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A playbook for how citizen movements prevailed from Suffrage to Selma to Seoul
83 backers pledged $15,011 to help bring this project to life.

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Surmountable: A Brian Gruber & Adam Edwards Book project video thumbnail
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Surmountable \sər·moun’tə·bəl\, adj.

  • capable of being overcome or conquered despite the challenges ahead
  • the opposite of insurmountable
  • a new book by Brian Gruber and Adam Edwards

The American Constitution was revolutionary and inspired the world because it put citizens in charge with a specific blueprint for how to keep aristocrats, autocrats, and chaos at bay. We are at an extraordinary moment when Americans from every part of the political spectrum feel abandoned and disaffected, the system paralyzed and corrupted.

It wasn’t always this way. Throughout our history, everyday Americans organized and effectively moved the needle on big ideas and causes that mattered. Executive producer Adam Edwards and acclaimed author Brian Gruber are partnering to explore why that is no longer the case, what we can learn from history, and how citizens can engage in 2019 to move mountains. 

We believe our current challenges are surmountable as those came before us faced much greater odds and won -- from the women’s suffrage and civil rights movements to the single person responsible for the most recent Constitutional amendment to the Bonus Army veterans who helped swing the 1932 election to see justice served.

We have plenty of history books. We need a playbook. Adam is funding the writing process, but we are looking for your help to fund the travel, production, and other elements to deliver an important new book and big impact. We will harvest fresh narratives from witnesses to history, family members, key stakeholders, thought leaders, those behind the scenes who solved the logistics, and those who imagined the big ideas that moved the country.

Our goal is to understand how they surmounted seemingly impossible obstacles and how they brought the vision of the country’s founders alive. And, depending on the funds raised, we will travel to the scenes of historic global protests from Berlin to Tunis to Seoul to mine provocative stories for models and lessons learned. 

Adam Monier Edwards is an online marketer with 20 years of experience working with household names, now managing a team of nearly 50 digital experts at one of the world's top four advertising agencies. He has spoken at numerous conferences including Voice.ai, Search Marketing Expo (SMX) Advanced, and Yext Onward. Adam has been the executive producer on multiple films which have premiered at prestigious festivals such as Tribeca and DOC NYC. His experience on the board of Upwardly Global helped him understand that challenges are not always overcome easily but are indeed surmountable. The events he hosted for the non-profit, including a previously successful Kickstarter campaign, received press coverage in both the New York Times and New York Daily News. In his spare time, Adam is an avid crowdfunder, having backed nearly 300 Kickstarter projects.

Brian Gruber was the first director of marketing at C-SPAN where he hosted call-in shows with politically prominent guests such as Cesar Chavez, John McCain, and Nancy Pelosi. He founded and led FORA.tv, the world’s premiere thought leader video network, selected by TIME as one of the 50 best sites on the web, and livestreaming jazz network ShowGo.tv. Brian is a three-time author including the Kickstarter-funded “War: The Afterparty,” for which he traveled around the world to the scenes of a half century of U.S. military interventions to evaluate the human and economic costs of war from both ends of the gun barrel. His most recent book “Six Days at Ronnie Scott’s: Billy Cobham on Jazz Fusion and the Act of Creation” has garnered rave reviews from the world’s leading jazz, percussion, and music publications.

  • It is possible that our final subtitle or artwork may differ from these drafts.
  • Our itinerary may change due to unforeseen events over the next year.
  • Original source cover photo by Pierre Van Crombrugghe.
  • Original source stretch goal photo by Todd Diemer.
  • Book mockup template by Covervault; design by Adam Edwards.
  • The views expressed in this project do not necessarily reflect the views of any organizations listed above.

Risks and challenges

We have both spent several months researching to prepare for this book and crowdfunding campaign. We have already compiled our outline, our itinerary, and our ideal interviewees. Brian has already written three books and hosts author workshops, so we are not worried about his ability to complete the majority of the writing. Adam is funding the process and budgeted this year accordingly, having worked at the same company since 2012. Our co-authorship has already and will continue to allow us to trade off ideas, research, and writing responsibilities to keep us moving ahead through key milestones. Brian has traveled the world including Iraq and Afghanistan, so we are not worried about his ability to get by in unfamiliar territory or secure flights and lodging for the above contribution levels.

Our aim is to complete the book by the fall. Like any journalistic exercise, it is possible that timelines may slip. Or if we get picked up by a publisher, then they may request additional rounds of editing that we have not anticipated. However, for the most part, the main risks we have are the same as anyone else in their daily life.

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    Pledge US$ 10 or more About US$ 10

    SINCERE THANKS!

    A warm thank you sent to your Kickstarter inbox and project updates from the field.

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    SURMOUNTABLE: #LOVEWINS

    Valentine's Day Special:
    One Surmountable e-book ONLY at a lower price for a limited time
    [Not added to any other perk]

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    SURMOUNTABLE: THE E-BOOK

    All of the above plus the Surmountable pre-release e-book

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    • All of the above
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    SURMOUNTABLE: THE PAPERBACK

    One Surmountable paperback ONLY
    [Limited time offer and not added to any other perk]

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    SURMOUNTABLE: THE BOOK

    All of the above plus a printed Surmountable book, as well as an audio book version if we hit our first stretch goal

    Includes:
    • All of the above
    • Surmountable paperback
    • Surmountable audiobook (if stretch goal is reached)
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    SURMOUNTABLE: THE TOUR

    Invitation to exclusive launch events in three cities, printed mention in acknowledgements, signed Surmountable book, additional e-book, plus project kickoff call with key funders

    Includes:
    • All of the above
    • Invitation to book signing in NY, SF, DC
    • Project kickoff call with key funders
    • Signed Surmountable book
    • Additional Surmountable e-book
    • Mention in acknowledgements
    • Invitation to NY launch party (if stretch goal is reached)
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    SURMOUNTABLE: THE AUTHORS

    Coffee with Adam and/or Brian during project travel or launch tour as well as an additional signed Surmountable book and e-book

    Includes:
    • All of the above
    • Coffee with Adam and/or Brian
    • Additional Surmountable e-book
    • Additional signed Surmountable book
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    SURMOUNTABLE: THE PREVIEW

    An invitation to read a digital advance copy of the book and the ability to provide feedback prior to publication, plus the opportunity to join three author videoconferencing sessions from the road (e.g. from Selma, Standing Rock, and also Seoul if we hit our stretch goal), as well as two additional signed Surmountable books and e-books

    Includes:
    • All of the above
    • Videoconferencing sessions
    • Additional Surmountable e-book
    • Additional signed Surmountable book
    • Invitation to read a pre-release version of the book
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    Pledge US$ 1,000 or more About US$ 1,000

    INSPIRING YOUR BOOK CLUB IS SURMOUNTABLE

    Private event for you and your friends to meet Adam and/or Brian (during designated travel windows; NY, DC, SF, LA require no travel expense) with five additional signed books and e-books as well as a PDF for unlimited sharing to friends in addition to a personal dedication in the book

    Includes:
    • All of the above
    • Private event with Adam and/or Brian
    • Surmountable PDF
    • Invitation to conference (if stretch goal is reached)
    • Additional Surmountable e-book
    • Additional signed Surmountable book
    • Personal dedication in book
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    Pledge US$ 2,500 or more About US$ 2,500

    YOUR WRITING BLOCK IS SURMOUNTABLE

    Personalized weekly writing coaching program for 3 months with three-time author Brian Gruber via phone

    Includes:
    • All perks until and including at the $1,000 level
    • Weekly writing coaching program for 3 months via phone with Brian
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    YOUR MARKETING CHALLENGE IS SURMOUNTABLE

    Personalized three hour online marketing consultation and brainstorming session with Adam Edwards (one of the top digital agency executives within the big four advertising firms, indie film producer, and former board member to a national non-profit organization) hosted in New York. Does not include travel.

    Includes:
    • All perks until and including at the $1,000 level
    • Three hour consultation session with Adam in NY
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    SURMOUNTABLE MIND & BODY

    One week Thai island retreat with three-time author Brian Gruber including Koh Phangan tour, personalized daily private writing coaching, 6 nights lodging at waterfront resort, and daily lunch or dinner with Brian. Does not include travel.

    Includes:
    • All perks until and including at the $1,000 level
    • One week Thai retreat with 6 nights at waterfront resort
    • Daily lunch or dinner with Brian
    • Koh Phangan tour
    • Personalized daily private writing coaching
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    SURMOUNTABLE MARKETING ANALYSIS

    Discovery session with Adam Edwards to explore your online marketing challenges followed up by a full customized analysis of your website’s performance and opportunities presented via conference call. Will be queued after anyone who contributes for a SURMOUNTABLE MARKETING EXPERIENCE.

    Includes:
    • All perks until and including at the $1,000 level
    • Marketing discovery session with Adam
    • Customized website performance and opportunity analysis by Adam
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    SURMOUNTABLE SPIRITUAL EXPERIENCE

    Round trip flight, ferry, and taxi transport between Bangkok and the remote paradise of Koh Phangan. Your choice of daily spa treatments (e.g. yoga, massage, mud bath, facial). Personalized weekly writing coaching program with Brian for 6 months. Only includes domestic travel within Thailand; does not include international flights to Bangkok.

    Includes:
    • All perks until and including at the $1,000 level
    • SURMOUNTABLE MIND & BODY
    • Roundtrip airfare from Bangkok to Koh Samui
    • Roundtrip ferry transport from Koh Samui to Koh Phangan
    • Roundtrip taxi from ferry terminal to waterfront resort
    • Daily spa treatments for one week
    • Personalized weekly writing coaching program for 6 months
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    SURMOUNTABLE MARKETING EXPERIENCE

    Round trip domestic flight and taxi to New York City, the advertising capital of the world. One night lodging in a New York City hotel. Dinner with Adam to review presentation findings followed by a working breakfast the next day to determine next steps. Priority access to the SURMOUNTABLE MARKETING ANALYSIS ahead of backers at the previous level. Only includes domestic travel within the USA; does not include international flights to New York.

    Includes:
    • All perks until and including at the $1,000 level
    • SURMOUNTABLE MARKETING ANALYSIS
    • Roundtrip flight from anywhere within the continental US to NYC
    • Roundtrip taxi from airport to your hotel in NYC
    • One night lodging in NYC
    • Dinner with Adam to review findings
    • Working breakfast with Adam to determine next steps
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Funding period

- (31 days)