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That Used to Be Us: How America Fell Behind…
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That Used to Be Us: How America Fell Behind in the World It Invented and… (2011)

by Thomas L. Friedman, Thomas L. Friedman, Michael Mandelbaum

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America is in trouble. We face four major challenges on which our future depends, and we are failing to meet them. If we delay any longer, soon it will be too late for us to pass along the American dream to future generations. In That Used To Be Us, Thomas L. Friedman, one of our most influential columnists, and Michael Mandelbaum, one of our leading foreign policy thinkers, offer both a wake-up call to collective action. They analyze four challenges we face - globalization, the revolution in information technology, the nation's chronic deficits, and our pattern of excessive energy consumption - and spell out what we need to do now to sustain the American dream and preserve American power in the world. They believe that the recovery of American greatness is within reach. They show how America's history, when properly understood, offers a five-part formula for prosperity that will enable us to cope successfully with the challenges we face. They offer vivid profiles of individuals who have not lost sight of the American habits of bold thought and dramatic action. They propose a clear way out of the trap into which the country has fallen, a way that includes the rediscovery of some of our most vital traditions and the creation of a new third-party movement to galvanize the country. ( )
  jepeters333 | Aug 2, 2013 |
I like the authors' points but the narrator makes me insane. He pronounces "December 17" as "December seventeen" instead of "December seventeenth." Much worse, he pronounces "0.15" as "point fifteen" and so forth with any decimal in the text. This in a book bemoaning the Usan war on math and physics, and even when decimal is "point twenty," no one in the production realized that 0.2 and 0.20 are the same. Also he pronounces the first syllable of "steroids" as "steer" instead of "stare."

I credit the authors, not the reader, with writing "the aughts" for "the first decade of a century." So sensible, so sadly unused. This leads, however, to another complaint about the reader: he pronounces 2010 as "two thousand ten" instead of "twenty ten." The "two thousand" bit is okay for years 2000 through 2009, but when a year in this century has a number greater than 0 in the tens place, say "twenty" unless you are willing to say "two thousand one hundred twelve" a century from now.
  ljhliesl | May 21, 2013 |
A cogent and impassioned analysis of the dilemmas facing the United States in a globalized world-economy: higher education, globalization, IT, GT (green technology), Deficit/the Debt, Global Warming, and so forth. Covers a lot.

I would have appreciated a more thorough analysis and some more citations and deeper reasoning, but that would have required several more books. Nevertheless, this book diagnoses the problems fairly well - the dispute is on what is to be done.

( )
  HadriantheBlind | Mar 30, 2013 |
A fascinating look at how the American Empire has got itself into big trouble and what it might do to recover its former power and glory. Presidential and Congressional elections are tomorrow (2012) and I neither see nor hear much that promises any change that will improve matters.
Frankly, I found this volume somewhat depressing because I do not see the will to make the tough changes that are required to improve the situation. You may ask why a Canadian would be so concerned. To paraphrase a former Canadian Prime Minister, when you lay down beside an elephant, you must be careful when it rolls over. ( )
  lamour | Nov 5, 2012 |
Anybody voting should read this book. Although it doesn't have all the answers, it does ask the key questions that need to be addressed in order for our country to thrive and not just barely survive. ( )
  davevanl | Oct 19, 2012 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Thomas L. Friedmanprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Friedman, Thomas L.main authorall editionsconfirmed
Mandelbaum, Michaelmain authorall editionsconfirmed
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It makes no sense for China to have better rail systems than us, and Singapore having better airports than us. And we just learned that China now has the fastest supercomputer on Earth - that used to be us. - President Barack Obama, November 3, 2010
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To Ann Friedman and Anne Mandelbaum
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(Preface) A reader might ask why two people who have devoted their careers to writing about foreign affairs - one of us as a foreign correspondent and columnist at The New York Times and the other as a professor of American International Studies - have collaborated on a book about the American condition today.
This is a book about America that begins in China.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0374288909, Hardcover)

America is in trouble. We face four major challenges on which our future depends, and we are failing to meet them—and if we delay any longer, soon it will be too late for us to pass along the American dream to future generations.
       In That Used to Be Us, Thomas L. Friedman, one of our most influential columnists, and Michael Mandelbaum, one of our leading foreign policy thinkers, offer both a wake-up call and a call to collective action. They analyze the four challenges we face—globalization, the revolution in information technology, the nation’s chronic deficits, and our pattern of excessive energy consumption—and spell out what we need to do now to sustain the American dream and preserve American power in the world. They explain how the end of the Cold War blinded the nation to the need to address these issues seriously, and how China’s educational successes, industrial might, and technological prowess remind us of the ways in which “that used to be us.” They explain how the paralysis of our political system and the erosion of key American values have made it impossible for us to carry out the policies the country urgently needs.
       And yet Friedman and Mandelbaum believe that the recovery of American greatness is within reach. They show how America’s history, when properly understood, offers a five-part formula for prosperity that will enable us to cope successfully with the challenges we face. They offer vivid profiles of individuals who have not lost sight of the American habits of bold thought and dramatic action. They propose a clear way out of the trap into which the country has fallen, a way that includes the rediscovery of some of our most vital traditions and the creation of a new thirdparty movement to galvanize the country.
       That Used to Be Us is both a searching exploration of the American condition today and a rousing manifesto for American renewal.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:59:38 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

Makes recommendations for meeting four major challenges currently facing the United States, including globalization, the information technology revolution, chronic deficits, and unbalanced energy consumption.

» see all 5 descriptions

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