Escape to Mibo Island: Practising The Art of Gathering by Priya Parker


January 2021: Makers: Creativity as a Practise
Rebel Book: #69
Book: The Art of Gathering by Priya Parker
Meetup: Hop In – Virtual Event Space
Special Guest: The Mibo Island Experience
Fuel: ‘The Art of Mixing (+ Muddling)’
Cocktails From Your Cupboard
by Mix + Muddle
Action: £354 to Second Tree


January’s Shortlist

For our January theme, we wanted to start as we mean to go on: opening up 2021 with creativity and innovation.

Once again, our final shortlist took 3 completely different angles on what it means to ‘make’ or create:

The Art of Gathering became our January read with 40% of the vote.


How do you gather to meet about a book about gathering?

Well, as you can imagine it poses the ultimate in virtual gathering pressure. So we took Priya Parkers lessons very seriously.

Here are some standout guidelines we picked up:

  • Have a Purpose (outside of the general category of the event)
  • Create good controversy
  • What do your guests need? How can you facilitate meeting that need? e.g. Thanksgiving – What does this family need this year? Share stories about difference, belonging, a time they changed their mind…
  • Create a temporary alternative world through the use of pop-up rules e.g. whoever looks at phone first foots the bill, entrepreneurs – don’t reveal what you do, Mums – don’t talk about kids, or you take a shot.

So what might this look like at a non-fiction book club?

Well for a start, what is our event purpose?

To ‘chat about the book’ is too general, whereas something closer to ‘welcome new members + facilitate member connections and conversations, whilst using the lessons from Priya Parker’s book’ is more on point.

So our purpose of connecting members provided the framework for our gathering. Next we wanted to find a ‘space’ to make connecting easier for members, but also memorable. We’re constantly striving to be ‘not another zoom room’ by trying new and emerging virtual technology, so we loved this challenge.

First of all, we met in our trusty virtual event space ‘Hop In’ and kicked off with a high energy welcome; in line with Priya’s reference to SNL’s ‘Cold Open’ and her insistence that we do not start an event with housekeeping announcements…

What followed was a strategic facilitation of connection, starting with quantity, leading into quality and ending with longevity (or post-event connection). Here’s how it worked…

1. Say Hello to As Many People As Possible

We designed the meet to begin with high volume speed-friending, using Hop In’s ‘networking’ function which mimics ‘chat roulette’ and asked members to speed meet 3 others for 90 second introductions

2. Creating an environment for deeper connections to occur

This is where things got really exciting. We partnered with Mibo Island, to give Rebel members a more immersive and memorable way to meet online.

For those whose technology could support it, we set a Priya Parker ‘rule’ to bring a Rebel Book Club book-inspired cocktail and sunnies along for some winter sun on Mibo Island. For those who didn’t have a laptop to join in, we hosted a ‘Staycation’ chat back on Hop In, so no one was left out.

We also provided a ‘roaming reporter’ experience, by broadcasting / streaming our host, Ben Keene, chatting to members on Mibo Island back to the Hop In Main Stage. Sound complicated? It was a bit, but it was worth it!

What was exciting, when we’re working with virtual meets, was the ability to move around one environment where lots of people can have different conversations at the same time without shouting over each other. For instance, members gathered in conversation in the saloon, or around the campfire, or whilst having a go at shooting some hoops and they were all in the ‘same place’ hanging out.

It brings back an element of ‘virtual autonomy’ that is often lost in a ‘2D’ video call format.

3. Facilitating repeat or long-lasting connection

For our final plan for connecting-Rebels-in-the-spirit-of-Priya, we returned to Hop In. We created hang out spaces for our Rebel Book Club spin off / specialist groups (brunch club, entrepreneurs, writers, to name a few), plus geographical hubs.

During the meet, our members could pop in to meet others face to face. Plus, each space contained a link to a Whatsapp or Mighty Networks ‘group home’, that our members could join for on-going conversation about an interest they’re passionate about, or to connect with others in their city or region.

Et voila! That’s how we went about putting The Art of Gathering into action in January 2021!

“A great book written with brilliant examples from an amazing lady who has lived through them all.  I have used many of her rules in both a personal and business gathering space and it made my life so easy.”

RBC Member takeaways – jan 2021

The Art of Gathering in Action x Rebel Book Club Members

When this booked clicked with our members, it really clicked. We asked Rebel Book Clubbers what they will be putting into action, as a result of reading The Art of Gathering? And here’s what they said…

“Logistics… I used to work in events and everything would start and end with logistics/sponsors. That will change for future events!”

“Definitely considering the purpose of any meetings I need to hold or be a part of! If it’s vague I would prefer to keep my own time and give it back to others. I really enjoyed the book”

“I really enjoyed the concept of “closing the circle” and generous authority.”

To close, I don’t think we could put it better than RBC Member, Nat Pearce…


Onwards to February…

February is the final month in our Winter Season. We’re taking on the theme, ‘Magic Numbers’ and we’ll be reading The Life-Changing Magic of Numbers by Bobby Seagull. We are super stoked to have Bobby on board all month, check out his message below…

We’ve got lots of fun planned this month and a bit of light competition, so make sure you get your copy of Bobby’s book.

If you’re not a member, sign up now to join in the madness!

If you’re new here, welcome!

We are Rebel Book Club, a global nonfiction book club.

We’ve been reading together for 5+ years and we exist to accelerate your reading habits, connect you with like-minded thinkers + doers and take positive action in a changing world…

We have an event at the end of each month, where we hear from experts in a relevant field to the books we’re reading – which is how this blog post came about.

If you’d like to find out more, check out our websitefollow us on Instagram or email our Membership Manager at hello@rebelbookclub.co.uk.

We can’t wait to welcome you aboard!

Not Your Average Book Club.