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

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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 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. Parker defines a gathering as three or more people who come together for a specific purpose. When we understand why we gather, she says -- to acknowledge, to learn, to challenge, to change -- we learn how to organize gatherings that are relevant and memorable: from an effective business meeting to a thought-provoking conference; from a joyful wedding to a unifying family dinner. Drawing on her experience as a strategic facilitator who's worked with such organizations as the World Economic Forum, the Museum of Modern Art, and the retail company Fresh, Parker explains how ordinary people can create remarkable occasions, large and small. In dozens of fascinating examples, she breaks down the alchemy of these experiences to show what goes into the good ones and demonstrates how we can learn to incorporate those elements into all of our gatherings. The result is a book that's both journey and guide, full of big ideas with real-world applications that will change the way you look at a business meeting, a parent-teacher conference, and a backyard barbecue.


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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 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. Parker defines a gathering as three or more people who come together for a specific purpose. When we understand why we gather, she says -- to acknowledge, to learn, to challenge, to change -- we learn how to organize gatherings that are relevant and memorable: from an effective business meeting to a thought-provoking conference; from a joyful wedding to a unifying family dinner. Drawing on her experience as a strategic facilitator who's worked with such organizations as the World Economic Forum, the Museum of Modern Art, and the retail company Fresh, Parker explains how ordinary people can create remarkable occasions, large and small. In dozens of fascinating examples, she breaks down the alchemy of these experiences to show what goes into the good ones and demonstrates how we can learn to incorporate those elements into all of our gatherings. The result is a book that's both journey and guide, full of big ideas with real-world applications that will change the way you look at a business meeting, a parent-teacher conference, and a backyard barbecue.

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

  1. 4 out of 5

    Justin Tate

    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 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 was hesitant that an entire book on gathering could keep my attention, but it absolutely did. Highly recommended!

  2. 5 out of 5

    Jena

    If anyone is familiar with 'The Good Place', it honestly feels like Tahani wrote this in an unironic way. If anyone is familiar with 'The Good Place', it honestly feels like Tahani wrote this in an unironic way.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Shannon Hong

    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

  4. 5 out of 5

    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. 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. However, I'm only rating this 3 out of 5 for a few reasons: 1) It seems to be written more for use in a business setting than personal. And the personal gatherings she describes mostly deal with people who don't know each other. There's little exploration of changing existing group dynamics. 2) The book entirely focuses on the responsibilities of the host; there are few specifics for those who might simply be guests. I'm not entirely comfortable in a hosting role at this point, so I would have liked more tips for how guests could contribute to more meaningful gatherings. 3) I got real bored about 80 pages from the end as it became a bit redundant. {ETA} She also says several times that parties/gatherings should have gender balance, and even suggests seating should alternate male and female. I don't understand how this is real advice in 2018.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer

    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 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 book is the power it places upon people in general. Depending on how an event is structured, you can really travel to new ideas, intimacies, and self-reflection just by using the people you have in the room in an equipped and intentional manner. Overall this is accessible and very usable-- I've already started putting some of the things I've learned into practice!

  6. 4 out of 5

    jasmine sun

    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.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Jessica Jin

    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 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 and will spend a lot of time thinking about this more-- the art of gathering is a philosophy on life that is going to take practice and a lot of careful thought, and practicing it thoughtfully I think is also the best way to honor the time, experiences, and contributions of those you love and work with. I'm super into the overall thesis of this book and am going to be telling everyone I know that they must read it. It's going to be important for any person who cares about growing meaningful relationships and friendships, and even business leaders who are looking to build authentic and thoughtful organizations which change the world. It's also great for anyone who hates conferences and panels and speeches and is looking for ways to transform the boring traditional spaces and formats in which we create. Just read it.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Mehrsa

    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.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Amy

    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. 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.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Kevin

    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 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 break it in her writing. One example of this was when she said to never thank people by stating their roles. She claims this does not honor them and bores the audience. Within the same chapter she thanks everyone associated with the book by stating their role and saying how they helped her. I do not think this topic warrants a book; at best it should have been a whitepaper. My suspicion is that the author has a close friend in the publishing industry who persuaded her to write this. There is no way this book would have ever been published if the author solicited an editor.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Liz C

    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. 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.

  12. 5 out of 5

    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. 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.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Brittin

    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 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 articulate the larger point. Not something I would have picked up on my own, but something I will definitely keep in my back pocket as I plan, organize and host.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Catherine Read

    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 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 gatherings. With each chapter I had "aha moments" that made we wonder why I had not thought about this before. I will also say that this book should be added to every reading list for leadership development programs, courses and seminars. Same for corporate retreats and strategy sessions. Constructing a meaningful gathering with purpose *is* a core leadership skill. Parker's examples of the gatherings she has facilitated in her career are fascinating. It also makes the book more of a "show" than a "tell." Once she tells the story of a particular gathering, she breaks down how and why it worked so well. I think we all need to incorporate the format of 15 Toasts regularly into our dinner gatherings. Of all the concepts she introduced, I really loved this one. While "communication" takes place at gatherings, it does not always lead to meaningful connection among people. And why would you pursue the first if not for the purpose of the latter? I highly recommend this book. It will change the way you think about how we spend our time with one another and how with the smallest amount of effort it could be so much more meaningful.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Meagan Schultz

    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!

  16. 5 out of 5

    Allison

    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 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 the last chapter instead of at the very end (abiding by her advice to never end a gathering with logistics or thanks). I'm taking away wisdom and inspiration on how to create gatherings in my personal life (would love to use 15 toasts at my birthday this year) and professional life. This book helped me name the anxiety I experience about hosting events, since my friend group is rather disparate. Parker showed me how to have generous authority as a host, and how to create vulnerability and intimacy for people when they are surrounded by strangers. this woman is SO WISE. I recommend her podcast Alone Together, which she recently started to discuss alternative gatherings during covid.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth A

    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 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 close one? These are some of the thought provoking ideas explored in this book. I was entertained, educated, and inspired. Could it have used some tighter editing? Yes. Yet it made me look at gatherings in an entirely new light, and this is one I'll be dipping into again and again. Birthday parties, book clubs, work meetings, family reunions, dinner parties, or any other type of gathering would benefit from the ideas outlined here. Highly recommended for event planners, hosts, and attendees of any human gathering.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Alicia

    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 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 general so that anyone can spend a few extra minutes drilling down to why they're getting anyone together. And this goes for any gathering including weddings. Just because it's what you do, doesn't mean you have to, but it would be more useful to figure out why you're actually doing it and what you want to to do with people when they get there. Then all of the rest falls into place but there's a lot of action before, during, and after with the introduction and closing being so important and significant. I've already decided on a few changes for how I operate and likewise will take on the role of host with more purpose than before (though this is something I've always subscribed to). She's got a lot of clout, Parker does because of the work that she's done and it's not easy, especially when gatherings become commonplace and lose their charm or purpose. It's a fantastic book to recenter ourselves and appreciate why and what for, where and how we come together. "Freedom for the wolves has often meant death to the sheep"

  19. 5 out of 5

    Maia

    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 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 theater, work conferences, international political negotiations to picnics out with friends. If you have a big gathering to plan in your own life, or are just interested in the subject of why humans gather and how to make gatherings meaningful I recommend this book. It hits especially hard in 2020, the year in which non of us can gather in person safely.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Rai

    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 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 right to me when I was at gatherings that followed tradition. In this book, the author makes the implicit explicit in a way that allowed me to think in a different way about my gatherings. I am glad I read it and it's one that I will think about further as I gather.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Jenna

    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 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 tore through this in less than 24 hours, pencil in hand, and I know I'll be revisiting this many times to plan a wide variety of gatherings.

  22. 4 out of 5

    kelly

    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 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 gatherings that I got from this book. I will never think about gatherings the same way again and I expect to refer back to this and passionately recommend it to others often!

  23. 4 out of 5

    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 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 second read of this book I loved the book more and still got so much out of it!

  24. 5 out of 5

    Sarah Conner

    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.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Melissa

    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.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Lisa

    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.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Katy

    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.

  28. 4 out of 5

    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 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 cover, and it was hardly that. Parker's book felt more like a pragmatic 'how-to' guide oriented toward 'quality' corporate meetups, 'meaningful' networking opportunities, and 'productive' dinner parties—bleh. Honestly, the biggest takeaway I had from this book was 'gatherings should have a purpose,' which, like, yeah. In short, reflect on (1) why you're gathering and (2) with whom: not to have the 'most productive meeting,' but because meaningful human connection is worth being thoughtful about. 2/5 because, even though I didn't find much value in it, I was also not its intended audience.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Cara Navarro

    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! 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! in true philosophy-major fashion, there are zero bland platitudes. like the gatherings she prides herself on facilitating, parker always takes a stand. you might not agree with everything she has to say abt events — personally, i'm a bit on the fence abt the chapter on hosts' power/authority — but her arguments are sharp and compelling and, as a side note, wonderfully human. this is probably the only popular-nonfiction book i've read where i've paused to simp. (the gatherings she described to illustrate her points made me v nostalgic for the life-altering gatherings i've experienced myself) this book should be required reading, esp as we figure out new rules for gathering (online and offline) in our """new normal""""

  30. 5 out of 5

    Jo

    Well, I was admittedly a bit too harsh on this book. I have to come clear and say that it did get me convinced that we have a lot to gain by reconsidering how our events - both personal and professional - are shaped. However, the writing was at times too cringy and the examples too irrelevant to my life for me to completely enjoy it. Not great, not terrible, two and a half stars.

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