By @SimonCocking  review New Power: How It’s Changing The 21st Century – And Why You Need To Know by Henry Timms and Jeremy Heimans, Pan Macmillan (UK), Doubleday (US). Available from Amazon here.

For most of human history the rules of power were clear: power was something to be seized, and then jealously guarded. Under this ‘Old Power’ we lived in a world of rulers and subjects.

Now, we all sense that something has changed. From #MeToo to Harvey Weinstein; Corbyn to Trump; from YouTube sensations to darker phenomena such as the emergence of ISIS – in our new hyper-connected world, ideas and movements can spread and flourish with astonishing force and speed.

In New Power, Jeremy Heimans and Henry Timms confront the biggest story of our age and trace how New Power is the key to understanding where we are and will prosper in the 21st Century.

Drawing on examples from business, politics, popular culture and social justice, as well as case studies of organisations like LEGO and TED, they explain the forces that are changing the course of our age.

This is a good book at a relevant an interesting time, where things are still slightly in a state of flux in terms of the best ways to communicate, market and reach your audience. We liked this book, it captures a lot of key trends, even if at times some of these are still so new, that it is arguably the case that we have still not completely understood or analaysed what really just happened. We found the book thought provoking and asking lots of good questions, even if at times its conclusions were sometimes a little opaque and questionable.

The comparison of Obama and Trump’s use of social media was certainly worth considering and made for an interesting read. Trump has certainly cofounded critics and achieved support that had never been expected before. For Obama, his legacy is now seen as a little more tarnished, but was it more simply to do with the fact that if your party doesn’t control the Congress, there will only ever be so much that you can achieve. Will the same fate happen to Trump too, now that he faces a similar situation. Except that with the current incumbent of the White House, you still feel their use of social media is potentially a timebomb still waiting to happen.

The book also looks at Pope Francis and his attempt to redirect the focus and the conversation around the role of the papacy, and his success to some degree in achieving this. Similarly the book looks at some of the new democracy movements, Podemos, En Marche, Occupy, even the NRA and others to assess how effectively they achieved their goals, using non traditional methods. All in all it is a thought provoking and readable book, if it doesn’t have all the answers, well maybe that is also reflective of the current, disrupted, semi chaotic times we live in.


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