Citizenville: How to Take the Town Square Digital and Reinvent Government

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9781594204722: Citizenville: How to Take the Town Square Digital and Reinvent Government
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Citizenville offers both an impassioned plea for more tech-enabled government and a tour d'horizon of the ways some governments have begun using technology to good effect... a fast-paced and engaging read” --San Francisco Chronicle

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. The explosion of social media, the evolution of Internet commerce, the ubiquity of smart phones that can access all the world’s information; in the face of these extraordinary advances, our government appears increasingly irrelevant and out of touch.

Drawing on wide-ranging interviews with thinkers and politicians, Newsom’s Citizenville 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. When local Web designers wanted to prevent muggings in Chicago and Oakland, they created innovative crime-mapping tools using public police data. When congressional representatives wanted citizens’ input on new legislation, they used interactive blogging tools to invite public comments and changes. When a town in Texas needed to drum up civic engagement, officials invented a local digital “currency” to reward citizens for participating in government—making small-town politics suddenly as fun and addictive as online games such as Farmville. Surveying the countless small advances made by ordinary Americans in reinventing government for the twenty-first century, Newsom unveils a path for American prosperity and democratic vitality.

Newsom explains how twenty-first-century problems are too big and too expensive for the government simply to buy solutions; instead, Americans must innovate their way out. Just as the post office and the highway system provide public infrastructure to channel both personal and private enterprise—a platform upon which citizens can grow—so too could a modern digital government house the needs, concerns, information, and collaboration of an enlightened digital citizenry.

A vision for better government that truly achieves the ancient goal of commonwealth and a triumphant call for individuals to reinvigorate the country with their own two hands, Citizenville is a timely road map for restoring American prosperity and for reinventing citizenship in today’s networked age.

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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.

Review:

“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."
--Kirkus

“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

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9780143124474: Citizenville: How to Take the Town Square Digital and Reinvent Government

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