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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars useful but superficial
If you've been on a space station for the past 6 years, or -- as I have been -- living (& pre-occupied with renovating an old house) in the rural south-east "toe" of New Brunswick where nobody reads anything & the topics of conversation are the collapse of the cod fishery and the price of lumber, this book would be a revelation, as indeed it was for me. I had no idea of...
Published on Jan. 9 2007 by Shemogue

versus
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Is this book flat?
Mostly dated book on the impact of globalization. Manufacturing jobs to China, programmers and telemarketers in India, and on and on it goes. Certainly anyone who is a businessman should read this book if they didn't already know the offshoring and outsourcing effect.

Friedman's writing is decent, although at times repetitive and laborious to read.
Published on Dec 30 2006 by Coach C


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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars useful but superficial, Jan. 9 2007
By 
Shemogue (New Brunswick) - See all my reviews
This review is from: World Is Flat (Hardcover)
If you've been on a space station for the past 6 years, or -- as I have been -- living (& pre-occupied with renovating an old house) in the rural south-east "toe" of New Brunswick where nobody reads anything & the topics of conversation are the collapse of the cod fishery and the price of lumber, this book would be a revelation, as indeed it was for me. I had no idea of the extent of change since I retired from the world of business in 2000. I was greatly impressed by what this book had to say.

But...6 months have passed, I cancelled "Time" & got a subscription to "The Economist" & have been reading more widely & Friedman's book begins to seem more superficial & less brilliant.

I have usually avoided best-sellers because my experience has been that any book which appeals to the least commmon demoninator must be simplistic, glib & trendy. While "The World is Flat" is all of the above, it was interesting and useful to me in my state of ignorance about the early 21st century Global Economy. But it is certainly not the last or best word on the subject.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Future of Global Competition, July 15 2006
By 
Donald Mitchell "Jesus Loves You!" (Thanks for Providing My Reviews over 124,000 Helpful Votes Globally) - See all my reviews
(#1 HALL OF FAME)    (TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: World Is Flat (Hardcover)
The World Is Flat is an easy, if long, read about the nature of global competition among countries, companies and individuals as circumstances stood in 2004.

Let me describe his key points. Mr. Friedman begins by describing ten forces that were powerful in creating today's extreme business competition on a global scale (the fall of the Berlin Wall, advances in computer communications and software, reductions in cost to connect organizations together by computer-directed instructions, new ways of partnering and the rise of portable, real-time information access over the Internet). He then describes a triple convergence that has accelerated change: World-wide, real-time, flexible collaboration that allows more horizontal ways to provide value; companies learning how to use the new technologies to create new types of organizations, services and structures; and the entry of several billion new people into global business competition.

Mr. Friedman goes on to describe the implications of the 2004 world for the future. He sees a need for more education, greater specialization, learning new skills and moving up the ladder of adding more value . . . or a job, a company or a country will see its position degraded or even replaced by a more effective competitor elsewhere. For the United States, he sees a "quiet crisis" as other nations outrace its citizens for advanced education and work harder to compete. Today's lead can soon become tomorrow's obsolescence. In the meantime, consumers will benefit from cheaper imported goods and offshore services.

For developing countries, the challenge is greater. They were behind to start with. Mexico finds itself being displaced by China in serving the U.S. market, even though Mexico is right next door. The key task is to free local entrepreneurs to operate efficiently and to put good infrastructure and education in place.

In geopolitics, much focus will turn to a fight over raw materials as developing nations add great needs for energy and the minerals and food needed to urbanize and industrialize. He also sees severe environmental problems ahead.

The Muslim world is mostly seen as being left out . . . and becoming resentful . . . leading to more terrorism.

Mr. Friedman also encourages companies and countries to find ways to open up this new world to the 3 billion poorest people.

At the end, he describes a world of unbounded opportunity if we only have enough imagination to create a better future.

Mr. Friedman is a good writer, a confessed humanist and a great teller of anecdotes. He traveled to many of the places he wrote about in the book which gives his story depth, color and texture. It also makes his messages more compelling and interesting.

The book has three flaws that will bother many people.

First, his points about global business competition are not new in any way. So this book will be largely a waste of time for those who have been following this development for some time. As a result, this book will be of most value to those who are new to the subject.

Second, his central metaphor of a flat world doesn't really work. Mr. Friedman is arguing that we have a level global playing field except for some minor advantages that already exist (location, raw materials such as oil, education levels, computer and communications access, and knowledge of languages). If he had called the book "The Playing Field Is Level," that metaphor would have worked. He is also arguing that communications place us in great proximity to one another and that trend is continuing. From that observation, it's possible to see the world as a concave bowl with ever rising sides causing all of us to slide closer together at the bottom. "The World Is a Concave Bowl with Rising Sides" isn't much of a book title, so I can see why he avoided that metaphor. Nevertheless, the title metaphor is wrong and it's annoying to have to read so much about it throughout the book. I also found the cover illustration to be annoying for this reason. The world he is describing is one where sailing ships will founder because they cannot survive pitched battles with other sailing ships that have better guns and maneuverability . . . not one where some people are falling off the end of the earth. It's a great illustration . . . but for another book.

Third, many of his solutions are more rhetorical than real. Mr. Friedman would have done better to seek out those who have created major solutions to difficult problems (such as the Grameen Bank in creating entrepreneurs among the impoverished) rather than to describe little experiments that companies have done. But the rhetoric will encourage you to think about what he has to say . . . and perhaps your imagination will be stimulated to see new ways you can contribute. If so, that would be good.

Find new ways to achieve old objectives! And good luck to you as you do.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Is this book flat?, Dec 30 2006
By 
Coach C (Canada) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: World Is Flat (Hardcover)
Mostly dated book on the impact of globalization. Manufacturing jobs to China, programmers and telemarketers in India, and on and on it goes. Certainly anyone who is a businessman should read this book if they didn't already know the offshoring and outsourcing effect.

Friedman's writing is decent, although at times repetitive and laborious to read.
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36 of 40 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Ostrich Approach Yields Little, Jan. 8 2007
By 
E. Haensel (Toronto) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: World Is Flat (Hardcover)
Thomas Friedman has done what every best-selling journalist knows is the easiest way to sell a book and make a name for yourself: you take a complex problem and drag it through a whole host of carefully selected 'case studies' to show that it is in fact quite simple, if a bit messy around the edges.

The World is not Flat, I hate to be glib, but this statment has as much truth as an economic metaphor as it does as a geological statement.

It is not so much the Friedman makes incorrect arguments, as that he just choses not to look at what he does not want to see. Globalization is causing the tranfer of wealth around the globe, and the transfer of poverty. Yes you can golf in India at a shwank resort, you can also freeze to death on the streets of Toronto, Canada. You can be born into an upperclass family in Sri Lanka and have a life expectancy of 80 plus years or be born as an African-American male in the United States and have a life expectancy of 48.

Global indicators from the United Nations World Health Organization show that disease, poverty, and premature death are on the rise globally. Further, even the ever optomistic World Bank does not deny that the polarizaion of wealth is increasing at stagering rates, as is personal and national debt. One also aught to take a trip to George Monbiot's book "Heat: Or How to Stop the Planet From Burning" and evaluate his take on the character of the present global situation.

I will at this point come right out and admit that I am completely stunned and more than a little disheartened at the raving reviews this book is getting. Has the glitzy media presentation really succeeded in its selling of the massive theft that private corporations are wreaking on public resources? Remember, who owns the media? What are their interests? I am also amazed that someone with as little economic training as Friedman, and as little demonstration of economic thought as is present in this book, has been taken to be a sage of global economics.

Please, those of you that are going to read this book, and those of you that love it, read a real economist who deals with these issues: such as Nobel Prize winner and former World Bank advisor Joseph Stieglitz, or Nobel Prize Winner Amartya Sen. And then, read at least one social scientist on the subject, somene who is not an economist.

I must say that I do share both the author and many of the reviewers' belief that Globalization is a powerful and important force that is changing the shape of the world, but I also believe in diligent reporting, good scholarship, and the honest evaluation of the topic presented, all of which are completely lacking in this propaghanda piece.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must read!, March 30 2007
By 
R. Baris Akyurek (Toronto) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: World Is Flat (Hardcover)
This book is definitely a must read for everybody who is having a hard time of understanding the globalism and its side effects. Having read this book (2 times), I certainly have a more vivid picture of how things work in the 'flat world'.
Mr. Friedman's definition of 10 forces that helped world get flatten is very interesting and worth to read it twice to understand the connection among the forces. However, the more you read, the boring the book gets since the author repeats so many examples of same sort. Nevertheless, the book has increased my knowledge as well as my interest in terms of how things have started to work with the advent of the internet.
The read was nice and easy, even for a person like me whose first language is not English.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars This book will help your future, don't get bogged by 1st 100 pages, Aug. 27 2008
By 
R. Lennox (montreal, Quebec Canada) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: World Is Flat (Hardcover)
This book will most definatly help our future.
It assesses how the world is flat and what kind of collaboration will be needed for the middle class to re-align itself properly via solid education.
Most interesting quote and explanation is Passion + Creativity > IQ in this day and age.
Do not get bogged down by 1st 100 pages and what led us to today and the flattening of the world. Some of it is obvious and you may have heard. However the book is primarily about the future of our society and how you (being anyone) can be successful in it.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing, Jan. 11 2007
By 
Oliver (Los Angeles) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: World Is Flat (Hardcover)
Friedman's latest book is just plain disappointing. We all know that the world is growing more connected -- the internet, cell phones, global trade, etc. are all growing quickly. The world is changing fast. We all know that.

Friedman's book does not add much. He is not an expert in any of the topics he discusses, and he does not do the kind of in-depth research or thinking needed to come up with an interesting prediction or observation. Rather, he just picked a "hot topic," did a few random interviews, and wrote a book.

Freidman oversimplifies an incredibly complex process, and he does not tell you anything you do not already know. He also repeats his catch phrase -- "the world is flat" -- over and over, as if trying to make you remember the name of his book.

I really enjoyed Beruit to Jerusalem when it came out, and I was very disappointed to read this one.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Much needed, Oct. 20 2006
By 
This review is from: World Is Flat (Hardcover)
Anyone concerned or interested in the condition of our global economy and the world in general MUST read this book. Friedman describes in detail (though nothing that will bog you down too much), just how we got to be where we are with regarads to globilization and business. He gives an excellent example of how China has now replaced Mexico and (or long ago), Japan as the great manafacturer. He also recognizes the Muslim world and how they seem to be disconnected economically, making a case that it leads, or has led, to terrorism. Very interesting stuff.

[...].
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5.0 out of 5 stars The World is Flat, Sept. 26 2006
By 
John Mckibbon (Brampton, Ontario Canada) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: World Is Flat (Hardcover)
This book is certainly an eyeopener. I never would have thought that we are offshoring so many of our service jobs. This book should be offered as compulsory reading at the high school level, as it really states what is happening and how fast it is happening. One of the best books I have read in a long time.
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5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent book, Oct. 13 2006
By 
Rehan Abid (Toronto, Canada) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: World Is Flat (Hardcover)
A brilliant, excellent, accurate but a brutal dissection of the Muslim World vis-à-vis an inevitable flattening world. My accolades to Friedman.
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