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Citizenville: Connecting People and Government in the Digital Age
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Citizenville: Connecting People and Government in the Digital Age

3.69  ·  Rating details ·  593 ratings  ·  90 reviews
By integrating democratic government with cutting-edge American innovation, the lieutenant governor of California charts a bright future for open-source America

Citizenville is the story of how ordinary citizens can use new digital tools to dissolve political gridlock and transform American democracy. As social networking and smart phones have changed the way we communicate
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published February 7th 2013 by Penguin Press HC, The
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David Sasaki
Feb 16, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: kindle
There's not much I can add to the reviews of Citizenville by Beth Noveck, Evgeny Morozov, Sara Lai Stirland, and Lydia Depillis.

Yes, the book is disjointed, incessantly optimistic, shameless in its namedropping, and often reads like a politician's stump speech on repeat. Readers must endure bombastic, tired declarations like:

The revolution is happening now, and the world is changing too quickly for government to respond with tiny, incremental changes. It is time to radically rethink the relatio
Mar 10, 2013 rated it it was ok
This is not an entertaining read. It is dry and uninteresting, but still is pertinent. The book is filled with stories of how certain local governments have learned to use the social media and technology available to move toward a transparent government and society. The major issue I see is the loss of privacy. Not only is big brother watching your every move....a bit of drama here.....but all of your neighbors, family, friends, the IRS, and all law enforcement can also have access to informatio ...more
Brian O'Callaghan
Oct 09, 2014 rated it it was ok
Predictably disappointing. (So why did I read it? Because I wanted to contrast it with Evgeny Morozov's book.)

This book is chock-full of half-baked ideas, Newspeak, strawman arguments, and too many unexamined assumptions.

In the few instances he finally gets down to a real-world examples of how he has used new technologies in governance, he admits that some serious drawbacks and limitations. This is where the book should have gotten interesting. Instead he just moves on to the topic and assures t
Feb 24, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2015-reads
Gavin Newsome is an entrepreneur, former Mayor of San Francisco, Lieutenant Governor of California, and, apparently, one heckuva tech evangelist. In this book, he argues that our government needs to make more of an effort to get our apathetic citizenry involved in government. And the best way to do that is through more comprehensive use of technology.

Throughout the book, Newsom obtains insight from tech evangelists who have implemented programs and ideas, both successful and failed, that were u
Jan 29, 2013 rated it it was ok
Interesting and valid points, but written from the standpoint of a politician, some of the arguments fell flat.
Dr. Lloyd E. Campbell
May 03, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This book is written by the Lieutenant Governor of California, I say that because while I was reading it I kept telling myself, what the Hell is he doing now in relationship to the ideas in this book? I think Jerry Brown swallowed him. Are Lieutenant Governors like Vice Presidents? Does Jerry Brown have to die before we get to see what this guy can do?
His record as mayor of San Francisco is so strong, maybe he should go back to being mayor. One of the inferences I made from reading the book is
Feb 15, 2013 rated it really liked it
I, as my four star rating would suggest, really liked this book. Newsom presents a lot of interesting thoughts about the intersection of government and ubiquitous technology, and what that could mean for the future of our country. The ideas and examples discussed throughout the book are empowering and point toward a possible future defined by increased civic engagement, strong sense of community, and a new definition for and appreciation of our commonwealth.

The book is not without its problems.
Keith Swenson
Jan 02, 2015 rated it liked it
Very interesting and well written book. I work, professionally, in the collaboration software space. What Gavin Newsome has proposed is very good, straightforward, common-sense advice. This book coming from a technologist in the space might be considered boring, but coming from a politician makes it more important. The book impressed me -- he knows what he is doing.

I gave it three stars because it is a good book, but (for me) not particularly groundbreaking. I don't want anyone to be turned off
Feb 07, 2013 rated it really liked it
Basically reads like a, I'm a high-tech populist, vote for me! piece of propaganda, but interesting nonetheless. I'm skeptical about a few of his arguments, but it's a page turner and a light and interesting read. The people he interviews offer great ideas and anecdotes, so I liked it more for the subjects than necessarily for him. I'm seeing him talk about it on Thursday so we'll see how that complements the book ...more
Oct 27, 2013 rated it really liked it
Not sure exactly how I'll rejuvenate the agency I work for, but this book motivates me to look at my role as a Federal Employee a bit differently. EPA is certainly taking steps to enter the modern age, but also struggles with a management-heavy structure, a regulatory framework for its mission, outdated systems, and a long-entrenched workforce. Hopefully more government employees will read this book and get inspired! ...more
David Luna
Feb 17, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Arguably the best and most important book I will read all year. As someone who loves technology and change this book is perfect for me. I am starting a project and this is exactly what I needed to motivate me. I will now take the next steps forward in creating something that will give people a voice.
Gregory Williams
I generally don’t read political books because I find they often feel inauthentic, like curated sales pitches designed for generalized, idealized ways of solving problems that are far too complex to be solved in the manner described by the seller. Most government work, like with any organization, lies in doing exactly that: Work. Problem-solving. Working with people who have a stake in an issue to resolve issues to the best satisfaction of the most needs. Being attentive to rights, responsibilit ...more
Apr 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: jims-reviews
Government right now is functioning on the cutting edge - of 1973.

Part of the point of this book is making government more participatory. To truly have a government for, by, and of the people. It’s going to take some work, because as my girlfriend wrote in the margin of this book, “[the government would] rather not know what we want so they can keep voting however they want.” They don’t really want our participation.

Well, too bad. They’re going to get it, if 2017-2018 is any indication.

This i
Sean McBride
May 09, 2018 rated it it was ok
I picked this one up, because I like Newsom, and I'm interested to see what he could do as a Governor. I lived in SF when he was the mayor there, and he was far better than any Mayor who did the job before him or after. He was the most progressive, and made the city more liveable and cleaner.
The premise of the book, however is about how governance needs to move into the 20th century and embrace technology. This in and of itself is a great theory, the issue is that 1. you have to get the governm
Gordon Hahn
May 04, 2020 rated it liked it
The book introduces a lot of new and interesting details on how governments at all levels can use technology and private sector practices to make citizens more engaged and have a more favorable view of government. The book supports public-private partnerships that utilize government data and civic duties to keep citizens involved in today fast and convenient world. However, it does not explore the limits and potential shortcomings of how technology can persist, if not worsen, our issues.

Very th
Jay Sellers
May 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
Working as a public information officer in a government agency, I was looking forward to learning tips and tricks to increase transparency. I expected the information to be dated but the content was surprisingly general enough to continue to be useful, more conceptual than definite.
Aug 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
Interesting perspective, good to know Newsom's views. While the stories of the power of the people and the importance of making data accessible were compelling, I'm disappointed he dismissed the ability of government employees so quickly. I think the real answer takes both. ...more
Michael Balan
Apr 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Citizenville is an awesome book that provides insight on how technology can be used streamline outdated processes in government. As a non profit worker who has worked in government, we can use these insights to progress any organization in a more forward direction.
Janet Ritter
Mar 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
By Gavin Newsom. Read in 2013? 2014? Great book. Such a progressive mayor willing to try new ideas to see their effectiveness on the city's citizenry. ...more
Jun 16, 2017 rated it it was ok
Light weight read and boring.
Aug 10, 2017 rated it liked it
Great new perspectives on how to incorporate tech into government.
Mardella Costanzo
Feb 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I had to read this for class, however it was surprisingly interesting.
Mar 25, 2020 rated it liked it
Read it for an essay. Seems to be a lot of people talking about a lot of good things but repeating themselves and kinda lacking a direction.
Carlien Roodink
Gavin Newsom is lieutenant governor of California and a former mayor of San Francisco. And for me, as Newsom is probably running for governor of California, there is reason to be skeptical about his book Citizenville. Isn’t it just a way to get a stage for his campaign?

What pleads for him is that Newsom is very abundant in dropping names and is transparent about the fact that a greater part of the ideas described are not his own. Newsom’s book is inspired by the earlier work of authors like Gove
May 29, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I. LOVED. THIS. BOOK. I was seriously floored by it. It's been a long time since I've been so completely engrossed by and unable to put down a nonfiction book the way I was with this one. For anyone who is frustrated with the way our government is currently operating and feels as if government representatives are drifting farther and farther away from the people they are supposed to represent (so... for anyone), this book is just what the doctor ordered. Reading this book filled me with a new co ...more
Aug 22, 2013 rated it it was ok
The book opens with Newsom, then mayor of San Francisco, meeting with Toomas Hendrik Ilves, president of Estonia. Newsom is attempting to impress Ilves with details of some of the recent technology initiatives they've instituted, and is surprised to discover that Estonia has already had these things (and many more besides) for a long time. “Americans tend to think of San Francisco as Tomorrowland, on the cutting edge of technology in government, but in fact, we were years behind”, he realises.

Paul Signorelli
Aug 29, 2013 rated it really liked it
One of the sweetest moments in what is a wonderful paean to community, collaboration, and the technology that can help foster those two critically important elements of civilization comes when Gavin Newsom, in the acknowledgment section at the end of the book he has written with Lisa Dickey ("Citizenville: How to Take the Town Square Digital and Reinvent Government"), offers "thanks to all government workers whose work directly and indirectly impacts all our lives each and every day...." Citizen ...more
Kim Olson
Dec 07, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This book is a clarion call for anyone who wants to make change in their community but is frustrated by government sluggishness. Essentially, Newsom believes that social media and other digital tools can be used to transform government, just as they've transformed nearly every other part of our lives.

I love that this book was written not by some Silicon Valley wunderkind, but by someone who's actually been in the trenches. Newsom has worked in government at the local and state level, and he kno
Kevin Valliere
May 17, 2014 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this book, mostly because it provided a different perspective on so-called "disruption," especially as it pertains to technology and government. Gavin Newsom was able to bring in legitimized experiences and thoughts to the discussion and they were more useful than the rampant speculation I feel I'm used to.

It's funny, too, how this book seemed slightly outdated in just a few spots (there were whole discussions on the implications of games like FarmVille and Angry Birds) even tho
Mar 25, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: politics
At first, I worried about the earnest premise of Citizenville but it quickly convinced me of its seriousness. Gavin Newsom, a former mayor of San Francisco and lieutenant governor of California believes that governments – and his did – can improve services by entering the digital spaces where citizens live and play. Coming from the Darwinian world of California politics, Newsom doesn’t have some wish-list of how tech-savvy citizens can help governments. Instead, he looks at what works. San Franc ...more
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Madison Mega-Mara...: #61 Citizenville by Gavin Newsom 1 3 Apr 30, 2018 09:48PM  

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Gavin Christopher Newsom is an American politician. He is the 49th and current Lieutenant Governor of California, after being elected in 2010. In 2003, he was elected the 42nd Mayor of San Francisco, the city's youngest in 100 years. Newsom was re-elected in 2007 with 72 percent of the vote. In 2010, a Samepoint study named Newsom the Most Social Mayor in America's largest 100 cities. ...more

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