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Citizenville: How to Take the Town Square Digital and Reinvent Government Hardcover – February 7, 2013
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“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.”
"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, Yelp.com
“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 Craigslist.com
“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, SalesForce.com
"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.
Top customer reviews
Unfortunately, the once-sophisticated methods expressed in the book have already fallen behind the rough trade of bare-knuckles Trumpism in terms of motivating citizens, not necessarily in productive directions but with a lot more soul power than the technologized methods that Newsom advocates. From experience, I know how much of current technologism is for show, and how much actually is translated into active systems. Not much. That Newsom is still enthusiastic about the possibilities is endearing. He really does care.
The book has the flavor of a ghost-written volume, perhaps because it is. There's a second name on the cover and she obviously had a lot to do with the book's formulation and its writing. No matter, Citizenville is an interesting signpost on the way to a proposed future that's quite a lot like the present today. Worth a read, to see what progressive politicians for whom the people are an ally, not an enemy, are hoping for. I hope they/we find it.
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. And each idea is followed by an anecdote of the real life application of the idea. Gavin Newsom is completely forthcoming about the drawbacks of some of the supposed fixes to government or problems. But he is relentless in his belief that our lives, starting at the local level, can be improved despite government, despite the scarcity of resources and despite the lack of political will. And after hearing about so many websites that have already changed lives and re-engaged people, you cannot finish this book without feeling hopeful for the future. I closed the book and started to log into websites mentioned in the book. My last thought? How will I keep up with all these new sites and innovations? I am left wanting an email newsletter follow-up; when the next great site like Donorschoose goes up, I do not want to be the last to know!
WE can do this! The technology is a third of the equation, the process is a third, and the facilitation is a third. Gavin gets it right when he said it needs to be fun! We also need ways to engage in face to face or video to video dialogue to share ideas and to have new ideas emerge from our civil dialogues.
Along with this book I recommend Carolyn Lukensmeyer's book Bringing Citizen Voices To The Table. She is the amazing woman and visionary behind AmericaSpeaks cited in Citizenville.
Thank you for this great book and vision of participation, equality, and bottom up leadership!
I liked it though it does get somewhat repetitive.
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is ahead of his time.