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New Power by Jeremy Heimans and Henry Timms

How power works in our world and how to make it work for you.

Stephanie Wong | 20 Aug 2018

A book Image of New Power by Jeremy Heimans and Henry Timms.

Image credit: Act Build Change.

This book is about how to navigate and thrive in a world defined by the battle and balancing of two big forces. We call them Old and New Power.

— Jeremy Heimans and Henry Timms

Three Takeaways

  1. We live in a growing New Power world
  2. The future will be a battle over mobilisation
  3. People have always wanted to take part


A mask-wearing protester at Occupy LSX camp outside St Paul's Cathedral. Image credit: Oli Scarff/Getty Images.

Power is the ability to produce intended effects.

— Bertrand Russell

For much of history, the rules of power were clear: power was taken and guarded. Power of the past (Old Power) was beyond the majority of societies grasp: we got in line and did as we were told. Today we are seeing New Power: power made by the many.

Old power works like a currency. It is held by the fewNew power operates differently, like a current.

— Jeremy Heimans and Henry Timms

Heimans and Timms explore how systems of power are changing and what that means for us trying to act in the world. We can now share hope, fear, news, businesses and build and destroy communities on a greater scale than ever imagined. What does this actually mean for all of us? How we navigate and thrive in this new world is what this whole book is about.

How ideas spread

The future will be won by those who can spread their ideas better, faster and more durably.

— Jeremy Heimans and Henry Timms

Why do some ideas charge ahead while so many fall behind, forgotten?

Ideas that spread are Actionable, Connected and Extensible: The ACE framework.

Heimans and Timms use examples from #BlackLivesMatter, #MeToo, to the Ice Bucket Challenge to demonstrate how these movements use the ACE framework to their success. They also caution that New Power is not only for good it can supercharge hate and misinformation as quickly as it can be a current for positive change. Groups like ISIS and the far-right are also using the very same methods for the growth of violence and division.

How to build your power

New Power shines fresh light on examples from business, activism, and pop culture: organizations like Lego, NASA, Reddit, and TED to explain how to build new power and channel it successfully. Heimans and Timms share case studies from across popular culture to lift up what is making these movements move and become significant forces of change. The dance between old and new power is determining who governs us, how we work, how we live and what we believe in.

At a time when our world is increasingly shaped by new power, this book offers us some understanding of how we can act effectively in it.