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.
“As social animals, humans gather, meet, and bond—seeking meaning, purpose, creative expression, and more. In almost all cases this is an unconscious process leading to subtle frustration and a lack of satisfaction. For the last few years I’ve avoided social gatherings because I find them meaningless and banal. I learned much from this book. Priya Parker has created both an art and a science to gathering in ways that can bring joy and fulfillment to any meeting.”
“This clear and engaging book sets down many things you thought you knew, until you find yourself remembering that you did not attend to its simple rules at the last significant event you hosted.… A passion for successful encounters enlivens every page.”
—Sherry Turkle, author of Reclaiming Conversation: The Power of Talk in a Digital Age and Alone Together
“A brilliant and eminently practical guide! The Art of Gathering will open your eyes to just how often we gather – and how we can turn those mundane events into dazzling opportunities for meaning, dreaming, and doing. This book should be mandatory reading for everyone from the business executive to the community activist, the conflict resolution specialist to the dinner host. Concrete advice that will forever change the way you gather.”
—Daniel L. Shapiro, founder of the Harvard International Negotiation Program and author of Negotiating the Nonnegotiable
“Don't read this book alone. Read it at a gathering of friends, in a book club, with a team of colleagues, or on a family reunion. But read it—for its wisdom, its charm, its insight, and its ability to make every encounter with others more meaningful and enjoyable. The Art of Gathering is a book long overdue, and just in time.”
—Bruce Feiler, bestselling author of The Secrets of Happy Families and Walking the Bible
“Many of the best things in life happen when people gather. So it’s remarkable how little conscious intent goes into planning such moments. Thank goodness for this book. It opens up new ways of thinking about wonderful gatherings with a delicious confection of smartly-defined concepts and detailed examples. Hosts of all kinds, this is a must-read!”
—Chris Anderson, owner and curator of TED
“Priya Parker's The Art of Gathering is brilliant. The book is a timely reminder: It’s our human-to-human links that make the most meaningful moments of our lives. Page by page, Parker offers a decoder ring for the secret forces at work when we gather for business, crises or celebration. What to leave out, where to meet, how to charm—it's all here, explained with unforgettable stories and clever tips. You'll only put this book down because it will make you so hungry for a gathering of your own.”
—Joshua Cooper Ramo, author of The Seventh Sense and The Age of the Unthinkable