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Small Is Powerful

Find out why the era of big government, big business & big culture is over by Adam Lent

This book is published, but you can still pledge for rewards!

Small Is Powerful cover

The Synopsis

How can we create a wealthier, fairer and more stable world? Politicians tell us that we must rely either on big business or big government or, more often than not, both. This is a terrible failure of imagination that ends up keeping the very people and organisations in charge that delivered the most serious economic crisis in eighty years.

Small is Powerful will reveal how our faith in big business, big government and big culture was manufactured in the 1900s by a group of powerful business leaders, politicians and thinkers and how it had a forceful grip on our world throughout the twentieth century.

Even if our political leaders are still in thrall to the 'big consensus' of the last century, a small revolution is already underway. Millions are choosing to set up their own small business rather than work for a giant corporation. Political and social change is increasingly delivered by many small initiatives and campaigns rather than big parties. And, more than ever, people make their own decisions about how to live their lives rather than accepting the rulings of big religious and civil organisations.

Small is Powerful argues that the small revolution must be embraced. A world where power and resources are shared out much more widely will deliver the fairer, stabler, wealthier world we want.

But it is a revolution under threat. Business, politicians and those who think they know best how we should live are fighting back. Small is Powerful is an impassioned plea for 'smallists' everywhere to stand up and be counted.

You can find a full chapter outline here.

[Thanks to Etsy and Impact Hub for additional footage.]

The Excerpt

The notion that it was good to have vast concentrations of political power in the state, economic power in large corporations and social power in religious and civil bodies dominated the greater part of the Twentieth Century. This ‘big consensus’ was forged in the late 1800s, grew in influence during the first two decades of the twentieth century and then fundamentally shaped government, business and society from the thirties onwards.

During the 1970s tiny cracks in this consensus began to open up. Thinkers who had been questioning big power for years began to get noticed and small groups of entrepreneurs and campaigners challenged social conformity and pushed back against the dominance of corporations and government.

This was not a unified movement by any means. These ‘smallists’ knew little of each other and would have disagreed on a great deal had they met but in their own spheres they were striking blows against the big consensus in ways which were to have great consequences for the revival of a small outlook in the Twenty-first century.


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The Author

Adam Lent is the Director of the RSA's Action and Research Centre or ARC. The RSA encourages creativity in business, education and public services and is world famous for its RSA Animate series. ARC publishes over forty reports a year, hundreds of blogs and tests numerous innovations for the RSA.

Before joining the RSA, Adam was Head of Economics at the UK's Trades Union Congress. That job might lead you to think that Adam has a history as a left-leaning activist, political adviser and writer. You wouldn't be wrong but since the 2008 Crash, he has found himself increasingly frustrated by all points on the political spectrum. It was that frustration that led him to start the research for Small is Powerful.

Adam writes a widely read blog for the RSA and has written (and ghost written) many newspaper, on-line and journal articles over the years on everything from the future of coal to the very slow death of political parties.

Questions & Answers

Nancy Turner Nancy Turner asked:

This is not a question. I want to let you know that I have pinned this video here:
With an invitation for others to help fund the book as well. I am looking forward to receiving my copy soon :)

Adam Lent Adam Lent replied:

Nancy, thank-you so much for doing this. Really appreciate that. Adam.

Kevin Carroll Kevin Carroll asked:


I Made a pledge today. How is your book coming along?

Kevin Carroll

Adam Lent Adam Lent replied:

Thanks Kevin. I really appreciate your support. The book is progressing slowly but surely. I've written about two thirds now but I've still got that unpleasant experience of re-reading the draft and deciding it all needs to change to come yet.

Andrew Hearse Andrew Hearse asked:

I have pledged for the digital edition, but I would also like to upgrade to the hardback edition please.

Adam Lent Adam Lent replied:

Thanks Andrew. Very pleased to hear that! I'll pass your query onto the team at Unbound who'll be much better able to answer than me. Hope you enjoy the book when it is published. Adam.

Andrew Hearse Andrew Hearse asked:

I would like to upgrade from the digital edition to the hardback edition please.

Unbound Unbound replied:

Hi Andrew,

If you log in to your Unbound account you can upgrade your pledge using this unique link:

Hi there - I pledged for a hard copy of the book ages ago, and did receive a couple of updates, including the most recent on July 18 2016 saying I weould receive the actual hard copy relatively soon.

Nothing has since happened! - I really would love to read the book and of course I could buy a paperwork or Kindle copy on Amazon, but I was an early pledger and feel really disappointed that I don't seem to have had follow-through on this lovely (in principle) model of advance crowdfunding.

Bronwen Morgan

Unbound Unbound replied:

Hi Bronwen,

Thanks for getting in touch. We've checked your account and you pledged at the digital level. These were released last summer and you should have received an email, but you can always download the ebook from here:

Unbound Support

The Rewards

This book is now published. You can still pledge, but you won't get listed as a supporter in the back.

Small is Powerful

Our thanks and your name in the back of the book

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Ebook edition (DRM free, available in three major formats)


1st edition hardback and the ebook edition

Signed, 1st edition hardback and the ebook edition
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Launch Party

Two invites to the launch party in London, a signed 1st edition hardback and the ebook edition


Lunch with Adam before attending a lecture at a central London venue, plus everything at Launch Party level.


A dedicated page at the front of the book thanking you for your contribution, plus everything at lunch level.

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  • Format: hardcover
  • ISBN: 978-1-78352-122-7