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

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

by Priya Parker


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"Hosts of all kinds, this is a must-read!" —Chris Anderson, owner and curator of TED

A bold new approach to how we gather that will transform the ways we spend our time together—at work, at home, in our communities, and beyond.

In The Art of Gathering, Priya Parker argues that the gatherings in our lives are lackluster and unproductive—which they don't have to be. We rely too much on routine and the conventions of gatherings when we should focus on distinctiveness and the people involved. At a time when coming together is more important than ever, Parker sets forth a human-centered approach to gathering that will help everyone create meaningful, memorable experiences, large and small, for work and for play.

Drawing on her expertise as a facilitator of high-powered gatherings around the world, Parker takes us inside events of all kinds to show what works, what doesn't, and why. She investigates a wide array of gatherings—conferences, meetings, a courtroom, a flash-mob party, an Arab-Israeli summer camp—and explains how simple, specific changes can invigorate any group experience.

The result is a book that's both journey and guide, full of exciting ideas with real-world applications. The Art of Gathering will forever alter the way you look at your next meeting, industry conference, dinner party, and backyard barbecue—and how you host and attend them.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781594634925
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 05/15/2018
Pages: 320
Sales rank: 17,582
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 9.20(h) x 1.30(d)

About the Author

Priya Parker is the founder of Thrive Labs, at which she helps activists, elected officials, corporate executives, educators, and philanthropists create transformative gatherings. Trained in the field of conflict resolution, Parker has worked on race relations on American college campuses and on peace processes in the Arab world, southern Africa, and India. She studied organizational design at M.I.T., public policy at the Harvard Kennedy School, and political and social thought at the University of Virginia. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.

Read an Excerpt

The way we gather matters. Gatherings consume our days and help determine the kind of world we live in, in both our inti- mate and public realms. Gathering—the conscious bringing together of people for a reason—shapes the way we think, feel, and make sense of our world. Lawgivers have understood, perhaps as well as anyone, the power inherent in gatherings.  In democracies,  the freedom  to assemble  is one of the foundational rights granted to every individual.  In countries descending into authoritarianism, one of the first things to go is the right to assemble. Why? Because of what can happen when people come together, exchange information, inspire one another, test out new ways of being together. And yet most of us spend very little time thinking about the actual ways in which we gather.

Excerpted from "The Art of Gathering"
by .
Copyright © 2018 Priya Parker.
Excerpted by permission of Penguin Publishing Group.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

Introduction ix

1 Decide Why You're Really Gathering 1

2 Close Doors 35

3 Don't Be a Chill Host 71

4 Create a Temporary Alternative World 111

5 Never Start a Funeral With Logistics 145

6 Keep Your Best Self Out of my Gathering 193

7 Cause Good Controversy 225

8 Accept that There is an End 245

Notes 285

Index 295

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The Art of Gathering: How We Meet and Why It Matters 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
DeediReads More than 1 year ago
Rating: 4.5/5 There are a lot of nonfiction books out there, and so many of them are just okay. They put forth an idea in a book that could really be a long-form article; much of it is fluff. The Art of Gathering is NOT that. This book was refreshingly original, useful, and gosh darn interesting. “We get lulled into the false belief that knowing the category of the gathering—the board meeting, workshop, birthday party, town hall—will be instructive to designing it. But we often choose the template—and the activities and structure that go along with it—before we’re clear on our purpose.” Priya Parker is a professional facilitator; she designs and leads impactful events for a living. This is very different from what she dubs the “Martha Stewart approach” — this book has absolutely nothing to do with hors d’oeuvres presentation or decor. It’s about how to structure an event or gathering with a purpose so that it’s never just “okay.” So that you don’t waste your own or your guests’ time by hosting it. So that awkward small talk et. al. can give way to impact (big or small). I especially enjoyed the chapter on rules — things like no cell phones, no talking about work, or really anything that places conditions on attendance. She argues that at first, they may feel forced or burdensome, but when done well, they can give people space to experiment in something new. I’m not doing this justice; you have to read it for yourself. I’m really glad that I read this book. I truly learned, and I thought about what I learned. And I plan to implement these ideas sooner rather than later!