I am happy to announce: My party hosting handbook was given a Kirkus Star award 🏆
What is a Kirkus Star?
Being selected for a Kirkus Star is a big deal in the book world!
This industry award feels like I got some legitimacy for my non-traditional way of networking.
Kirkus Reviews featured my book in their magazine and selected it as one of the best new books.
Here’s what Kirkus Reviews said about The 2-Hour Cocktail Party:
To read the article in full in the Kirkus website, click here.
“An encouraging, upbeat, and useful call to host parties and make friends. This debut guide offers a new strategy for meeting people and networking.
Gray admits at the beginning of his book about social gatherings that he doesn’t have the good fortune of being a natural extrovert. “In social situations, I sometimes felt overwhelmed and intimidated,” he writes. “My heart would race, and I’d stutter or say something embarrassing.”
Whether it was personal meetings or more business-oriented events, he found himself continuously out of step and disappointed. So he decided, as he puts it, to “bring the party to me” by hosting bashes in his home. Soon, he developed a way to “hack” a social life. He shares the parameters of that hack in these pages, laying out for readers what they should do in order to host truly wonderful parties. He insists these parties are not intended as networking events, but he also makes it clear that networking benefits will almost certainly result.
“In the time it takes to watch a movie, you can improve your relationships with a room full of people,” he writes. “It is the most efficient and effective way I’ve found to strengthen many different connections.”
In chapters clearly aimed at readers who share his initial social awkwardness, Gray explains the rules of these parties (including name tags for all attendees and clear starting—and stopping—times) and the burdens incumbent on the host, all the while providing examples of successful professionals who have adopted this method and seen positive results. “I created so many new connections,” enthuses Nagina Sethi-Abdulla, founder of MasalaBody.com. “I also gained confidence that I’m adding value to my community.”
Gray strikes an effervescently positive tone throughout; his book is almost entirely free of the hard-line battlefield commands that littered its predecessor from decades ago, How To Do It ( 1957) by the legendary party thrower Elsa Maxwell. But in both cases, the host is absolutely the key to the success or failure of the gathering that Gray calls a “structured cocktail party.” He paints a glowingly positive picture of how wonderful an experience those structured cocktail parties can be:
“Two hours fly by. Now, new friends who didn’t know anyone when they arrived have met several interesting people whom they genuinely look forward to following up with.” (“I warmly usher people out,” he adds charmingly, “and some are surprised to get home before 10:00 p.m.”)
There’s a touchingly earnest element to the way the author leaves nothing to chance. He devotes energetic attention to everything from handling RSVPs (don’t spam people) to managing the right mix of attendees and preparing the space for an influx of guests. He provides innumerable helpful hints and “party pro tips” for prospective hosts, everything from posting little map directions on the stairs (“Almost there! You look great!”) to a wide array of possible icebreakers designed to get people talking and having fun. Anyone who has ever attended a networking event (or a dinner party) will fervently hope that Gray’s idea takes root and becomes universal.”
My book was also included in the September 17th, 2022 issue of Kirkus Magazine.
Here are some screenshots: