Who wrote it
Priya Parker grew up in mixed American-Indian family, is trained in conflict resolution, and has studied conflict resolution at M.I.T. as well as interned at the White House under President Obama. She now runs Thrive Lab at which she helps her clients create transformative gatherings, and she also hosts the podcast Together Apart. Her passion for creating productive meetings and enjoyable gatherings shows in every page of The Art of Gathering.
What it’s about
The Art of Gathering is full of great advice and know how on hosting the perfect gathering, be it a family dinner or a facilitation session around a sensitive political topics with high ranking international officials. As an introvert I found it completely exhausting, but also loved some of the advice. The idea of being the perfect host, was the exhausting part. Being a guest with a perfect host and a structured gathering would relief so many of my introvert worries and anxiety. Priya writes about every facet of gathering from sending the invite, to the welcome, and right through to how to properly close a gathering. As an introvert my favourite advice is around pop-up rules. “Whereas Priya describes etiquette as the implicit and absorbed from birth rules of a closed tribe, she considers pop-up rules to be the new etiquette, more suited to gatherings across difference.” [pg 178 eBook] Having a specific set of rules for a meeting makes it so much easier to interact and would relieve a lot of my anxiety about how to behave and fit in.
Why you should read it
If for no other reason than to learn why you should Never Start a Funeral with Logistics aka Chapter 5, and why to Keep Your Best Self Out of My Gathering aka Chapter 6. There is another excellent reason to read The Art of Gathering, it will help make the next gathering you plan more a productive and enjoyable experience for everyone. Whether you are planning the next family dinner, Thanksgiving is only a few months away, or the next management meeting this book has concrete Dos and Don’ts that you can apply. Just think of all the terrible gatherings and meetings you’ve attended, wouldn’t it be better if we all learned to host better get togethers.
By Ines Quandel