Why do some leap ahead while others fall behind in our chaotic, connected age? In New Power, Jeremy Heimans and Henry Timms confront the biggest stories of our time—the rise of mega-platforms like Facebook and Uber; the out-of-nowhere victories of Obama and Trump; the unexpected emergence of movements like #MeToo—and reveal what’s really behind them: the rise of “new power.”
For most of human history, the rules of power were clear: power was something to be seized and then jealously guarded. This “old power” was out of reach for the vast majority of people. But our ubiquitous connectivity makes possible a different kind of power. “New power” is made by many. It is open, participatory, and peer-driven. It works like a current, not a currency—and it is most forceful when it surges. The battle between old and new power is determining who governs us, how we work, and even how we think and feel.
New Power shines fresh light on the cultural phenomena of our day, from #BlackLivesMatter to the Ice Bucket Challenge to Airbnb, uncovering the new power forces that made them huge. Drawing on examples from business, activism, and pop culture, as well as the study of organizations like Lego, NASA, Reddit, and TED, Heimans and Timms explain how to build new power and channel it successfully. They also explore the dark side of these forces: the way ISIS has co-opted new power to monstrous ends, and the rise of the alt-right’s “intensity machine.”
In an era increasingly shaped by new power, this groundbreaking book offers us a new way to understand the world–and our role in it.
Authors: Jeremy Heimans, Henry Timms
“A key dynamic in the world today is the mutual incomprehension between those raised in the Tetris tradition and those with a Minecraft mindset.”
New Power was a fascinating look at one of the many ways the world is changing. It offers a study of “old power” vs “new power” and suggests ways they can be used strategically together to help effect positive change. The old vs. new dichotomy is straightforward and makes a complex situation easier to understand. They also picked great examples to help illustrate their points.
“Old power” is Apple: A company decides what is best for us, and then they control, market, and sell it. “New power” is Lyft or Airbnb: The crowd creates, manages, and distributes the product. The crowd is the product. “Old power” is the government (ineffectively) telling you not to drink and drive. “New power” is Black Lives Matter growing organically, without a prominent leader.
What I really liked about this book was that while it would have been easy for them, in today’s political climate, to categorize old power as “bad” and new power as “good,” they didn’t. That would be unrealistic and not very useful. What they discover in their analysis of the way the world works today is that both types of power have uses in different situations. How and when to use each one is not a matter of right vs. wrong, but rather of timing and circumstance.
I think this book is especially useful to people who work in marketing, nonprofit, or another industry or role in which they are responsible for affecting the masses to achieve a noble end. Thinking about your toolbox in terms of old and new power is useful and actionable.