This week we kick off the Strong America Tour, a string of events across North America coinciding with the release of my book, Strong Towns: A Bottom-Up Revolution to Rebuild American Prosperity. I’m going to spend the bulk of my time between now and the end of the year on the road. We’ve scheduled, or are in the process of finalizing, at least 55 events this year. Due to overwhelming demand, we plan to add at least that many stops in the first half of next year. This is a big deal.
Last September I signed a contract with Wiley & Sons to write the book. It took me six months to finish it, with significant feedback and support from the team here along the way. When the first draft was complete, we all agreed that it felt different than anything we’d done before. And we were especially humbled by the feedback we got from early readers: that the Strong Towns message had never been assembled in such a complete and compelling way. I can’t wait to share it with you.
It’s our hope that the book we release on October 1 can serve as a manifesto for the bottom-up revolution America needs. The great urban thinker Andres Duany—who is on my short list of heroes—read it and wrote the following, which you’ll find on the back cover:
Sometimes, in our depleted and cynical times, one hears “Well then, what is your genius plan?” Here it is, finally, with extraordinary force and clarity: a genius plan.
We do live in depleted and cynical times—we couldn’t agree more with Duany on that. We all know that our national dialogue is broken, that decades of political stalemate are unlikely to be changed over the coming months.
We also all intuitively grasp that it should matter more who is mayor than who is president, and that our passion for our communities is dissipated when we get too caught up in the national 24/7 news cycle.
Hey, it happens to me, too. There are many times I’ve been sucked into fights on my Twitter feed instead of using that mental capacity to serve my neighbors. No more.
We have crafted the Strong America Tour as an intentional contrast to our national conversation. The tour is, first and foremost, a celebration of what is possible. You can decide for yourself whether the Strong Towns approach is “genius” or not, but what is clear is that it is a plan for everyplace, especially those places ground up and left behind by modern development practices.
As Richard Florida—whom, I’m humbled to say, you will also find on the back of the book—wrote after he had a chance to read it:
Rebuilding our cities, towns, suburbs, and communities won’t be easy. But Marohn shows us a way to a better future, driven bottom-up by our many and varied strong towns. Marohn has written the playbook for rebuilding our communities.
During the Strong America Tour, we’re not just going to share this book with communities across the country. We’re also going to share the communities we visit with you, spotlighting the best of what we find in the places we visit on the site and our social feeds. We’ve also asked people at many of the stops to join us on stage and share their passion for their place. We’re going to do interviews, take photos, shoot videos, and show you the greatness of America’s cities. There is so much out there that will inspire you.
And we want you to pay attention, and where you see an idea that could work in your place, take it. Because here at Strong Towns, we truly believe that we have the capacity to fix our cities. We all can take prudent steps to make our places financially stronger while also making them better places to live. We can do it without looking to Washington, D.C. or Wall Street. We have the capacity to build a broad, shared prosperity, one aligned with the best of our American values and aspirations. Working together in our communities, we have that capacity.
I wrote this book, and we are doing the Strong America Tour, to turn this movement into a revolution. We’ve built this site’s audience from dozens to millions. I’ve spent nearly a decade on the road sharing this message in person with tens of thousands of people. We now have thousands of members providing us a stable foundation of support to build from. We’re connecting more and more amazing people to one another each and every day.
Our goal for this book and this tour is to at least double all of that over the next year. To supercharge this movement, accelerating it so that wherever there is meaningful conversation about how to grow, develop, or build a community, our ideas are influencing that dialogue.
I look forward to seeing as many of you as I can over the coming months. Please sign up for email so we can notify you when we’ll be in a town near you. And, if email is not your thing, at least keep an eye on our events page where we’ll be posting all the public events.
And a huge thank you to those of you that have already ordered the book. I don’t have any official numbers I can report, but the feedback we’ve received is that—with some gentle qualifiers—we’re setting some early records in our categories. All that early pre-sale buzz has encouraged a few retailers to feature the book and help us promote it, so you have made a huge difference just by ordering a copy now.
And if you have not yet ordered one, you can do that at your local bookstore or any of the online retailers we’re listing here (and anyplace else books are sold). We’ll even send you some bonus content that we think is pretty cool.
Thank you, and keep doing what you can to build a Strong Town.