John-Paul Flintoff is an author, broadcaster, and journalist. In Sew Your Own, he wrote about sweat shops and global resource shortages. In How to Change the World,, a volume in Picador's "The School of Life" series, he cites Leo Tolstoy as the sage who declared that we are making history every day in our lives by the small and large acts of empathy, kindness, compassion, and conscience that we unfurl as signs of our solidarity with goodness and justice. Or as the Native American activist Leonard Peltier put it:

"We are each absolutely essential, each totally irreplaceable. Each of us is the swing vote in the bitter election battle now being waged between our best and worst possibilities."

Flintoff then immerses us in what drives us to change the world. He offers some thoughts on strategy, bearing witness, taking a first step, adding beauty and fun, the role of money, and aiming for the peace prize. The author concludes that changing the world is not so much a job as a state of mind: "attentive to the way things are, willing to share responsibility for it, and determined not to make despair convincing, but hope possible."

Flintoff ends the book with a list of 191 ways to act from Gene Sharp's The Politics of Nonviolent Action: Part Two: The Methods of Nonviolent Action.