10 Best Event Planning Books to Read for Work in 2021

Home » Books » Event Planning BooksUpdated: November 12, 2021

You found our list of top event planning books.

Event planning books are guides to planning and executing professional gatherings. These works cover topics such as event marketing, venue layout, safety, and staffing. The purpose of these books is to help event organizers more effectively plan and run safe and engaging events.

Other tools planners can use to organize events include virtual event platforms and event management software.

This article includes:

  • corporate event planning books
  • event planning business books
  • event planning books for beginners

Here we go!

List of event planning books

Here is a list of books about event planning to elevate your next gathering into an extraordinary experience.

1. The Non-Obvious Guide to Event Planning (For Kick-Ass Gatherings that Inspire People) by Andrea Driessen

the non-obvious guide to event planing book cover

The Non-Obvious Guide to Event Planning (For Kick-Ass Gatherings that Inspire People) is a how-to in creating memorable and innovative events. The opening explains how to set goals for the gathering and strategize methods of setting the event apart. The book goes on to share how to secure engaging speakers and entertainers, capture and hold attendees’ attention, and manage logistics effectively so that you can focus more energy on wow-factor elements. The author also gives advice on managing challenges such as addressing unrealistic expectations from stakeholders and implausible timelines. The layout is similar to a textbook format and has short, easy-to-reference sections with chapter summaries at the end. The book also includes online tools such as templates, tutorials, videos, and step-by-step instructions.

Notable Quote: “The secret of a great meeting: It inspires connections. It gives the participants something to talk about throughout the rest of the conference, so they can engage in meaningful conversations and create relationships.”

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

2. The Art of Gathering: How We Meet and Why It Matters by Priya Parker

the art of gathering book cover

The Art of Gathering: How We Meet and Why It Matters is an event-planning guide that centers around the importance of gathering. The book touches on the reasons we throw parties and the roles events play in our lives, and uses these emotional factors as the driving force behind planning memorable experiences. The book shows readers how to arrange gatherings in ways that spark excitement and incite connection instead of merely going through the motions. Priya Parker helps readers understand what attendees want from events and gives ideas on how to both meet and exceed those expectations. The Art of Gathering: How We Meet and Why It Matters is a manual for throwing meaningful and unboring parties that have real value for guests.

Notable Quote: “Your opening needs to be a kind of pleasant shock therapy. It should grab people. And in grabbing them, it should both awe the guests and honor them. It must plant in them the paradoxical feeling of being totally welcomed and deeply grateful to be there.”

Read The Art of Gathering.

3. Event Planning: Management & Marketing For Successful Events by Alex Genadinik

event planning management and marketing for successful events book cover

Event Planning: Management & Marketing For Successful Events is one of the most helpful corporate event planning books. The guide lays out strategies for promoting and monetizing events, and covers the key components of event orchestration. The book explains steps for  setting objectives, documenting, and measuring results. There is a particularly detailed section on marketing and promoting events. The authors touch on other non-obvious, behind the scenes efforts that make an event a hit and ensure return on investment, as well as the basic logistics. Book also contains additional resources for event planners, such as suggestions of other event books and additional free resources.

Notable Quote: “From the outset, you must be clear on a singular goal for your event. Obviously, you’d like as many good things to happen as possible. You might want to make money, build a brand, grow a community, promote another business through your events, and much more. But one of those things must be the main focus so you can structure all your ensuing strategies to first and foremost achieve your main goal.”

Read Event Planning: Management & Marketing For Successful Events.

4. Event Planning: The Ultimate Guide To Successful Meetings, Corporate Events, Fundraising Galas, Conferences, Conventions, Incentives and Other Special Events by Judy Allen

event planning the ultimate guide book cover

Event Planning: The Ultimate Guide is an instruction manual for throwing any kind of gathering. The chapters explore different stages of event management, from brainstorming and budgeting to arranging the location and accommodations, to welcoming guests, executing the agenda, and wrapping up. The book functions as a sort of checklist containing all considerations to keep in mind when putting together a program for events of any size.

Notable Quote: “Although you are not creating an Oscar-winning movie, it is always important to remember that you are creating something that may be a lifetime memory for someone. Any event, whether it’s for 50 or more than 2,000, needs to be as detailed and as scripted as any film production, and so does the budget.”

Read Event Planning: The Ultimate Guide.

5. Born to Party, Forced to Work: 21st Century Hospitality by Bronson Van Wyck

born to party forced to work book cover

Born to Party, Forced to Work chronicles the best-ever parties by Bronson Van Wyck, who Vogue nicknamed ‘The Wizard of Oz of New York party planning.” The pages are full of lavish pictures of extraordinary elements at these affairs, alongside reflections on the essentials of event design. The photos in this book can serve as inspiration for party planners and can give ideas on how to make gatherings unforgettable and unique. Meanwhile, the text reflects on what it means to be an excellent host and planner as well as the qualities that turn an event into a memorable experience. The book touches on topics such as lighting, invitations, and entertainment, and covers a range of event types including weddings, fundraisers, holiday parties, and beyond. The examples within these pages are the pinnacles of modern parties and give event planners objectives to aspire to.

Notable Quote: “At Versailles, hospitality became an act of state, used by the young king as a means of political control. Determined to bring his nobles to heel, he did so by entertaining– daily.”

Read Born to Party, Forced to Work.

6. Event Design Handbook: Systematically Design Innovative Events Using the #EventCanvas by Roel Frissen, Ruud Janssen, and Dennis Luijer

event design handbook book cover

Event Design Handbook presents a framework for organizing events. This guide functions as a workbook and lays out steps to creating responsive and next level events. The book lays out simple formulas for creating extraordinary experiences and setting a precedent and business case for future events. The authors present a one page plan known as the event canvas that makes it easy to map out an event and lay down a firm foundation to build off of.  Event Design Handbook is a how-to for inspiring novelty and curiosity and putting together an experience that makes a lasting impression.

Notable Quote: “The event industry as we know it today is occupied by a committed and traditional field of experts who are mainly focused on continuity and value. They ensure stability by building on relationships practices that in the past helped launch previous events. The events themselves have become businesses. But in order for event planners to survive in today’s growing experience market they need to evolve. There is a tested and proven better way to design events that includes quantifying the abstract, empathizing, and planning for change.”

Read Event Design Handbook.

7. The Event Manager’s Bible: The Complete Guide to Planning and Organising a Voluntary or Public Event by D.G. Conway

the event managers bible book cover

The Event Manager’s Bible is one of the simpler event planning books for beginners. This book is a very basic guide that highlights the key points of hosting events. Chapters highlight factors such as health and safety, advertising, staffing, security, accounting, and setup and teardown. This guide distills the essentials down into easy-to-reference, digestible bits, and is ideal for more inexperienced or casual planners. The text also touches on best practices and behaviors that set organizers up for success. The Event Manager’s Bible is a helpful handbook for first-time planners that lays out the essentials of event planning.

Notable Quote: “The golden rule is: ‘Delegate…but not too far!”

Read The Event Manager’s Bible.

8. Secrets to Successful Events: How to Organize, Promote and Manage Exceptional Events and Festivals by Lynn Fuhler

secrets to successful events book cover

Secrets to Successful Events is one of the most useful event planning business books. Lynn Fuhler draws on decades of professional experience to help readers master the finer points of planning. The book describes how to arrange logistics such as managing parking and traffic, ticketing, booking, promotion and publicity, staging, and post-event tasks. The book explains how to coordinate and deal with involved parties, including security, sponsors, vendors, volunteers, venue staff, entertainment, and guests. The chapters get into the nitty-gritty of event administration and shed light on the behind-the-scenes tasks and responsibilities that are invisible to attendees. The book guides readers through every step of the planning process, from conception of the event to closing ceremonies and cleanup. Secrets to Successful Events is a comprehensive insider guide to the finer points of event planning.

Notable Quote: “Event planners should always do a competitive analysis before creating an event and adding it to a crowded community calendar. Find out which events have traditionally occurred on specific dates or weekends on or about the same time as your proposed event.”

Read Secrets to Successful Events.

9. The Event Safety Guide: A Guide to Health, Safety and Welfare at Live Entertainment Events in the United States by Event Safety Alliance

The event safety guide book cover

Safety is a critical component of any live event. The Event Safety Guide is an official handbook published by the Event Safety Alliance that outlines the steps and procedures needed to ensure the wellbeing of attendees. Chapters cover topics such as fire safety, crowd control, worker protections, weather precautions, and first aid. The text teaches readers how to write safety policies, design event sites and set up venues, draft emergency plans, adhere to regulations, and manage attendees. The book’s layout is in an organized, indexed format, meaning event staff can reference sections while the event is in progress. The Event Safety Guide is an extremely helpful resource for mediating risk and running events that are safe and enjoyable for all involved.

Notable Quote: “The “why” part of a situation is often the key. In some matters, there is an absolute right answer, a single best and most correct way to do something…In a great majority of  situations, however, there is more than one safe way to do something.”

Read The Event Safety Guide.

10. Event Management For Dummies by Laura Capell

Event management for dummies book cover

Event Management for Dummies is one of the best event planning books for beginners. The book covers the basics of planning and running events, from budgeting, to venue selection, to promotion, to contingency planning to measuring the success of the event. The text defines industry terms and concepts and lays out processes in simple steps. However, the book also goes beyond the basics and describes practices like analyzing the audience and doing research, and employing storytelling to make events memorable. The guide also explains how to structure and optimize an event team and prepare for unexpected developments. The last section of the book provides helpful tools like “ten types of suppliers you need in your address book” and “ten things to have in your event kit during the build and show day.”

Notable Quote: “If you think of an event as a marketing tool, what people experience and feel becomes a driving force in your decision making.”

Read Event Management For Dummies.

Final Thoughts

Event planning is not as easy a task as some folks might suspect. Good gatherings have many moving parts, including branding, safety, team management, and problem-management. The key to throwing extraordinary events lies in preparation and care. Great event planners are master multitaskers that have contingency plans and flexibility in case of emergencies. The best organizers plan parties with a theme and goal in mind, and reflect on whether or not the gathering achieved its objectives to improve future events.

What sets great events apart from average or mediocre events is not necessarily the experience of the organizer, but rather the amount of thought and effort put into the process. Event planning books can lay out the components and give tips on getting all elements in order so that you can create one-of-a-kind experiences for guests and value for the organization.

Next, check out this list of top destination management companies and this holiday party etiquette guide.

FAQ: Event planning books

Here are answers to common questions about event planning books.

What are event planning books?

Event planning books are guides that teach professionals how to organize and run gatherings like parties, product launches, concerts, conferences, galas, festivals, and similar events. These guides cover topics such as obtaining permits, creating agendas, structuring activities, communicating with vendors, staffing, booking entertainment, and more. These guides cover all the considerations planners need to make when organizing events.

Why should I read event planning books?

You should read event planning books because these guides lay out all of the components of event organization and give instructions and tips on how to plan and run successful gatherings.

What are the best event planning books for beginners?

The best event planning books for beginners include Event Management For Dummies by Laura Capell, The Event Manager’s Bible by D.G. Conway, and Secrets to Successful Events by Lynn Fuhler.

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Author: Angela Robinson

Team building content expert. Angela has a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing and worked as a community manager with Yelp to plan events for businesses.

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