Chapter 6Spreading Faster with Engagement

Activist Jeremy Heimans can trace his taste for political engagement as far back as first grade. Growing up in Australia, when a debate over immigration dominated the political space, he reflected on the lives of his own parents—both of whom had immigrated to Sydney—and designed a leaflet, which he handed out at his school. “I felt responsible and completely at home taking action,” he says.

As he grew up, his messages graduated from the simple to the complex, and by the time he was thirteen, Jeremy held his own against tenured politicians, who were flabbergasted to be arguing with a kid about issues like third-country debt and greenhouse gases. His job progression pinballed him from the UN (“The institutional ...

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