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Nick Gray
The 2-Hour Cocktail Party
Nick Gray, author
You know that well-connected friend who only exists in the movies? The one who throws the best parties and can set up any introduction you need? Everyone wants to know someone magical like this who brings people together. The secret is: you can be that person. You should be that person. The 2-Hour Cocktail Party will show you how. Discover a simple formula with step-by-step instructions to host parties that help you meet new people, strengthen your existing relationships, and make you the person everyone wants to know. You’ll learn which days are the best (probably not the ones you think!) and what to say to the first people who arrive. Read how to ensure your invitations get responses and your guests show up excited to mingle. Plus, get helpful pre-party checklists and a breakdown of activities to encourage new connections. With The 2-Hour Cocktail Party, you’ll make new friends, boost your career, and leave everyone asking, “When’s your next party?”
Gray, creator of Museum Hack, shares strategies for how to schedule, prepare, and host an engaging cocktail party for working adults, as well as enthusiastic insight into why it’s worth doing in the first place, such as strengthening relationships and the pleasure of meeting “awesome people.” Gray’s conversational tone makes a relaxing read out of a potentially stressful situation, demystifying each step of party planning and breaking the process down into three key parts, “The Basics,” “The Logistics,” and “Party Time.” Interviews with successful party hosts demonstrate the possibilities of his techniques, even in small homes and apartments, and charming illustrations break up the manual and keep the tone light. Readers will come away with an in-depth plan to host a soirée and grow a guest list—and also reason to expect it will actually be fun.

Gray’s tone is conversational and light, suiting the subject, and this is an inviting and polished manual for adults looking to expand their network, make new friends, or simply plan a winning get-together. Gray explains the power of positive icebreakers, how to cut off a long-winded guest, and even how to avoid the awkward period when guests first arrive. (The secret? Delegating tasks, as “early arrivals…appreciate the chance to feel useful instead of making idle conversation.”) Other welcome tips include advice for handling kids, breaking up cliques, and this reminder: “As long as the liquor you buy is in a glass bottle and not plastic, it’ll do fine for an adult party.” Gray’s instructions are also straightforward and written in an inviting tone, though at times they can be repetitive—an entire chapter on name badges may be excessive for some readers.

Still, with fresh suggestions and an inviting tone, Gray fulfills what he promises in the introduction: a complete guide to throwing a networking event. Gray includes an appendix with helpful lists and examples that he introduces throughout the book, and chapter checklists summarizing the big takeaways.

Takeaway: Fresh, helpful guide to the hows and whys of throwing an entertaining party.

Comparable Titles: Mary Giuliani’s The Cocktail Party, Leslie Brenner’s The Art of the Cocktail Party.

Production grades
Cover: A
Design and typography: A
Illustrations: A
Editing: A
Marketing copy: A