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Citizenville: How to Take the Town Square Digital and Reinvent Government [Kindle Edition]

Gavin Newsom , Lisa Dickey
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (75 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $16.00
Kindle Price: $7.99
You Save: $8.01 (50%)
Sold by: Penguin Group (USA) LLC


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Book Description

“A fascinating case for a more engaged government, transformed to meet the challenges and possibilities of the twenty-first century.” —President William J. Clinton

A rallying cry for revolutionizing democracy in the digital age, Citizenville reveals how ordinary Americans can reshape their government for the better. Gavin Newsom, the lieutenant governor of California, argues that today’s government is stuck in the last century while—in both the private sector and our personal lives—absolutely everything else has changed. Drawing on wide-ranging interviews with thinkers and politicians, Newsom shows how Americans can transform their government, taking matters into their own hands to dissolve political gridlock even as they produce tangible changes in the real world. Citizenville is a timely road map for restoring American prosperity and for reinventing citizenship in today’s networked age.

Editorial Reviews


“Newsom is essentially calling for a complete redesign of the system that dictates how government handles information, and he has specific ideas on how to achieve such a transformation… A passionate and well-reasoned argument for a new style of government that would treat the citizenry not just as spectators but as collaborators.”
--Booklist (starred)

"The book remains fresh and lively with Newsom emerging as a persuasive, if fast-talking, progressive proponent focused on how best to 'radically rethink the relationship between citizens and government'... Empowering, motivating."

“Gavin Newsom is a clear-eyed public servant who has never been satisfied with the status quo. Citizenville makes a fascinating case for a more engaged government, transformed to meet the challenges and possibilities of the 21st century, and where technology brings the critical tools of our democracy closer to its citizens than ever before.”
--President William J. Clinton

Gavin Newsom is helping to lead a new generation of government leaders who think like entrepreneurs - and who understand that technology can transform the way citizens interact with government, just as it is transforming the way we live and work. Citizenville offers a guide for how people can take charge of their government and their futures.”
--Michael R. Bloomberg, Mayor of New York City; founder of Bloomberg LP

Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom offers a real discussion of how we communicate and engage with the people and institutions around us – and how government can catch up, or risk getting left behind.”
--Cory A. Booker, Mayor of Newark

"Newsom's ideas are powerful: Why can't government enjoy the same disruptions that happen in the technology industry every day? Citizenville's prescriptions form the basis of a much-needed software upgrade for our democracy."
--Jeremy Stoppelman, Co-Founder and CEO,

“As a serious business guy, Gavin Newsom figured out smart new ways to run his wine businesses. As mayor and lieutenant governor, he led the way in rethinking how to govern. Now, as an author, he puts that knowledge and creativity onto the page, showing us what we citizens must do to greatly improve the way our government runs. Citizenville is a serious and realistic look at how to change the nature of government forever.
--Craig Newmark, founder of

Citizenville is nothing short of a call for revolution. Gavin Newsom, one of the most tech-savvy politicians in the United States, shows how our government has dropped the ball on using exciting new technologies – and he reveals how we can fix the situation and bring governing power to the people. In the midst of the social-media revolution, Newsom serves as a guide for how to people can take charge of their government and their futures.”
--Peter H. Diamandis, Chairman, X PRIZE Foundation; Exec. Chairman, Singularity University

“Gavin Newsom is one of the most tech-savvy elected officials in the United States. With Citizenville, he provides a blueprint for a government that can tap into the creativity, innovation and transparency that define digital and social media, and makes the case for using all the tools at our disposal to improve our government -- and our lives.”
 --Arianna Huffington, founder and editor-in-chief, The Huffington Post

Citizenville deftly combines Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom's keen understanding of technology and his insight from years in public service. The result is a book that offers ideas for bridging the gap between a plugged-in citizenry and an out-of-date government.”  
 --Marc Benioff, chairman and CEO,

"Thanks to new technology and new ideas, today's policy makers have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to redefine how government serves citizens. Gavin Newsom provides a practical and engaging look at how to make our government more efficient, agile, and responsive." --Eric Ries, author of The Lean Startup

“The Web is a virtual city already.  Web-based services, adroitly deployed, can massively improve physical cities and the dynamics of governance, as Newsom shows.  His experience as an innovative and popular mayor of San Francisco gives his book particular substance.”
 --Stewart Brand, creator of the Whole Earth Catalog

About the Author

GAVIN NEWSOM is the forty-ninth lieutenant governor of the State of California, following two terms as mayor of San Francisco. He was the youngest mayor of San Francisco elected in more than a hundred years. Previously, Newsom founded fifteen small businesses in the San Francisco Bay area after graduating from Santa Clara University. He lives in the Bay Area with his wife, Jennifer Siebel Newsom, and their two children.

Product Details

  • File Size: 571 KB
  • Print Length: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books (February 7, 2013)
  • Sold by: Penguin Group (USA) LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B008EKMC9K
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #86,078 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Gavin Newsom demonstrates in a succinct and entertaining manner how we can take charge of our communities by employing social media technologies we have all become familiar with.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Eye opening analysis that keeps the pages turning February 7, 2013
Why isn't the public more engaged in government? How should leaders connect with the generations' leading our innovation economy? These are some of the tough questions that Newsom and this collection of thought leaders unravel brilliantly. A must read for anyone with an interest in politics and/or technology.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The best ideas come from those governed. March 12, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
A wortwhile book which encourages citizen involvement rather than waiting for government to solve problems. Government is said to work in favor of the status quo and in many cases has been taken over by a minority of activists with another agenda. Why not offer a 'contest' with bragging rights and perhaps a small amount of money as a prize for the best offered solution to most any problem as determend by popular opinion. Many examples are given where this has worked very well.

I liked it though it does get somewhat repetitive.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent! March 22, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
The relationship between citizens and local government as citizens become participants rather than municipal "customers." Technology, also, is changing the way citizens and local governments interact. Opening up municipal data not only allows citizens to take care of business with municipalities more easily, but also signals that municipalities are willing to be more transparent in their day-to-day work and respect for citizens. Gavin Newsom cites numerous examples of how some of the nation's more forward-thinking cities are doing this.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Model for Future of Governance February 16, 2013
By hondu6
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I run a student governance body in the Big Ten, and immediately bought this for our group to use as a reference in our restructure. We hope to have him come to our school and speak more about this issue. We've thought about much of what he mentions, but he offers resources and examples in a comprehensive style. His candor about attempts at transparency and the challenges inherent in it were particularly helpful. We all face challenges in attempting to be open hearted leaders. Readable and timely.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Airport book. Bring your barf bag. November 15, 2013
Dismal, ghost-written, dreck, which will no doubt will be selling at airport kiosks this year, and remainder piles, next. Synopsis of the book so you needn't waste your money: the Internet is wonderful! It's a cyber version of "Better Living Through Science." While it's certainly true that the Internet could be used for things like putting government agency's budgets online and soliciting citizen's comments, what it's mostly used for is massive data collection by huge corporations (and governments) and drugging the populace into a gaming, porno-ing, facebooking, daze. One of the reasons political engagement is so low, is, hello, the Internet.

Since the Internet first appeared, its PR hacks and deluded promoters have been claiming that any minute now it's going to result in an explosion in democracy, freedom, and people power. Yet what the Internet has actually given real power to is global financial networks, the military, and the surveillance state. With the NSA collecting literally every phone call and income inequality at its highest point ever, how anyone can claim with a straight face that more virtuality will reverse the US's slow slide into an oligarchy? What do you think gets a congressman's attention more: five hundred angry tweets, or five hundred angry people doing a sit-in at his office? From the suffragettes to the civil rights workers to French union members rioting in Paris, history makes it clear that the only thing people in power listen to is bodies in the streets.

More troubling than the naivete and vacuity of this thesis is the dishonesty behind it. This is clearly a book written by a man who intends, very soon, to run for higher office.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
First thing: this review is not of Gavin Newsom as Mayor, Lt. Governor, or Plumpjack entrepreneur. This is a review of a wonderfully written, easy to read, book about how the internet, Facebook, Twitter, apps, etc. (in other words digital technology), offers hope to us all. This premise could not be more timely. Our governments, from local to state to federal, lack not only the money but the ability to solve so many of our problems. Additionally, ordinary peoples' voices are being drowned out by special interests. Innovation and participation by these same ordinary people, i.e. citizens, i.e. all of us who care about something, is our hope for the future. And the future is now!

Don't be fooled that this book will be over your head, or filled with jargon, or with idealistic rhetoric. This book is for you, about you! Keep reading the book if you doubt me. Because despite the title being about how to reinvent government, Citizenville is more about real life stories of real people who are making a difference and who can help you make a difference about something YOU care about, whether it is fixing the pothole in YOUR street, improving YOUR park, addressing YOUR public safety concerns or funding a teacher in YOUR child's or grandchild's school. Each story or essay begins with an idea. Citizenville is coined from the gaming sensation Farmville. The fact that people will spend considerable time and money playing virtual games leads to the premise that the same model could be used to get people to do actual, real things in their community when given the same incentive, ie. the competitive spirit. But the book quickly moves to other ideas, each explored with quotes from a myriad of people from technology gurus to public figures.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Everyone should read this!
A book that has potential to change the world.
Published 12 days ago by Cooper
3.0 out of 5 stars Not my cup of tea
Way to specialized for me. But great thinking.
Published 1 month ago by Gary Gray
5.0 out of 5 stars Prescient
Mr. Newsom is right on the money in his predictions about the relationship between government and constituent. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Lance McNeill
5.0 out of 5 stars A vision of the future
Gavin does an impressive job laying out a case for the urgent need to bring technology and government closer together, empowering an active and engaged citizenry. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Mark Deloura
5.0 out of 5 stars Activist Necessity
If you are an activist this is a must read for you. It provides a whole new perspective on interacting with government. Practical ideas and real world assistance. A must read.
Published 2 months ago by Victoria Rose
3.0 out of 5 stars Okay read
Unfortunately the book wasn't very insightful. I believe Newsom had some create case studies as reference but the book left more to be desired.
Published 4 months ago by Tade
4.0 out of 5 stars Informational
I learned a lot about decisions and all the red tape that slows the decision making process. I agree it is time to change the way government entities operate but until someone... Read more
Published 4 months ago by DeAnna Hogan
2.0 out of 5 stars excellent
This book looks impressive and spawned many discussions with people who saw it on my bookshelf. None of those interactions have required my reading the book or absorbing its... Read more
Published 4 months ago by G. Damiani
5.0 out of 5 stars A book for our time
Gavin Newsome's Citizenville is a book for our time. How to engage we, the people, in the decisions that impact us is the big question facing all of us. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Brian J Weller
5.0 out of 5 stars Citizenville: How to Take the Town Square Digital and Reinvent...
This is a very insightful book about how citizens can take governmental issues into their own hands for resolution. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Donald B. Burnell
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