The Art of Gathering – Priya Parker Book Summary

The Art of Gathering – Priya Parker | Free Book Summary

The Art of Gathering – Priya Parker

Rediscover community.

Gatherings: category vs purpose

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When we gather, we often make the mistake of merging categories without purpose. We outsource our decisions and our assumptions about our gatherings to people, formats, and contexts that are not our own.

We get caught up in the false belief that knowing the category of the gathering—the board meeting, workshop, birthday party, or town hall—will be instructive in designing it. But we often choose the template—and the activities and structure that go along with it—before we’re clear on our purpose.

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Arrive at something worth gathering about

Specificity is a crucial ingredient. The more focused and particular a gathering is, the more narrowly it frames itself and the more passion it arouses.

Uniqueness is another ingredient. Before you gather, ask yourself: Why is this gathering different from all my other gatherings?

A good gathering purpose should also be disputable. When the inevitable tensions arise—guest list, venue, one night versus two—your purpose won’t be there to guide you. A disputable purpose works like a decision filter.

In a world of infinite choices, choosing one thing is a revolutionary act. Imposing that restriction is actually liberating.

Your opening needs to be a kind of pleasant shock therapy. It should grab people. And in grabbing them, it should both awe the guests and honor them. It must give them the paradoxical feeling of being totally welcomed and deeply grateful to be there.

By closing the door, you create the room

Barack Obama’s aunt once told him, “If everyone is family, no one is family.” A tribe is formed by blood, and a nation is formed by a border.

The same is true of gatherings. The corollary to this saying is: If everyone is invited, no one is invited—in the sense of being truly held by the group.

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