for community managers and people connectors.
Profile Image for Dana Shalabi.
52 reviews1 follower
May 28, 2021
Although I enjoy reading fiction more than non-fiction, and although I am not particularly a fan of the “how to” or “self help” books, I did find myself interested in buying this book. I have always been interested in people and especially learning more about how we can bring people together to work towards a cause or a goal. Fortunately, this book offers a step by step guide on how to do that.

In its 178 pages, authors Bailey Richardson, Kai Elmer Sotto, and Kevin Huynh walk us through the steps needed to build a growing community from the people working for the people.

It walks readers through the different stages of community building from sparking the flame (getting started) and stoking the fire (gathering more members) to finally passing the torch (creating new leaders).
I especially liked the fact that the book offers real examples and testimonials from founders of successful communities. This human touch makes it more relatable than other books of non fiction. At the end of each chapter it also offers a nice summary of the points the chapter covers and a space to write notes. I felt that such attributes make it more of an easy read that is less dry and technical than what other text books tend to offer

With the current pandemic and past lockdowns, we can argue that online communities sometimes feel like our only form of interaction with other human beings . Most of us do associate with a community or even try to build our own. So, understanding how they work and what makes them grow is an asset. These living conditions make the book very relevant to our times .

However, I think the book was missing information on why some communities fail and what could go wrong in community building. Having such information would help readers avoid common mistakes. It will even add a much needed dimension to the book. After all , telling people what not to do is as important as telling them what they should do.

But all in all, it is an enjoyable read . I do recommend it to anyone aiming to build a community of ant sort or aiming to lead a community.
20 reviews1 follower
January 18, 2021
Book is short and sweet. The content is useful but think it was a bit underwhelming. Guess if I was going to start a community the books checklist would be very handy. But lot of the content feels like filling so it could be a book.
Profile Image for Lurk42.
121 reviews6 followers
February 8, 2022
Reading a lot of community building books this year. This one was more actually practical advice for folks looking to build business-y communities. Some good tips, but not what I'm looking for.
Profile Image for Nick Sopchak.
27 reviews
March 1, 2022
There are layers that apply broadly across company building, relationships, etc but if you are looking for a roadmap on how to build a community - start here.
Profile Image for Sandy Maguire.
Author 2 books157 followers
November 13, 2021
It's a short book with good advice in it that's half filler and full of analysis of woke and meme communities.
31 reviews
May 6, 2021
This should be a must read for starting communities. It has action items and great questions to think through how to mold a meaningful community.
310 reviews
October 18, 2020
The book is guide to building a community - a group of people who share a common interest and are passionate about it - and covers the full lifecycle from starting one, growing it and sustaining it...

and while everything that the book covers is probably known to all of us, the structure, the stories and the examples help to put it in context and makes you look into your own methods and reflect... it shows that the same principles apply to all communities - from fitness meet-ups, fan clubs , networks, societies, causes, or even customer communities - and it’s all about getting people together... joining forces to do more together than you would be able to go alone...

the authors share their experience from building communities with companies like Instagram, eBay, Nike and nonprofits like Edcamp — and the key message is that the secret to getting people together is - build your community with people, not for them...

they elaborate by suggesting to stop thinking about the community as just an audience, instead to treat them as collaborators... starting with first activity, carving out ways for others to participate, giving people the chance to realise a shared purpose and not to watch you realize it for them...

it’s as easy read - and while you may not adopt the framework or the guidelines, it can spark some ideas that can be integrated onto your own process...


A quick summary(for easy reference): the authors map the whole journey into three stages:

(1) Getting together (sparking the flame) - pin pointing the people - who and why (and here they emphasise on getting people who share the same passion - even if staring very small (1-2 in the beginning) as each of these early allies will help to build), then doing something together, and getting people talking by creating a space for them to to continue their conversations

(2) Sticking together (stoking the fire) - attracting new people, cultivating the identity and paying special attention to who shows up and understanding why

(3) Growing together (passing the torch) - growing more leaders, supercharging these leaders and celebrating together
Profile Image for Alissa.
192 reviews7 followers
September 3, 2021
I dunno, it's fine. Read the outline at the end to save yourself a few hours of reading examples. Requisite nods to Robert Putnam and Marshall Ganz, otherwise pretty dystopian in its focus on monetized corporate "community" building. Ultimately, Get Together is a how-to on starting a club, written by a bunch of Big Tech "community manager" types.
Profile Image for Jon Douglas.
Author 3 books7 followers
July 31, 2020
I have to say, when it comes down to aesthetically pleasing books, this book ranks quite high. I did however find much of the content to lack depth & many of the stories were quite short which made me feel quite detached. It was a fast & easy read regardless.
14 reviews6 followers
August 27, 2019
A great hands on guide for starting communities, big and small with tons of exciting stories told be community leaders - beautifully published and a joy to own.
Profile Image for Sam.
12 reviews
April 3, 2021
Get Together is a handbook on how to practically build, engage, and sustain communities. It removes the guesswork of due diligence by providing a checklist of action items after every chapter based on practices of successful communities. As such, expect your relationship with the book to last well beyond the initial read-through; I will be returning to this book as a reference.

I was recommended this book alongside Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us to build a Christian fellowship I started at my university. This book offered much more practical impact: for sparking the flame, it suggests calibrating questions to prioritize your efforts; for stoking the fire, it suggest artifacts and practices that keep members engaged; for passing the torch, it suggests how to approach continuity and hire the next generation. I incorporated at least one idea from every chapter; much of how Christian Students at Western is built is due to learnings from this book.

What could be better?
Note that this is not an academic book. All advice is based from successful communities rather than papers on leadership and social science. That being said, however, key concepts are intuitive and agreeable; references would just be a nice-to-have to add depth and certainty.

Who is this for?
I recommend this book to any student leader or individual who is responsible for building a community or leading a team. You will derive immediate, practical value from at least one chapter that suits your community's state.
Profile Image for Tessa.
253 reviews
January 2, 2022
I led a reading group for this book with some of my coworkers, since we consider community-building a part of our jobs. This book has some real practical worksheets (many of which are available here: https://gettogether.world/resources) and some nice stories. However, it all felt a little bit corporate-glossy to me, somehow? Maybe this is because the book mostly focuses on the happy path for community-building, with only a brief aside on "what to do after a misstep" that seems to assume your main challenges will be poor marketing or communication instead of lack of resources.

Anyway, the main flow of steps seems wise to me:

1. Write down a purpose: "who this community brings together and why we want to come together".
2. Do a purposeful and participatory shared activity. If successful, repeat!
3. Get people talking after / outside the activities you run.
4. Share stories to attract new community members, e.g. the origin story, content that members can share, spotlights on exceptional members.
5. Cultivate a shared identity with visual badges, signature rituals and unique shared language.
6. Track member retention and pay attention to the most engaged community members.
7. Create more leaders by defining qualifications, vetting, roles, and feedback processes.
8. Map out steps in the leaders' journey and design support structures for the most valuable steps.
9. Celebrate together, setting clear intentions around how the celebration will help the community grow. Use the badges/rituals/language!
Profile Image for Scott Wozniak.
Author 14 books74 followers
October 13, 2022
What's the big idea and/or unique approach of this book?
These authors have helped to build and manage large communities (mostly for social media companies) and they share the practical things they did to find, cultivate and sustain their communities. It’s short and not complicated, but it didn’t offer practical ideas.

How am I smarter, better, or wiser because of it?
I got several small ideas that I plan to try with the communities I lead.

Was I entertained/did it keep my attention?
The writing style and stories were not bad and not great, either. It was very short, though, so I easily finished.

Would I recommend it to others?
If you are a community builder or manager then I think it’s worth the time (in part because it requires so little time).
Profile Image for Dylan Teo.
9 reviews
June 6, 2022
This is a book that rehashes the fundamental principles needed to successfully build and nurture a community, such as building relationships with key community members, focusing on user retention, etc.

If you're expecting unorthodox advice or principles and anecdotes that go beyond the basics, this book will probably be disappointing, but it can also be said that the effectiveness of this book lies in its no-nonsense breakdown of actionable steps to take to build communities, supplemented by many examples of successful communities.

Not necessarily a very insightful read for experienced community leaders but a great revision of what really matters.
Profile Image for Matías.
45 reviews
June 28, 2020
It's motivating, has what is needed to learn from other's experiences that really flourished, and works as a starting point to build a community, since the questions asked to leaders (that would be you, the reader) are really on point based on my experience creating communities.

I don't give it more stars because I was maybe expecting something else, rather than an empirical written book, but that's just me.

I'd totally read it again some other time, and recommended to anyone as a starting point for community building.
Profile Image for Daniel.
65 reviews1 follower
February 7, 2022
5 stars for sure - I really appreciated how this book is both actionable and informative without being dense at all. This is a book that turns the act of building a community into something fun, meaningful, desirable, and most of all attainable. 3 steps and then 3 actions within each step - that's essentially it. They weave many stories of community builders throughout the world and give examples of all sorts of communities. I highly recommend this read to all.

If you didn't have any desire for building a community before, you will after reading 'Get Together.'
Profile Image for Karan Navani.
46 reviews1 follower
December 19, 2020
Wasn’t sure what to expect but turned out to be good

I picked up this book not knowing the first thing about community building. All I knew was this was a popular read on the topic. With that in mind, I’m really glad with the material.

I like the stepped approach which aligns with how your community evolves over time. There are great examples in the book and good actionable advice. I’m also a fan of the summary checklist at the end of each chapter.
Profile Image for Brendan Hogan.
4 reviews7 followers
February 7, 2022
Bought this book after discovering Stripe Press. The promo material and headlines around the book were very fascinating. Lots of good info on building and maintaining communities, but I think a blog post would’ve been a better medium. I understand the desire to make it into a tangible book (bonus: the book is very aesthetically pleasing), but their was quite a bit of filler. The summary pages and appendix are good resources to check yourself along the way in community building.
Profile Image for Laiba.
15 reviews2 followers
September 4, 2020
The book outlines really good principles and I definitely recommend reading it if you are in the field of community management or would like to start your own online community. I gave it 4 stars as I found it to be a boring read, it is packed with information but a lot of it is on surface-level and I found myself longing for a philosophical touch to the approach. Nevertheless, a good read.
June 29, 2020
Get Together is an excellent hands-on book about cultivating communities. Its perfect balance between theory, case studies, summaries, and checklists make it a no-brainer for anyone who wants to take the first steps in this area — being also insightful for experienced community builders.
Profile Image for Spencer Vail.
10 reviews
February 22, 2021
A good book overall and helpful to community professionals in general. However, I found myself wishing there were more direction and commentary on more deeply technical companies. Useful things throughout though and do recommend other community professionals read it.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 64 reviews

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