The Art of Gathering

How We Meet and Why It Matters

Author Priya Parker provides strategies for planning meaningful gatherings of all kinds. She offers insights into why some fill us up while others deplete us. Parker's common-sense tools transfer readily to a variety of settings. A wonderful storyteller, Parker offers delightful ways to make all meetings more purposeful, inclusive and satisfying.

320 pages. ©2020.
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Reader Reviews for this Book


Review posted September 4, 2021


This is a very interesting book. Its a good read.


Review posted August 22, 2021


My review is through the lens of a single disabled person who is unlikely to host a gathering without help. I recognize my old self as organizer who excelled at leading work events, yet stumped about how to host meaningful social gathering. The information was helpful in hindsight as well as how to make the most of the rare social occasions in my new lifestyle.


Review posted August 2, 2021


I enjoyed reading this book, and passed this along to a friend after I was finished. I feel it is a necessity especially after we have become so distant and gotten so used to refraining from gathering.


Review posted July 24, 2021


Wonderful breakdown and perspective on the purpose of events and how the expectations of organizers and participants alike determine the outcome. Following the approach given by Priya Parker would clearly create more memorable, meaningful gatherings. Great book.


Review posted July 22, 2021


What a transformative read. If you have been looking for a new way to gather people in business, in leisure, or in service giving, this book will offer new approaches to build community and efficiency into your practice of meetings.


Review posted July 19, 2021


I am not sure what I was expecting but was a little disappointed. I thought there was some useful information about how to engage participants and to better engage as a participant. Mostly I thought this was an opportunity for the author to brag about great meetings they have facilitated while dragging some gatherings they felt were done wrong. It could have been better.


Review posted July 5, 2021


This book inspires me to facilitate gatherings not only for the social and therapeutic benefits individuals might experience, but as a way of connecting others to a sense of community. The author demonstrates how important this experience is in developing the skills and awareness we collectively need of we are to create more sustainable societies. I highly recommend this book for everyone, not just group facilitators. It’s vital reading!


Review posted June 26, 2021


After more than a year of being severely limited in how we have been able to gather, I am excited to try some of the many tips in this book. Starting with figuring out what the actual purpose of the gathering is and ending with a closing that recalls that purpose there are so many tips and examples of great (and some not so great) gathering tactics. I really appreciated Priya Parker sharing from her vast experience.

Janice I Woody

Review posted June 23, 2021




Review posted June 22, 2021


This is a great read for learning more about the world around us. Also very intriguing due to the changes in socialization in a post-pandemic world!


Review posted June 21, 2021


I loved how insightful this book is on providing how intentional our gathering needs to be. The ways we can be sure our gatherings are intentional and where our efforts should be made in gathering, especially when planning events for a non-profit. Setting the expectation openly to our guests is going to be something I will begin setting forth for our events.

Rachel Nelson

Review posted June 14, 2021


This is definitely a great book for my toolkit. The tips and tricks shared here to help create gatherings that are more than just folks getting together but creating opportunities to deepen relationships and connections. I highly recommend this book for anyone who wants to cultivate community.


Review posted June 7, 2021


Interesting. Gave a new approach to an often uncertain topic.


Review posted June 2, 2021


This is not a book for everyone. But if you host gatherings and plan meetings, you will learn valuable ideas for creating meaningful and memorable events.

Susan Lynch

Review posted May 17, 2021


The Art of Gathering, How we Meet and Why it Matters, is a must read for anyone who gathers and is looking for a deeper, inclusive, more authentic, purpose-driven connection with all those in attendance. Numerous stories, antidotes, examples, guidance, and direction in how to guide and regulate conversations are given for just about every type of gathering you can imagine--family, funerals, workshops, meetings, intimate dinners, camps, retreats, major events and more. Truly inspiring! I intend for this book to change my life!


Review posted May 14, 2021


Very interesting read. The story telling really helped move the story along as it was dry in some places.


Review posted May 4, 2021


The opening pages of this book had me screaming, "Yes! That's so true and frustrating!" The author put her finger on many of the reasons that meetings often go wrong and fail to accomplish their purpose. However, it quickly deteriorated into an self-congratulatory autobiography full of name-dropping and anecdotes about very unrelatable gatherings. I was really hoping for more concrete tips on improving meetings and keeping discussion on course for meeting the goals of the group involved. It would have been helpful for the author to include tips for participants as well as organizers of gatherings. It is much easier to control a gathering when one is in charge, but often the organizers are the root of the problem. Being an active, constructive participant can make all the difference in reaching positive outcomes. I wonder if, in this current climate of meeting remotely, the author might have changed her approach to controlling gatherings more directly rather than utilizing parlor games and social constructs so much. We must accomplish our meetings in a more timely way and really need tips on that type of gathering. The author really lost me when she described how to control personal social gatherings such as dinner parties. I might invite her to dinner at my house, but I would not like to be a guinea pig in a sociology experiment at her parties! It made me sad to think that she cannot turn off her corporate organizational work self to let her loved ones gather "just for fun." A dinner party is an opportunity to serve your guests specially prepared foods, treat them like the special friends they are, and not give them instructions or homework before, during or after the event. Overall, I was very disappointed in this book. I had high hopes for learning how to improve the business or nonprofit board meetings that I am attending or guiding. She identified all the ways in which these gatherings can fail to progress, but not how to get back on track.


Review posted April 26, 2021


This was fascinating and an easy read. There are a number of things I learned for creating a better gathering from a personal level to a larger group function, from the physical set up to giving directions for verbal interactions. This is a helpful read for anyone who plans gatherings of any type.


Review posted April 24, 2021


The Art of Gathering: HOW WE MEET AND WHY IT MATTERS by Priya Parker is an interesting and in depth book about human gatherings. Several concepts from the book stood out for me, like viewing gatherings as a "social contract" with expectations from all parties and the "realness can be designed"and that there are certain approaches to encourage real conversation verse a phoney approach. My favorite chapter seven titled, "Cause Good Controversy" and it refers to making use of "what divides us in our gathering" and speaks to creating positive and engaging controversy.

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Review posted April 1, 2021


I really enjoyed this book. I liked the practical advice for planning different types of gatherings supported by antidotal accounts of actual events. I found myself taking notes for two events I have coming up, a meeting for a fundraiser and a more intimate dessert celebration for a friend-this book offered tangible and exciting tips for both! I am planning to pass this book on to an acquaintance that works at a nonprofit organization knowing that it will be very helpful to her.


Review posted March 29, 2021


Didn’t know what to expect but it was an interesting subject.


Review posted March 18, 2021


tips and techniques to keep meetings on task and relevant


Review posted March 8, 2021


I feel like connection and meaning are hard to come buy in the world we live in today. Jumping through so many hoops, the connection and meaning are lost in translation. I’m happy to use these real world suggestions for my family, my work and business gatherings. One of the biggest points of the book was to exclude with purpose. Having focused and purposeful intent, energy and enthusiasm for the reasons for gathering and communicating that intent with those participants is essential! Can’t wait to try it!


Review posted March 3, 2021


Amazing! Priya Parker is insightful and provide easy steps to support meaningful gatherings. I appreciate the advice from professional meetings to personal dinners/ parties. Coming out of a year of limited physical interactions, this book is a must read in resetting our meaningful interactions and find value with each other outside of zoom.


Review posted February 14, 2021


I first listened to the author, Priya Parker on a podcast. Once I heard her talk about this book, I knew I would love it. I enjoy learning about how to be a leader within my profession, which involved facilitating group gatherings. This book helped me understand the HOW, and more importantly the WHY. Humans are the WHY and I love learning about how to enhance our need to connect.


Review posted February 2, 2021


I enjoyed this book and it helped me understand human interaction and communication. It helped me to navigate workplace drama and become a better communicator.