The World Is Flat: A Brief History of the Twenty-first Century Hardcover – Apr 5 2005
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From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. Before 9/11, New York Times columnist Friedman was best known as the author of The Lexus and the Olive Tree, one of the major popular accounts of globalization and its discontents. Having devoted most of the last four years of his column to the latter as embodied by the Middle East, Friedman picks up where he left off, saving al-Qaeda et al. for the close. For Friedman, cheap, ubiquitous telecommunications have finally obliterated all impediments to international competition, and the dawning "flat world" is a jungle pitting "lions" and "gazelles," where "economic stability is not going to be a feature" and "the weak will fall farther behind." Rugged, adaptable entrepreneurs, by contrast, will be empowered. The service sector (telemarketing, accounting, computer programming, engineering and scientific research, etc.), will be further outsourced to the English-spoken abroad; manufacturing, meanwhile, will continue to be off-shored to China. As anyone who reads his column knows, Friedman agrees with the transnational business executives who are his main sources that these developments are desirable and unstoppable, and that American workers should be preparing to "create value through leadership" and "sell personality." This is all familiar stuff by now, but the last 100 pages on the economic and political roots of global Islamism are filled with the kind of close reporting and intimate yet accessible analysis that have been hard to come by. Add in Friedman's winning first-person interjections and masterful use of strategic wonksterisms, and this book should end up on the front seats of quite a few Lexuses and SUVs of all stripes. (Apr. 5)
From School Library Journal
Adult/High School–This brilliantly paced, articulate, and accessible explanation of today's world is an ideal title for tech-savvy teens. Friedman's thesis is that connectedness by computer is leveling the playing field, giving individuals the ability to collaborate and compete in real time on a global scale. While the author is optimistic about the future, seeing progress in every field from architecture to zoology, he is aware that terrorists are also using computers to attack the very trends that make progress plausible and reasonable. This is a smart and essential read for those who will be expected to live and work in this new global environment.–Alan Gropman, National Defense University, Washington, DC
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.Read more ›
What is globalisation? Friedman sees it as technology spreading the wealth from industrialised to developing nations. Collapsing barriers, particularly "trade barriers" help promote economic development for both First and Third World countries. He proposes a ten step historical sequence of forces that promoted globalisation. These forces, in his view, enabled the spread of Western electronic technology, encouraging economic growth. From the fall of the Berlin Wall through "outsourcing" to utilise cheap labour, to wireless communication, these forces converged to give us a true "global village". It's more than widening the labour pool. Friedman cheers the idea of his taxes being done in Bangalore or CAT scans taken in Cape Cod being diagnosed in Melbourne. All that concerns Friedman is that the information be turned around overnight ready for delivery the next morning. He claims that the knowledge needed in New York is goading leaps in education to provide it in places like India and China.Read more ›
Friedman's writing is decent, although at times repetitive and laborious to read.
Globalization is a genie that the US in my opinion let out of the bottle. I do not see that it was an inevitability.
Further Friedman neglects to emphasize the sheer power the United States still wields in the world.
Are Y2K, the rise of China and the World Trade Center attack are all some of the most important events of this emerging century were these changes inevitable or where they the result of poor judgment of US foreign policy over the past 15 years? From my perspective many of these mistakes were made by our politician most especially in the Clinton years (despite good intentions) but there has also been a cancer that has been eating away at our society for a long while most notably in education and in our intelligence community. We have overestimated our power while trying to express a largess in a world that seems to only boil over more with anti-Americanism. We have served up hope to the third world without coming through which can only make the populations of the third world more anti-American.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
Yes, a good book. But the title is misleading. It is not what I wanted. I
wanted oranges, I got tomatoes. I can cook, I can manage. Read more
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... Read more
This book is definitely a must read for everybody who is having a hard time of understanding the globalism and its side effects. Read morePublished on March 30 2007 by Baris Akyurek
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. Read morePublished on Jan. 11 2007 by Oliver
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... Read morePublished on Jan. 8 2007 by E. Haensel
My current favourite book is "'>The World is Flat", a brief history of the twenty-first century by Thomas Friedman. Awesome read. Read morePublished on Dec 20 2006 by J. Estill
There's an old saying that hindsight is 20/20. Most people need distance to attain perspective. That old adage does not apply to Thomas Friedman. Read morePublished on Dec 13 2006 by Aviva Shiff
Anyone concerned or interested in the condition of our global economy and the world in general MUST read this book. Read morePublished on Oct. 20 2006 by G. Harding
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