The Change Dinners
the change dinners
Host a meal with friends/relatives/colleagues/neighbors, to think together about how to make real change.
Then act with them!
A letter from Anand
How does change actually happen?
In this moment of anger and upheaval, it is a question on millions of our minds.
And it’s the question animating the Change Dinners — a series of communal meals of democratic spirit, dedicated to people thinking together how to build our way out of this fraught moment.
We would love for you to host one.
I wrote WINNERS TAKE ALL inspired by the Polish writer Czeslaw Milosz, who spoke of having a “debate with those of my friends who were yielding, little by little, to the magic influence of the New Faith.” The New Faith he side-eyed was Stalinism. Today I witness many of my fellow citizens falling prey to a different faith — a belief in “changing the world” in ways that tend to keep it the same, in using the tools of hypercapitalism to soften its blows, all while refusing to question the system generating the problems.
My hope, in writing the book and in inviting you to gather around it, is to provide new language to ask hard questions about our society and ourselves. How do we distinguish politicians selling real change from those pushing fake change? Is it better to stay on the inside of a corrupt system and work from within, or to exit? What should young people do for work if they want to make change? Can business be made better by more conscious CEOs, or are regulation and taxes the real solutions? Who gets to define “change”?
We created this D.I.Y. dinner series — it could be hot dogs and Cokes at the park, or your chance to try that experimental chicken-thighs dish — to give people a chance to go deeper together on the questions WINNERS TAKE ALL got many grappling with alone.
The idea is to read the book, come together over a meal, engage in a lightly guided conversation (guidance below), and then ask yourself: What can I do to help usher in this coming age of reform?
With gratitude and in citizenship,
What’s a Change Dinner?
Change Dinners are groups of friends, neighbors, colleagues, and concerned citizens coming together, one two-hour dinner at a time, to talk about real change versus fake change, to understand the difference, and to advance the cause of making real, structural change.
Change Dinners are an opportunity to gather people together, across all walks of life, to engage in an honest grappling with our own roles in perpetuating and fighting inequitable systems, using a discussion of WINNERS TAKE ALL as an entryway into the conversation.
TL;DR: A pop-up book club for thinking about change.
How do I host one?
Sign up here (tell us your name, email, where you’re hosting, and why you’re inspired to lead a Change Dinner).
Pick up a copy of WINNERS TAKE ALL at your local independent bookstore, online retailer, or library. (Now in paperback!)
Invite 10 to 30 friends, colleagues, neighbors, and/or relatives to join you in reading the book and then joining you for a Change Dinner at your home, office, or in a room at the local library. (Sample invitation below.)
Gather! (Food can be pizza, potluck, anything. Focus on the conversation.)
Whom should I invite?
Anyone interested in creating real social and political change.
Anyone who believes we live in a rigged system.
Anyone who is skeptical about the notion that we live in a rigged system.
Anyone who believes the American dream doesn’t work for enough of us.
Anyone who is itching to take democracy back into their own hands.
Anyone who is confused about whom to vote for in the 2020 U.S. presidential election.
Anyone who wants to grapple with their own role in the system.
What should I say to my guests?
Tell them why you’re inspired to host a Change Dinner.
Invite them to this one-time pop-up book club to read WINNERS TAKE ALL together.
Have them bring a friend along.
(We’ve also included a sample email below to make it easier.)
Do the guests need to have read WINNERS TAKE ALL ahead of the dinner?
This is a culture-change book and it’s difficult to grapple with and discern what Anand means by “fake change” and “real change” without sharing a common text.
But you can also share various press clips to whet their appetite.
What’s my role as host?
Secure the date, time, and location.
Host the conversation.
We recommend keeping the discussion to two hours, and if people then want to keep going, take it a bit longer.
Start relatively soon after people come. They’re coming for a purpose, so feel free to begin the conversation relatively quickly once people sit down.
We suggest more structure rather than less.
What kind of questions can I use to lead the conversation?
What did this book cause you to reflect on in terms of your own life and the beliefs that guide you?
What part of the book was most provocative for you?
What is “real change”? What is “fake change”? What is a “win-win”?
Why does the author believe “win-wins” problematic when it comes to social change? Do you agree?
What does our world look like with real equity and justice?
Anand painted a vivid picture of the social change sector as it is. What would the sector look like if it actually shifted to a focus on systemic change? What would you personally gain? What would you have to give up?
Where do you already see that happening?
Who is someone in your world that operates outside of the MarketWorld delusion and is making change you deeply believe in? What are the lessons of his/her life?
What have you secretly worried that you may be a part of by doing the work you do, but have never given voice to?
What’s your “charade”?
Can you point me to some clips that I can include in my email to my guests to learn more about the book?
Joseph Stiglitz’s review of WINNERS TAKE ALL in The New York Times Book Review: Meet the ‘Change Agents’ Who Are Enabling Inequality.
Anand’s Sunday Review essay in The New York Times: Beware Rich People Who Say They Want to Change the World.
Vox interview with Ezra Klein: https://www.vox.com/2018/9/5/17821522/anand-giridharadas-winner-take-all-ezra-klein-podcast.
Recode Decode interview with Kara Swisher: https://www.recode.net/2018/10/3/17930990/anand-giridharadas-winners-take-all-book-changing-world-kara-swisher-decode-podcast-jeff-bezos.
Anand discussing WINNERS TAKE ALL on Morning Joe: https://www.msnbc.com/morning-joe/watch/-winners-take-all-questions-elites-attempting-to-change-the-world-1308043331855.
Anand discussing WINNERS TAKE ALL on PBS: http://www.pbs.org/wnet/amanpour-and-company/video/anand-giridharadas/.