This study introduces graphited nanodiamond (G-ND) as an environmentally friendly, easy-to-regenerate, and cost-effective alternative catalyst to activate persulfate (i.e., peroxymonosulfate (PMS) and peroxydisulfate (PDS)) and oxidize organic compounds in water. The G-ND was found to be superior for persulfate activation to other benchmark carbon materials such as graphite, graphene, fullerene, and carbon nanotubes. The G-ND/persulfate showed selective reactivity toward phenolic compounds and some pharmaceuticals, and the degradation kinetics were not inhibited by the presence of oxidant scavengers and natural organic matter. These results indicate that radical intermediates such as sulfate radical anion and hydroxyl radical are not majorly responsible for this persulfate-driven oxidation of organic compounds. The findings from linear sweep voltammetry, thermogravimetric analysis, Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy, and electron paramagnetic resonance spectroscopy analyses suggest that the both persulfate and phenol effectively bind to G-ND surface and are likely to form charge transfer complex, in which G-ND plays a critical role in mediating facile electron transfer from phenol to persulfate.