Phillip Smith

Beautiful Trouble Inc.

More Trouble, More Solutions, More Beautiful

(Scroll down to continue reading)

Kinda’ like the Big Bang, Beautiful Trouble is quickly expanding to be a much larger universe. What was once a “book” project is now several books, a training network, and much more. Added to the big, beautiful family are two new projects: Beautiful Rising and Beautiful Solutions.

It’s been a while since I’ve written from a plane, train, or automobile, however I started drafting this post from the awkward side-to-side rocking of an oversized passenger van. This ark on wheels was zooming north from Albany, New York up to the possibly snow-ensconced Blue Mountain Center. Travelling with me on this surprising journey were eight other veteran troublemakers.

Arriving at the Blue Mountain Center, we merged with a dozen more mischief-makers who have all become connected in one way or another with this “Beautiful Universe.” It was sure to be an interesting experiment: 20+ activists, academics, trainers, writers, film makers, soon-to-be lawyers, and a couple of nerds thrown in for good measure – all locked in a large wood cabin for several days of plotting the revolution (or, um, undertaking something possibly even more challenging – strategic planning!).

This ever-expanding project, which started quite humbly as an effort to re-boot The Activist Cookbook, now has a relatively stable “staff” of eight, and growing roster of partnerships, including most recently ActionAid Denmark and Naomi Klein’s This Changes Everything, as well as offshoots like The Climate Ribbon. The book itself has sold more than 10,000 copies worldwide. We actually receive royalty checks from time to time.

Most recently, Beautiful Trouble has become a “real thing” – no longer a project of The Other 98%, we’ve officially incorporated as a non-profit in the state of New York. It’s first officers are Andrew Boyd, David Oswald Mitchell, and yours truly.

The various projects have a number of open calls for submissions and participation at the moment, including:

And, if your organization is looking for the opportunity to learn creative tactics from a network of some of the best activist-trainers around, we’ve got you covered there too.

Arriving back from upstate New York, I had a sense of optimism for the world that I haven’t experienced for quite a while. The people working on these projects are absolutely some of the most inspiring people I’ve ever met and had the opportunity to work with.

Will you create some Beautiful Trouble with us?


Hi, I'm Phillip Smith, a veteran digital publishing consultant, online advocacy specialist, and strategic convener. If you enjoyed reading this, find me on Twitter and I'll keep you updated.


Want to launch a local news business? Apply now for the journalism entrepreneurship boot camp

I’m excited to announce that applications are now open again for the journalism entrepreneurship boot camp. And I’m even more excited to ...… Continue reading