🚨A big announcement🚨
For the last two years, I have been toiling on a book, which comes out this October. I wanted you, my Ink community, to be the first to know about it many months early. Throughout this strange time, your support, and the hope you have given me, has been vital.
As has wine.
The book is called…drum roll, please…“THE PERSUADERS: At the Front Lines of the Fight for Hearts, Minds, and Democracy.”
(If you don’t have time to read further but DO want to make my immigrant mother proud of me, this is where I ask you to be the very first to pre-order a SIGNED COPY of the book, which also gets you a ticket to an exclusive pre-launch event.)
The book grew out of a basic observation: while so many of us hold grand visions of changing things these days, too many of us have abandoned hope of changing minds.
We write one another off instead of seeking to win one another over. Debates are framed in moralistic terms, with enemies battling the righteous. Movements for justice build barriers to entry, instead of on-ramps. Political parties focus on mobilizing the faithful rather than wooing the skeptical. Leaders who seek to forge coalition are labeled sellouts.
As Alicia Garza, one of the activists I write about, has said, too many of us have “fallen into a pattern of making the political circles smaller and smaller rather than bigger and wider.”
And that is dangerous, because today in America (and well beyond) there is a pro-democracy majority and a fast-growing anti-democracy minority. And here is my fear: that anti-democracy faction understands better than the pro-democracy set how to wield power, how to use language, how to hook people with simple ideas, how to provoke discussion and set the narrative frame — how to win hearts and minds.
I wrote THE PERSUADERS because I want those of us who believe in democracy to prevail against this dangerous ongoing revolt against the future. I want the future to prevail. But it will only prevail, I believe, if pro-democracy forces learn to be both morally committed and relentlessly expansionary, more devoted to growing the circle than circling the wagons, more interested in finding converts than heretics.
I set out to find the activists, politicians, educators, organizers, and others who are doing the work of persuasion when others aren’t and who I thought had something to teach us all. I talked with them, followed them, and then wrote a book about their quest, in a time of great crises, for a politics fierce and unapologetic enough truly to change things and smart and expansive enough to change the minds to get there.
THE PERSUADERS is a chronicle of their stories and my conversations with them, featuring a co-founder of Black Lives Matter; a leader of the feminist resistance to Trumpism; a pioneer of the movement for reproductive justice; Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (fully one-third of the book is about her, based on extensive conversations and reporting); a top messaging guru for the left; political canvassers using a breakthrough method called deep canvassing, with its proven formula for changing minds on immigration when cold-knocking on doors; a cult deprogrammer helping QAnon victims. There is a brief cameo by Russian intelligence agents.
I wrote THE PERSUADERS for everyone who despairs at the decay of democracy and wonders what to do. I wrote it for everyone with a relative who has succumbed to QAnon or another mass delusion. I wrote it for people who know their political causes are righteous but wonder about how to make them more alluring and joyful and expansive. I wrote it for everyone who struggles to change the mind of an uncle or parent or child or friend or spouse who thinks crypto is real but climate change isn’t.
We will not change things if we give up on the idea of changing people. But I believe we are at one of those inflection points in history when we could potentially change everything — if we learn from the persuaders whose work I report on in this book.
And now, with embarrassment, I have a big favor to ask. Today, before anyone else, I would love it if my Ink people would consider being the first to pre-order the book.
We have partnered with an amazing bookseller called Porchlight Books to offer a very special deal: a discounted early book that (A) will be signed!, and (B) will get you a ticket to a very exclusive event that will be slap-free: a Zoom book party with special guests the week before publication, before the regular book tour gets under way.
If you are able, ordering the book now sends all the right signals to book stores and others that this is a book and subject worth noticing. I will be very grateful to you.
Thank you for being part of this Ink community. You keep me going, in every way.