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Tools for tricksters

In this section are various tools we're developing for new and old tricksters, to help you use creative tactics to resist tyranny, oppression, or just plain assholism in the form you're most concerned with. There are many ways to skin a tyrant, and a few tools and readings that can help you to do so. Check out for a start the behind-the-curtain stories of our actions, with lessons we've learned, or sometimes re-learned—and then sign up for a session of the Trickster Academy!

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These are the secret stories of actions that Yes Men have been a part of—in all their complexity, and not as a movie or press release represented them. Each one links to lessons we learned, so that you don't necessarily have to.

This is a list of lessons learned (and sometimes re-learned, or re-re-learned) in the process of carrying out actions. Whereas the Book of Tricks contains tricks and techniques, these are more like life lessons. Click around from each lesson to the stories of how we came to them, or failed to until later. Sometimes it gets pretty weird….

One great way to get new ideas is to get acquainted with what others have done. Actipedia is a user-generated database with thousands of inspiring examples divided by region, issue, medium, and, especially, effectiveness. You could start with the actions we're most excited by, and let your brain-juices do the rest. (It's not rocket science!)

Beautiful Trouble is a carefully curated resource we've had a small part in developing. Besides some great stories, it has great lists of tactics, principles, and theories, that can sometimes help us think through an action we want to do. Are we doing the media's work for them? Are we using humor effectively? The site is all interlinking, so you can just jump in wherever and follow your nose. 

When starting to work with any partner on a creative activism project, we like to consider what a project might accomplish—beyond "raising awareness," which is a little too easy. We've sketched out a framework here of how we think creative actions can make a difference—mainly, by fitting into coherent campaigns.

For more on campaigns that change the world, check out:

  • The Path of Most Resistance: A great resource for planning campaigns by Ivan Marovic, one of the founders of Otpor (which helped overthrow Milosevic in 2000) and CANVAS (which went around counseling other movements in how to do it). Ivan was the impetus behind our "Brokers and Police" action during Occupy Wall Street. Here's a webinar in which Ivan talks about the book.
  • Blueprint for Revolution: A more narrative book by Srdja Popovic, another Otpor founder.
  • How We Win: If anyone knows, it's George Lakey, who's been a guiding light of non-violent resistance since the Civil Rights struggle. (Here's a webinar in which George talks about the book.)
  • This is an Uprising: a website as well as a book, full of thought-provoking articles!
  • If you're living within a full-blown tyranny, or worried your country may go there next, you might check out Small Acts of Resistance.

There are many other wonderful resources for thinking strategically about change, of course. Let us know what you find!

The “Book of Tricks contains much of what we've learned about developing and carrying out projects. It's far from complete, but there's a lot in there. For a preview of a few of the subjects that Yes Guides learn, check out especially the sections on brainstorming, planning actions, writing funny, making websites, legal fun, video documentation, and press work.