Facilitator, strategic advisor, and author of The Art of Gathering
Photo credit: Mackenzie Stroh
About Priya Parker
Priya Parker’s bold approach to gatherings redefines the ways people connect, learn, and develop relationships. The founder of boutique advisory firm Thrive Labs, she helps activists, elected officials, corporate executives, educators, and philanthropists create transformative, unforgettable gatherings that allow them to step back from their daily routine, rediscover their motivations, and develop strategies for innovation.
In The Art of Gathering, Parker combines fascinating case studies culled from an international cast of characters with practices to follow—and rules to break— to connect more meaningfully with friends, colleagues, and strangers. She includes examples from her attempts to create connections, illustrating which tactics worked and which ones failed. Included among her success stories are “#IamHere Days,” self-organized adventures in which a group of people unplugs and explores a neighborhood, and “15 Toasts,” dinner parties where each guest has to toast to a common theme (the twist: the last one has to sing their toast). Parker’s interactive talks are both a demonstration of the techniques described in her books and a guide on how to implement her strategies.
Parker has helped numerous clients develop better gatherings, including the Museum of Modern Art, LVMH, the World Economic Forum, meetup.com, and Civitas Public Affairs. Trained in conflict resolution, she has worked on peace processes in the Arab world, Southern Africa, and India, and is a founding member of the Sustained Dialogue Campus Network, where she worked on race relations on American college campuses. She has been appointed as a member of the World Economic Forum Global Agenda Council on Values and the New Models of Leadership Council, and is also a senior expert at Mobius Executive Leadership. Her TEDx talk on purpose has been viewed over one million times. Parker studied organizational design at M.I.T., public policy at the Harvard Kennedy School, and political and social thought at the University of Virginia. She lives in Brooklyn, New York with her husband, Anand Giridharadas, and their two children.
The Art of Gathering
In this interactive session, formatted as a talk or as a live circle experience, Parker shares the secrets of creating transformative gatherings at work, at home, and in the public square. Parker argues that an overwhelming focus on things has distorted our gatherings and made us forget how to connect and move the people at the center of our gatherings. She draws on wisdom from choreographers of Cirque du Soleil to camp counselors of Jewish-Arab summer camps to rabbis and secret society designers on how anyone—a team leader, a teacher, a creative, a student—can create a gathering that meaningfully, authentically connects people around things that matter, and lasts long after it's over.
Gathering as a Tool for Culture Change in the Workplace
In this talk, Parker argues that gathering is an undervalued form of leadership and one we too often take for granted. She argues that gathering is something that should not be outsourced to a logistical challenge, but rather, should be the embodiment of a company's values. Gatherings—the time we intentionally spend together—are the moments that help define, upend, or double down on a company's values and culture. In this talk, Parker shares examples from leaders all over the world who used their gatherings—retreats, offsites, meetings, onboarding, and farewell parties—to define the kind of place they were, and build their way to the future they wanted to create.
Praise for Priya Parker— Public Library Association
Praise for The Art of Gathering
[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
Enthusiastically delivered formulas for better get-togethers… useful to those whose job it is to plan meetings, conferences, and the like and a worthy survival manual for consumers of the same.— Kirkus Reviews
This clear and engaging book sets down many things you thought you knew, until you find yourself remembering that you did not attend to its simple rules at the last significant event you hosted… A passion for successful encounters enlivens every page.— Sherry Turkle, author of Reclaiming Conversation: The Power of Talk in a Digital Age and Alone Together
A brilliant and eminently practical guide! The Art of Gathering will open your eyes to just how often we gather – and how we can turn those mundane events into dazzling opportunities for meaning, dreaming, and doing. This book should be mandatory reading for everyone from the business executive to the community activist, the conflict resolution specialist to the dinner host. Concrete advice that will forever change the way you gather.— Daniel L. Shapiro, founder of the Harvard International Negotiation Program and author of Negotiating the Nonnegotiable
Don’t read this book alone. Read it at a gathering of friends, in a book club, with a team of colleagues, or on a family reunion. But read it—for its wisdom, its charm, its insight, and its ability to make every encounter with others more meaningful and enjoyable. The Art of Gathering is a book long overdue, and just in time.— Bruce Feiler, bestselling author of The Secrets of Happy Families and Walking the Bible
Many of the best things in life happen when people gather. So it’s remarkable how little conscious intent goes into planning such moments. Thank goodness for this book. It opens up new ways of thinking about wonderful gatherings with a delicious confection of smartly-defined concepts and detailed examples. Hosts of all kinds, this is a must-read!— Chris Anderson, owner and curator of TED
Priya Parker’s The Art of Gathering is brilliant. The book is a timely reminder: It’s our human-to-human links that make the most meaningful moments of our lives. Page by page, Parker offers a decoder ring for the secret forces at work when we gather for business, crises or celebration. What to leave out, where to meet, how to charm—it’s all here, explained with unforgettable stories and clever tips. You’ll only put this book down because it will make you so hungry for a gathering of your own.— Joshua Cooper Ramo, author of The Seventh Sense and The Age of the Unthinkable
Books by Priya Parker
Media About Priya Parker
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The Art of Gathering
“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