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Discover the Best Event Planning Books to Level Up Your Skills

You're always on the lookout for ways to improve your event planning business and find inspiration. While blogs and magazines provide valuable insights, sometimes you need to take a deeper dive. That's where the best...

You're always on the lookout for ways to improve your event planning business and find inspiration. While blogs and magazines provide valuable insights, sometimes you need to take a deeper dive. That's where the best event planning books come into play.

Whether it's for bedtime reading or during a rare break in your schedule, cracking open a book can provide you with a wealth of knowledge and new perspectives. These event planning books cover a wide range of topics, from industry-wide discussions to specialty niches like sustainability and event safety. Some books even address vital issues such as creativity, attention to detail, interpersonal relations, burnout, and running a successful company.

So, let's dive into the list and discover the books that can give you a boost in knowledge, inspiration, and creativity. Whether you're new to the industry or an experienced pro, there's a must-read book for you. Let's explore!

The Power of Participation: Creating Conferences That Deliver Learning, Connection, Engagement, and Action (2015)

The Power of Participation

Author: Adrian Segar Focus area: Conferences Who it's for: Meeting planners who want to be on the cutting edge

Why it's great: This book covers a lot of theoretical ground in a practical way. It offers step-by-step instructions on improving meeting sessions to transform passive attendees into active participants. The book also explores the importance of promoting a sense of community and finding opportunities for genuine fun during events. With endorsements from industry experts, like Paul Salinger, VP of Marketing at Oracle, it's a must-have resource for any meeting planner.

Into the Heart of Meetings (2013)

Authors: Mike van der Vijver, Eric de Groot Focus area: Meeting design Who it's for: Corporate event planners, meeting designers, new planners, experienced planners

Into the Heart of Meetings

Why it's great: This book takes a bigger-picture approach, focusing on restructuring established thinking about meetings as forms of communication. It includes valuable insights on international meetings, meeting design, facilitation, programs, venues, and technology. Martin Sirk, CEO of the International Congress and Convention Association, praises the book for its ability to dissect the processes that make conferences brilliant and inspirational.

Special Events: Creating and Sustaining a New World for Celebration (2013, 7th Edition)

Author: Joe Goldblatt Focus area: Event planning Who it's for: Students and professionals

Why it's great: This event-planning staple covers both theory and practice. Updated with new segments on event sustainability, tech, security, globalization, and social media, it offers a comprehensive overview of the industry. The book features detailed case studies, including events like SXSW, the London Olympics, and a papal visit to Scotland. It's an essential read for anyone looking to expand their event planning knowledge.

Special Events

The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right (2011)

Author: Atul Gawande Focus area: Getting every detail right, every time Who it's for: Anyone who wants to get (and stay) organized

Why it's great: We're all familiar with checklists, but this book offers a new perspective on their importance. Atul Gawande, a surgeon, reveals how checklists can prevent critical tasks from falling through the cracks, even in life or death situations. This book provides practical instructions for creating checklists that work for any profession, helping you manage creativity, solve problems, and succeed in complex endeavors.

Sustainable Event Management: A Practical Guide (2017, 3rd Edition)

Author: Meegan Jones Focus area: Sustainability Who it's for: Planners who prioritize social and environmental responsibility

Sustainable Event Management

Why it's great: With sustainability becoming increasingly important in the event industry, this book offers valuable academic background and practical information on creating sustainable events. It covers best practices in guest engagement, communication, transportation, and procurement. Meegan Jones emphasizes the importance of involving multiple stakeholders and provides tools for continuous improvement.

Mind Your Business: A Workbook to Grow Your Creative Passion Into a Full-Time Gig (2019)

Author: Ilana Griffo Focus area: Building a small business Who it's for: Event planners ready to launch a new business

Why it's great: This workbook is a valuable resource for aspiring entrepreneurs looking to start a creative business, including event planning. It helps you develop your business idea, plan your brand strategy, and navigate marketing, budgeting, and client experience. With up-to-date information on online platforms, search engine optimization, and social media best practices, it's an essential guide for turning your creative passion into a successful business venture.

Mind Your Business

Return on Investment in Meetings and Events: Tools and Techniques to Measure the Success of All Types of Meetings and Events (2008)

Authors: Jack J. Phillips, M. Theresa Breining, Patricia Pulliam Phillips Focus area: Event ROI Who it's for: Event marketers, corporate event planners, meeting planners

Why it's great: Demonstrating event ROI is crucial for success in event planning. This book offers a step-by-step process for measuring inputs, perceived value, learning, implementation, and monetary ROI. While not up-to-the-minute in terms of social media metrics and tools, it provides a strong foundation for understanding the fundamentals of event ROI and making impactful changes.

Event Planning: The Ultimate Guide to Successful Meetings, Corporate Events, Fundraising Galas, Conferences, Conventions, Incentives and Other Special Events (2009, 2nd Edition)

Author: Judy Allen Focus area: Event planning Who it's for: Early-career planners, corporate planners, fundraisers, professionals in PR, hospitality, and entertainment

Why it's great: Judy Allen's comprehensive guide is a must-have for early-career event planners. It covers all aspects of event planning, from determining event goals to budgeting and venue sourcing. Allen's book provides valuable insights and is accompanied by "Confessions of an Event Planner," a collection of fictionalized case studies that give readers a behind-the-scenes look at the challenges and successes of event planning.

The Event Safety Guide: A Guide to Health, Safety and Welfare at Live Entertainment Events in the United States (2014)

Author: The Event Safety Alliance, Edited by Donald C. Cooper Focus area: Event safety Who it's for: Planners of every experience level

The Event Safety Guide

Why it's great: Crowd management, venue safety, and emergency procedures are crucial considerations for event planners. This guide highlights major safety concerns and provides practical advice on protecting event guests and workers. It covers safety at specific events, including conventions, trade shows, large events, and small events. Safety should always be a top priority, and this book offers essential guidance.

The Non-Obvious Guide to Event Planning (For Kick-Ass Gatherings that Inspire People) (2019)

Author: Andrea Driessen Focus area: Events of all types Who it's for: Occasional planners and experienced planners

Why it's great: This easy-to-read book focuses on helping planners create innovative, inspiring, and memorable events. The author introduces four questions that help make events roar with excitement and relevance. Andrea Driessen encourages planners to think differently and offers fresh ideas for every aspect of event planning. With its up-to-date publication date, it's a valuable resource for both occasional and experienced planners.

The Accidental Creative: How to be Brilliant at a Moment's Notice (2013)

Author: Todd Henry Focus area: Creativity Who it's for: Event planners feeling burnt out and overscheduled

Why it's great: Event planners often experience burnout, but this book offers strategies for balancing life and work in any creative field. Todd Henry provides valuable insights on how to maintain creativity and stay inspired. This book is endorsed by Seth Godin, author of "Linchpin," who praises it as invaluable for anyone who thinks for a living.

The Art of Saying NO: How to Stand Your Ground, Reclaim Your Time And Energy, And Refuse To Be Taken For Granted (Without Feeling Guilty!) (2017)

Author: Damon Zahariades Focus area: Setting boundaries Who it's for: Planners who need to set boundaries with confidence

Why it's great: Setting boundaries is essential, but it can be challenging for people-pleasers. This book provides a step-by-step guide for setting boundaries and developing assertiveness. Damon Zahariades offers practical strategies for saying no in various situations, empowering you to maintain your convictions while earning respect. This book is a #1 Kindle bestseller in Occupational & Organizational Psychology.

Event Planning Made Easy: 7 Simple Steps to Making Your Business or Private Event a Huge Success from the Industry's Top Event Planners (2005)

Author: Paulette Wolf and Jodi Wolf Focus area: Corporate events Who it's for: Early-career planners, corporate event planners

Why it's great: This book shares tips from experienced professionals who have planned events for major players like McDonald's, Disney, and VH1. Paulette Wolf and Jodi Wolf provide a practical guide with proven steps to make your event a huge success. With insights into the planning process and attention to detail, this book offers valuable advice from industry experts.

How to Win Friends and Influence People in the Digital Age (2012)

Author: Dale Carnegie Focus area: Interpersonal relations Who it's for: Planners interested in improving relationships with clients, networking, and growing business relationships

Why it's great: Interpersonal relationships are vital in event planning. This book offers timeless principles for enhancing your interpersonal skills in the digital age. It provides practical guidance for building and maintaining strong relationships with clients, vendors, and team members. First published in 1936, this updated version is a must-read for anyone seeking to improve their communication skills.

Operations Management for Dummies (2011)

Authors: Mary Ann Anderson, Dr. Edward Anderson, Dr. Geoffrey Parker Focus area: Running a business Who it's for: Planners without a business background

Why it's great: Sometimes event planners excel in the creative aspects but struggle with management. This book is a highly accessible resource for tackling the challenges of operations management. The "For Dummies" series is known for simplifying complex topics, making the essentials understandable and useful. It's a valuable tool for improving your business management skills.

Operations Management for Dummies

Get Started with Your Favorite Event Planning Book!

Books provide a wealth of information in a format that allows for depth and reflection. They offer the opportunity to dive deep into valuable insights and revisit them whenever you need. While books may not always keep you up-to-date with fast-moving trends, they provide a solid foundation of knowledge.

If you're looking for up-to-date event trends and inspiration, be sure to explore magazines and other online resources on our event planning blog. Whether you're a new or experienced event planner, there's always something to learn from these valuable books. Happy reading and happy planning!