Why the Key to Fixing Everything is All of Us

Jon Alexander

When our institutions treat people as citizens rather than consumers, everything changes. Unleashing the power of everyone equips us to face the challenges of economic insecurity, climate crisis, public health threats, and polarisation. Written by a co-founder of the New Citizenship Project, Citizens is an upbeat handbook, full of insights, clear e
Date Published :
March 2022
Publisher :
Canbury Press
Contributor(s) :
Ariane Conrad, Brian Eno
Format Available    QuantityPrice
Binding : Hardback
ISBN : 9781912454846
Pages : 320
Dimensions : 9.2 X 6 inches
Stock Status : In stock


Citizens opens up a new way of understanding ourselves and shows us what we must do to survive and thrive – as individuals, as organisations, as nations, even as a species.

Jon Alexander’s consultancy, the New Citizenship Project, has helped revitalise some of Britain’s biggest organisations such as the Co-op, The Guardian and the National Trust. Here, with the New York Times bestselling writer Ariane Conrad, he shows how human history has moved from the Subject Story of kings and empires to the current Consumer Story. Now, he argues compellingly, it is time to enter the Citizen Story.

Because when our institutions treat people as citizens rather than consumers, everything changes. Unleashing the power of everyone equips us to face the challenges of economic insecurity, climate crisis, public health threats, and polarisation. 

Citizens is an upbeat handbook, full of insights, clear examples to follow, and inspiring case studies, from the slums of Kenya to the backstreets of Birmingham. It is the perfect pick-me-up for leaders, founders, elected officials – and citizens everywhere.


"Citizens is a breath of fresh air amidst deep concern about the future of democracy. It empowers and calls us all to action to be the democratic change we want to see in our communities, and in doing so offers a powerful vision for the transformation of our institutions."

- Marietje Schaake, International Policy Director, Stanford University Cyber Policy Center, and Author of How to Stop Tech Companies from Ruling our Digital Lives

"Jon Alexander's New Citizenship Project speaks to action in the real world but has an immensely solid base in ideas as expressed in words, the meanings and applications of which he first teases out and then rams home with elan and gusto in this bravely inspiring book. The range of reference in both time and place from ancient Greece to the latest democratic community project is spellbinding and salutary, as is his injunction to get out there and make a positive, activist difference."

- Paul Cartledge, Emeritus Professor of Greek Culture, Cambridge University

"Jon Alexander's work has had a significant influence on my understanding of the role employees, investors, and customers could play in shaping the role of business in society. To harness this potential, leaders must first see people as the creative, empathic, collaborative members of communities that they truly are: as Citizens. In this engaging book, Jon lays out his full vision for how this mindset shift can transform not just business, but NGOs and governments too."

- Alex Edmans, Professor of Finance, London Business School

"Citizens is a powerful provocation for our times, one that draws on humanity’s deep capacity for cooperation to offer a new way forward. Highly recommended."

- Nichola Raihani, Professor of Evolution and Behaviour, University College London, and author of The Social Instinct: How Cooperation Shaped the World

"I couldn't agree more with Jon's diagnosis and prescription for how we need to revitalise our civic institutions and communities. The wonderful thing is that he not only gives us hope but more importantly he lights a pathway to make this new paradigm a reality through the years of deep work, thinking and action that have formed the basis of his book."

- Jason Stockwood, Vice Chairman, Simply Business, and Chairman, Grimsby Town Football Club

"Society is like an out of control house party – eating, drinking and consuming everything. Jon is the organiser of the campfire gathering behind the party. It’s calm and welcoming and you won’t want to leave. In Citizens, Jon and Ariane show how to leave the burning house of the Consumer Story and join the campfire that is the Citizen Story."

- Stephen Greene, CEO of RockCorps and founding Chair of National Citizen Service (UK)

"The belief that every single one of us has both the potential and the desire to make the world better drives me every day, in everything I do. In Citizens, Jon shows how taking that belief as a starting point really could transform our world. This is a truly powerful book, in every sense of the word."

- Josh Babarinde, Forbes 30 Under 30 Social Entrepreneur

"Every great transformation requires a new story. A story that reveals new possibilities and points toward an optimistic alternative to the current situation. Citizens presents just such a story and if we respond to its challenge we may just manage to navigate our way out of the mess we have created for ourselves."

- Tim Brown, Chair of IDEO and author of Change By Design

"Jon is working with a set of ideas and tools that have the potential to change politics forever. In fact, they could change everything forever."

- Ian Kearns, Founder and Trustee, European Leadership Network

"Citizens is a powerful and intriguing contribution to the search for a genuinely sustainable future. I am particularly interested in how the Citizen Story might help businesses to engage more fully with their employees and customers to accelerate sustainability and might also help businesses to become more transparent and accountable."

- David Grayson, Emeritus Professor of Corporate Responsibility at Cranfield University School of Management and co-author of The Sustainable Business Handbook

"The shift from consumer to citizen is a truly big idea. If you’re in a position of strategic influence, I strongly recommend you engage with this and consciously explore what it might mean for your organisation."

- Dame Fiona Reynolds DBE, Former Director General, National Trust, and Trustee, BBC

"There is such a thing as an idea whose time has come. This is that idea."

- James Perry, Board Member, B Lab Global, and Founding Partner, Snowball Investment Management

"In the decade or so since meeting Jon, I've never been more convinced he has one of the few big ideas that's easily applied, fundamentally needed and genuinely offers a chance of change. Get on board for his new work, now. I am."

- Sam Conniff, author of Be More Pirate

"Citizens is so exciting and full of energy from the beginning that I wanted to read the whole thing immediately. A wonderful guide to how to be human in the 21st Century."

- Ece Temelkuran, author of How to Lose a Country: the Seven Steps from Democracy to Dictatorship

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