Book Review: The Art of Gathering

Have you ever attended a bad meeting?

Of course, you have. We all have. Maybe too many.

As a meeting facilitator; I work hard to plan, host, and then evaluate meeting events. Most of my learning on this work has been experiential. Trial by fire. There are very few books written on how to facilitate a great meeting.

Now there is at least one. “The Art of Gathering” is a great book on hosting any type of “gathering” from a family reunion to an executive retreat. The author, Priya Parker, is the founder of Thrive Labs where she helps people around the world plan better events.

Here are just a few of my favorite takeaways from the book:

  • “Every meeting should be organized around a desired outcome.”
  • “Inviting people is easy. Excluding people can be hard.”
  • “What most hosts don’t realize is that the choice of venue is one of your most powerful levers over your guest’s behavior.”
  • ‘The best gatherings transport us to a temporary alternative world.”
  • “90% of what makes a gathering successful is put in place beforehand.”
  • “The skilled gatherer knows not only how to make people share and connect, but also how to make things fruitfully controversial.

If you host any type of meetings, big or small, this book is for you.