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"Swarmwise" launch and champagne

Book Launch: “Swarmwise” – The Tactical Manual To Changing The World


Swarm Management

Swarm Management

After four years of work, the leadership book “Swarmwise” is finally published. It is a book filled to the brim with the experience from leading the Swedish Pirate Party from zero into the European Parliament, spreading the movement to 70 countries, and most importantly, beating the competition on less than one percent of their budget – being over two orders of magnitude more cost-efficient. It is available as a paperback and a PDF, with more formats to come.

Yesterday afternoon, I hit the “publish” button, and as of this morning, the book is available on Amazon (US, UK, DE, FR). It is also available as a PDF for free sharing (download). This is the culmination of four years of work, after I decided to write down and share my experiences with forming, leading, and winning with a swarm-style community.

The book doesn’t go into theoretical detail, psychology, or deep research papers. Rather, it is very hands-on leadership advice from pure experience – it covers everything from how you give instructions to new activists about handing out flyers in the street, up to and including how you communicate with TV stations and organize hundreds of thousands of people in a coherent swarm. Above all, it focuses on the cost-efficiency of the swarm structure, and is a tactical instruction manual for anybody who wants to dropkick their competition completely – no matter whether their game is business, social, or political.

A rough listing of the topics in the ten chapters would say that the book covers the concept of a swarm, how to launch one, how to get it organized to cover the streets, how to stage effective street rallies, how to use the swarm for getting the message out in social ways they don’t teach you at marketing school, how to make people and the swarm stay on target, how to resolve conflicts, how to maintain leadership in times of crazy growth, advanced swarm techniques with social media, how to manage oldmedia (TV/radio/newspapers), how to manage your own success, and tons, tons more. Overall, I haven’t seen the contents of this book anywhere else, so I felt it needed to be written.

For those of you who want to translate the book into more languages, here’s the package with the sources (OpenDocument format). If you want to translate for noncommercial use and sharing, go right ahead without asking me. If you want to sell your translation, however, you need to stick to the exact layout of the original book, have proper proofreading/editing, and contact me for a revenue-sharing agreement for the duration of the (radically shortened) copyright monopoly term; I’d love to see many such translations side by side on Amazon. (Sticking to the same layout is appreciated even for noncommercial translations, by the way.) Be aware that it probably won’t sell to make anybody rich, though; that’s not its purpose.

I’ve been posting one chapter a month here on falkvinge.net, with the first chapter here. The next chapter to be posted is chapter 7, which will be posted August 1. However, there are passages in the book that are not in the posted chapters – there are stories and anecdotes in-between the chapters on leadership that gives a sense of the fantastic progression toward success.

Here’s one such book-only passage that I’m posting to celebrate the actual launch of the book. Enjoy it while I take a sip from a well-earned glass of my favorite Italian bubbles.

June 7, 2009, at 10:00 p.m. sharp.

I’m at the election night dinner. Where 2006 had been a small restaurant, this is a ballroom. One entire wall of the short end is a screen showing the public service television’s election night coverage, including the much-anticipated exit polls.

In 2006, there had been one Finnish reporter on location. This time, TV crews are lining one entire long wall. Not just Swedish crews, either — crews from all of Europe are here, much to the surprise of the Swedish crews. I have given preference to ten media outlets for phone calls during the night: Reuters, Associated Press, AFP, BBC, CNN, al-Jazeera, Techdirt, Wired, Numérama, and TorrentFreak. Everybody else will have to be on-site.

I’m seated center table and front, as is appropriate for the party leader. There are 150, maybe 200 people here, plus a ton of reporters. Seated close to me are Christian Engström, our list-topper for the election, and Rickard “Richie” Olsson, my longtime friend who was the first to know of the party and is now its CTO. Amelia Andersdotter, the second from top on the pirate ballot, is attending another election dinner in her own part of the country. The countdown to the presentation of exit poll results approaches zero. This is it. People start counting — no, shouting — seconds aloud.


In a final display of uncertainty, I grab the mike and say over the PA, “Remember that these numbers don’t include the advance votes.” That uncertainty will prove to be unnecessary within a few seconds.

Some thirty cameras are trained on me from the end of the table, in three rows, as the results start coming up on screen. Moderates blah blah, Center party blah blah, Blah party blah blah. Bar after bar comes up. My pulse must be hitting 180 by this point, and I’m just waiting for the verdict.

“The Pirate Party. Seven percent.”

The crowd erupts. The roof lifts. From the end of the table, flashes of light like crazy toward me from the three rows of cameras. The loud joy in the room is so intense you can taste it. My mind races — all this tension built up over three years just releases in an instant. I feel myself putting one hand over my mouth and tears welling up in my eyes as I look at the Pirate Party bar on the exit polls, our election victory secured. Minutes later, that picture of a teary-eyed party leader fronts all newspaper websites in the country.

Having seen the optimistic numbers in polls while logically calculating the almost-certain odds, and actually winning seats on election night, turn out to be two completely different experiences. The first was a logical calculation. The second is overwhelming emotion.

I realize that I must compose myself and address the people present about our phenomenal success, so I go up on stage to cheers and whistles. I tell my dear colleagues that today marks a day when a new generation starts reclaiming their civil liberties, and how this will send shockwaves around the world, and then bring out a surprise I’ve prepared. I say, we’ve all seen our party’s polo shirts and jackets with the logo and a function on the back — we’ve been having uniformlike clothing for recognizability, clothes that have said things like “Piratpartiet, District Lead” or “Piratpartiet, Media Service” on the back for our go-to people. I say that the occasion calls for an entirely new line of clothing, and ask Christian Engström to come on stage.

As he comes up on stage, I bring out a fresh, crisp jacket saying “Piratpartiet, Member of European Parliament” on the back, and show it to the crowd. Cheers erupt. “Congratulations, Christian,” I say as I hand it to him. The crowd goes wild. “Chris-tian! Chris-tian! Chris-tian!“

TV crews form lines to get comments from Christian Engström and me. Once the majority of reporter crews have what they need from me, I finally sit down to eat my dinner. This time, I don’t care if it’s gone cold while I’ve been on official duty. As I eat, a curious thought crosses my mind. Sweden has eighteen seats in the European Parliament, but it’s being extended to twenty seats two months from this election. Out of the eighteen seats from Sweden, we’re projected to get one. So out of curiosity, I start running tonight’s numbers on the Election Authority’s online simulation as to who will get seats nineteen and twenty two months out, seats also determined in this election — those two people will only take office slightly later.

I run the numbers. I blink. I double-check the numbers. I retype them and run them again, getting the same result. I check the numbers again. No, there’s no mistake. I smile, grab the microphone, and take to the stage.

“Dear colleagues,” I say, “as you know, we’re likely sending Christian to Brussels once the votes have been finally counted. These votes say we’re getting a seat in the European Parliament.” People cheer. “But Sweden is getting two more seats in the European Parliament in two months, going from eighteen to twenty seats, and those two seats aren’t displayed on these results. I just ran the numbers to find out who’s going to get seat nineteen and twenty.” I smile and look out across the room.

“We’re sending Amelia to Brussels, too!“

The crowd erupts. The roof lifts. Again.

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About The Author: Rick Falkvinge

Rick is the founder of the first Pirate Party and is a political evangelist, traveling around Europe and the world to talk and write about ideas of a sensible information policy. He has a tech entrepreneur background and loves whisky.

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Contributors take own responsibility for their comments.


  1. 1
    Caleb Lanik

    Rick was kind enough to send me a pre release copy back in May. I really enjoyed reading it, if for no other reason than to see how the first Pirate Party was formed. The information about how to start your own projects seems like it would apply well to many situations. I’ll be buying a physical copy on Amazon as soon as I get payed.

    Thanks Rick!

  2. 3

    Congrats! :)

  3. 4
    David G

    Congratulations, Rick! At first I just wanted to take a glance at the book; now, about three hours later, I just finished reading it, and felt that a comment would be at least something – as you actually answer to some!

  4. 5

    Hi and congratulations for the launch!

    I’ve started reading the PDF version when it was pre-release, but reading it on a computer screen is a bit tiresome; I’m not sure whether Amazon ships to my country and they didn’t have an eBook version available – even if they did, most probably it would require a Kindle so I wouldn’t be able to read it. Have you considered selling an eBook version through some of those DRM-free stores? That would be awesome if it were possible!

    Thank you for your great book and thank you for defending our rights!

    • 5.1

      Hi Vladislav,

      there will be an epub out soon enough, but I don’t plan to really sell it. I will sell an electronic version in the Kindle store for availability’s sake, though, as soon as I think it’s good enough.


  5. 6

    How about putting the book on Smashwords? That’s a lot more freedom friendly bookstore than (evil) Amazon.

    • 6.1

      The idea is to cater to the mass market; those who shun Amazon are generally the already-converted, and they will know how to download the book (and know how to donate to me privately if they want to do so for the book).


  6. 7

    Hej Rick,

    can I buy the book from somewhere else than from Amazon? This company has terrible working conditions (at least here in Germany), so I don’t want to do business with them.

  7. 8

    Hi Rick, I’m starting open translation into Czech at the link above. It’ll take a while to convert the formatting from ODF (can’t wait for the epub which I can reformat through a script) and double check for mistakes. When I’m done, I’ll send you a new translation pack in wiki syntax.

    The website uses Dokuwiki with Dokutranslate plugin. When a page gets switched to translation mode, it looks like this: https://babel.pirati.cz/encs/cph/types-of-email

  8. 9

    Congratulations! Well done!

    Looking forward to actually buying and reading a paper copy of this. Looks great so far! :)

  9. 10
    Max Pont

    FYI: McAfee extorts activists websites, flags them as “malicious” but offers to withdraw flag by paying $32.000.

    “McAfee anti-virus company caught in malicious defamation of innocent websites; will McAfee also promote racism against Martin Luther King, Rosa Parks and Nelson Mandela?”
    Learn more: http://www.naturalnews.com/041170_McAfee_Site_Advisor_false_information.html#ixzz2ZcprajQh

  10. 11

    Rick, thanks for being such a great person. I actually believe you’re changing the world for the better. I admire your remarkable intelligence and I will be happy if I resemble you when I’m your age :)

    Best wishes to you!

  11. 12

    i’m just surprised the book is still on sale and hasn’t been removed due to a claim of ‘copyright infringement’!

    i am damn sure that if they (the entertainment industries, publishers, etc) could dream up a way of doing so, it would be done!

    well done Rik! here’s hoping the Pirate Party goes from success to success!

  12. 13

    Congratulations Rick! and thank you very much for this.
    Your work is invaluable for all of us around the world trying hard to promote the ideology, philosophy and ethics of the pirates as -in Anna’s words- “the only hope that culture has left”.

    • 13.1

      No Geo pirates is certainly not the only hope that culture has left. Thats just a really silly catchphrase.
      You see most pirates don’t share culture that hey have made themselves. they mostly share culture made by those who actually are the hope of culture.

      • 13.1.1
        senór pirat

        Then why are you complaining? If that is the case, then those people being shared are just getting massive amounts of free PR for that culture.

        • Googla

          Senor so you mean that its ok to steal other peoples pieces of culture against their will if one calls it making PR?

          The cultural people getting shared the most are very seldom in need of more PR as they are already on magazine-covers legal internet and on the TV and radio.

        • senór pirat

          Steal? Are you pretending the culture was locked away with no intent of being accessible? You got to choose: is your data your private data or is it published ( = made public ). Once you made the decision to make your data public you can’t go back and pretend that the data is in your control. The world does not work like that (anymore). If the things you do and share are good people may be willing to pay you to keep doing it for them.

          “The cultural people getting shared the most are very seldom in need of more PR as they are already on magazine-covers legal internet and on the TV and radio.”

          The publishing industries are aiming at shooting down file sharing to stop NEW cultural people to get known without needing the “help” of the old publishing businesses. They clearly don’t want the competition. Why are they otherwise aiming for the distribution services themselves and not the infringers?

          Copyright and licensing is usually geopolitically bounded. The internet is not. Getting free PR abroad before legal means to distribute there will get you fans ready and willing to pay for professional services once the bureaucratic hassle has settled.

          Example 1: American TV series get a huge boost from people sharing them all over the world. For a long time no legal means were available to get those episodes earlier than several months or even years after airing.

        • Googla

          Senor TV series you claim get a boost are actually often killed by piracy as they sometimes are cancelled because too many people download them illegaly instead of watching them on TV or buying them on the net.

          New culture people can use lots of legal services on the net to show off their culture so closing down illegal services has nothing to do with what you claim.

      • 13.1.2

        oh dear, no sanctuaries for pirates… trolled everywhere, aren’t we?

        • Googla

          Geo, confused everywhere you seem to be.
          By the way what ethics do you believe are typical of pirates?

  13. 14

    I do believe Junilistan got more votes in the EU election 2004 than PP got in the EU election 2009.

    • 14.1
      senór pirat

      Junilistan accomplished nothing on their term. PP has accomplished a lot in EU since 2009. Most importantly blocking ACTA of course.

      • 14.1.1

        PP is trying to take credit for stoping ACTA, but the credit should go to the one who deserves the credit, namely David Martin of the UK Labour party. http://blogmartinmep.eu/2012/07/04/acta-dead-in-water/

        • senór pirat

          He did exactly what? Formulate a formal request to ditch ACTA once it had been demonstrated against by 400 000 Europeans? Was that formal request the important part of the work against ACTA? It looks more like “ok guys, this thing screwed up.. we gotta go look like we were on the winning side”.

  14. 15
    Stathis Leivaditis

    A great and inspiring work Rick! Thank you very much for the “Swarmwise” book full of advices for Pirates that love to change the world! Also a big thank you for the recent interview in Pirate Times!

  15. 16

    Don’t know whether anyone actually need this or not, but I added bookmarks to the PDF and a tiny bit of metadata here, http://www.mediafire.com/download/6412baagv5cobi2/

    Anyway Rick, thank you very much for the book! I really learned A LOT of new things from it.

  16. 17

    Thanks so much, Rick.

    I wish I’d been paying attention here before we gathered the core of a local People’s Assembly on Thursday evening – I’d have arranged a print run of this to hand out on the night.

    Just ordered a hard copy & grabbed a PDF to read while I wait for it. (More proof for Cory Doctorow’s suggestion that people are “pervy for paper” and ebooks tend to increase sales of the dead tree version)

  17. 18

    RICK: What a great discovery whenever one finds a soulmate! [in this case via Michel Bauwens’ P2P Foundation elist]. Unknown to each other, we’ve been working on the same wavelength. I’ve just finished a book tentatively titled: “100% = 99% + 1%: How, Altogether, “We the People” Can Occupy Politics, Change Congress and Renew the American Dream”; a sequel to last year’s e-book (Amazon): A NEW AMERICAN (R)EVOLUTION: How “We the People” can truly “take back” our government which follows my 2004 book “We the People…”. Let’s trade. One small part of the latest, on “Millenials” will appear shortly in THE ETHICAL SPECTACLE, an online journal at http://www.spectacle.org.

    Let’s trade writing and ideas. I look forward to getting and reading your book. I’ve been wanting to know more about the Pirate Party for some time.

    Keep the faith in We the People and keep up your good work, PETER

  18. 20
    Benoît Vernier

    From what I’ve read so far this is an amazing book.

    But after downloading it, I wanted to see what the physical copy looked like. I went on Amazon and took a “Look Inside” as proposed. I was really surprised when I saw that each page of the preview had on both top and bottom the mention “Copyrighted Material”!

  19. 21
    Gustavo Tosello Pinheiro

    Rick, just downloaded your book and start reading it. Having finished yet because I got sleep.

    I would like to get it translated to Portuguese as we are launching signatures collection for the Brazilian Pirate Party by the end of this month.

    Thanks for bringing hope to democracy!

  20. 22

    Hi everyone, it’s my first pay a quick visit at this web page, and
    article is really fruitful in support of me, keep up posting such articles.

  21. […] (Bislang keine Abstimmungen)  Loading … Book Launch: “Swarmwise” – The Tactical Manual to Changing the World.After four years of work, the leadership book “Swarmwise” is finally published. It is a book filled to the brim with the experience from leading the Swedish Pirate Party from zero into the European Parliament, spreading the movement to 70 countries, and most importantly, beating the competition on less than one percent of their budget – being over two orders of magnitude more cost-efficient. It is available as a paperback and a PDF, with more formats to come.http://falkvinge.net/2013/07/19/book-launch-swarmwise-the-tactical-manual-to-changing-the-world/ […]

  22. 23

    please, translate this book into Spanish and Portuguese

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About The Author

Rick is the founder of the first Pirate Party and is a political evangelist, traveling around Europe and the world to talk and write about ideas of a sensible information policy. He has a tech entrepreneur background and loves whisky.

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