The Art of Gathering

How We Meet and Why It Matters
Narrated by: Bernadette Dunne
Length: 9 hrs and 21 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (695 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

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

From the host of the New York Times podcast Together Apart, an exciting new approach to how we gather that will transform the ways we spend our time together - at home, at work, 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. 

©2018 Priya Parker (P)2018 Penguin Audio

Critic Reviews

“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.” (Deepak Chopra)

“[A] remarkable new book about how we spend our time together, at work, at home, and beyond. If you want to get more out of every event, whether it's with your boss and co-workers or friends and family, The Art of Gathering can help.” (Bustle)

“[A] fantastic book.... Good things happen when people connect. Especially when we follow Priya’s sage advice.” (Forbes)

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Would have liked a different narrator

I loved the book content, but struggled to match the narrator with it. Whilst she reads properly, she sounds too robotic and out of tune with the warmth of the text.
That said, I have learned a lot with the book and even ordered the paper version to use as a guide.
Congratulations Priya!

19 people found this helpful

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Surprisingly detailed, pragramic, insightful

I picked up this book on a whim as I was looking to branch out from typical non-fiction books, hoping to pick up a few tips here and there. This book was a rather thorough break down of event design, which could be applied from everything from casual get togethers to conferences. There is little here about appetizers, dinner/drinks, music selection, proper activities, but how to make events memorable, engaging, fun, whatever the goal is. I think the name of this book does it a disservice as it sounds like a glorified Good Housekeeping issue rather than a truly thoughtful way to make all of your group activities tangibly work better. I recommend this book to everyone interested in the self-development genre.

13 people found this helpful

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More than I expected

I was curious how this book was able to get such high reviews across every platform where it is sold. Then I got to the third chapter and realized that I was being pulled into a world of clarity and intention. The advice given can be applied to every interaction that we have with others. Even when we are not the host. This book has taught me how to be a better guest and how to create meaningful experiences that benefit myself and those around me.

8 people found this helpful

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Great text but narrator is robotic

Great text with really helpful tips and insights for bringing groups together in a way that is memorable and effective. Yet the narrator of the book sounds like a robot...legit like a computer, and it made it very very hard for me to connect with listening to the text. I felt like the narrator needed to be more lively or connected, because the book is about connectedness.

6 people found this helpful

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Voice didn’t match up and messed me up

Unfortunately I learned of this book from hearing a podcast interview of the author and then when I started listening to the book and it WASNT her own voice, I couldn’t listen to it. It ruined it for me personally. Hard to explain why. Perhaps if I hadn’t heard the actual authors voice when I learned about the book. But her voice and what she said is what made me want to buy the book. So it made a difference for the audiobook to not be the same voice.
I’m not rating he content because I haven’t heard it since i list interest as soon as I heard the narration.

4 people found this helpful

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Incredibly useful information!!

This book has made me rethink how I conduct and organize gatherings for the various businesses and non-profit organizations I work with. She covers everything from what you would expect like logistics and activities to the things you wouldn't even think about like breaking down the purpose of your gathering and why that's important, protecting participants, social contracts, and why to exclude certain people. (promise that's really important and she will explain why). Definitely recommend to anyone planning any type of event.

2 people found this helpful

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must read for those working with groups

must read for those working with groups, from parties to workshops and seminars, and even families and trusts

2 people found this helpful

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Loved it

Such a good book! It was very helpful for life in general! How to gather in a meaningful way will help you think about ways to connect with people!

2 people found this helpful

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Host people?

If you get people together of any size, this is a must read to make your gatherings more enjoyable.

2 people found this helpful

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Not the author reading

Great material but minus points for robotic narration. Would’ve loved the author to speak in her literal voice.

1 person found this helpful