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5 Books That Aim to Make You a Better Planner

Engagement, work-life balance, risk management: new and recently updated volumes to improve your knowledge and provide new perspective on our evolving industry.

Most meeting professionals are self-taught, learning the art and science of bringing people together by doing, reading, and asking questions. A handful of new and newly updated books on meeting-related topics might be just the thing to inspire or educate planners as they manage a full plate of post-pandemic meetings and conventions.

Gather.png“By elevating the personal into business, we can fulfill our audiences’ innate needs and revere them as passionate, complicated, and worthy; they are more than simple, homogeneous data points.” That excerpt from Doug Binder’s Gather: The Business of Coming Together, published in February, gets at the heart of his ideas around meetings. Binder, senior creative director at InVision Communications, shares his ideas for creating more engaging and fulfilling events by using experiential design, storytelling, and collaboration.

shower_genius.jpegDeana Brown Mitchell, CMP, DMCP, spent most of her career in the fast-paced meetings industry as founder and CEO of Realize Colorado DMC. The nonstop demands and stress of event management and business ownership dominated her life. By the time the Covid pandemic brought business to a standstill, she was already considering the need for important changes in her life. In August 2020, Realize Colorado shut its doors, and that autumn she launched Genius and Sanity, a consulting business that helps people find work-life balance. This October, she published The Shower Genius: How Self-Care, Creativity, and Sanity Will Change Your Life Personally and Professionally, where she shares her personal story as well as a framework to help people put themselves first.

n July, Bruno Marx released the third edition of The Event Safety Book: The Ultimate Guide to Event Safety, with more content around incident management, crisis communication, and food safety, to go along with his formulas for calculating capacities, procedures for incidents such as bomb threats and active shooters, and tools for evaluating venue safety.

CBRN.pngHowever, if you want take your risk-management education to a new (and hair-raising) level, the second edition of Daniel Kaszeta’s CBRN and Hazmat Incidents at Major Public Events: Planning and Response is due out in December, explaining how to prepare for and react to incidents involving chemical, biological, radiological, or nuclear (CBRN) materials. The author, who was responsible for CBRN protection of the White House for 12 years, writes to a wide audience, from corporate managers to law enforcement.

art of gathering.pngPriya Parker published The Art of Gathering: How We Meet and Why It Matters just as the pandemic hit in April 2020. Now with more than 2,000 mostly positive reviews on Amazon, she followed up early this year with a Spanish-language edition. The author provides advice on creating more meaningful events for both social and business occasions. From the description: “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.”

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