Sally Blount, Dean of the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, recently wrote about the benefits of going on a retreat. Hers was silent, a focused time to contemplate, especially useful for major changes in life. This fit her situation well as the new dean of the school. I’ve been on somewhat similar retreats and found them valuable, but last week I attended a different type of retreat, of the Berrett-Koehler Authors Cooperative. It was my second, and both were remarkable experiences. Here are four reasons why I think it’s a great idea for knowledge workers to make time for retreats: 1. Meeting new people and renewing friendships. Although some of the attendees at the BK retreat were people I met in 2009, I also made new friends. Some were Facebook friends that I had not yet met in person. There were three communal meals a day that provided added opportunities for getting to know people better. 2Education. I learned a lot from the writing/marketing/publishing sessions run by my fellow BK authors, or members of the BK management team. 3. Personal renewal. There are major benefits to getting out of your routine for a few days. Many retreats, as this one did, have built-in time that can be used for contemplation, reading and being in nature. In the mornings before breakfast, if you chose, there was also time for group yoga and meditation. 4. New Activities. The BK retreat had a nonjudgmental atmosphere of acceptance. Some of this came from structured activities of trust, sharing and bonding. One night there was a campfire, and another night a talent show. Before the latter, we had a brief art therapy session. Although I went into it mentally kicking-and-screaming, I really enjoyed it and found commonalities with writing and editing. This is an intentionally short list. I’m interested in hearing about other benefits from retreats you’ve taken.