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The Lexus and the Olive Tree: Understanding…

The Lexus and the Olive Tree: Understanding Globalization (1999)

by Thomas L. Friedman

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I cringe each time I hear of an olive tree being cut down for a wall or development. This is an apt symbol. ( )
  Pat_Gibson | May 28, 2017 |
Half of this new, post-Cold War world is intent on building a better lexus, on streamlining their societies and economies for the global marketplace, while the other half is locked in elemental struggles over who owns which olive tree, which strip of land. The key question, addressed in this book, is how best to retain national identity and control over our lives while still linking up to the soulless, faceless global institutions in order to survive economically
  HitherGreen | Jan 27, 2016 |
  flyheatherfly | Mar 6, 2014 |
I accidentally shoplifted this book from Housing Works Used Book Cafe, oops.

Considering how of-the-moment it was in say 1999, I'm not sure how well it's aged. Needs another read. ( )
1 vote amelish | Sep 12, 2013 |
Babble. [personal note: I started to read this because I think it would help me talk to Dennis, and finished it because it is an important & common viewpoint.] It is a hard book to take seriously. I don't know that it is particularly wrong but the tone is so gosh-y and gush-y. He makes up terms and phrases for everything...the turtles...the gazelles...Capitalism 6.0.... He repeats the received wisdom about the victory of Capitalism and he loves the US of A in all its wonder. He is a "liberal" and wants some kinds of welfare services while sneering at the French. He has some idea that the US can provide basic human services but stay viable and competitive, because the U.S. has such great experience at the rule of law and the primacy of ethics. 10 years adds a lot of detail to the story of the U.S. in this era. One thing the book does is highlight to the reader what devastation to the US system has been wrought over these past 10 years, even when it seemed like Reagan had done it all. And why the business world, or at least the business education world, is so hot on ethics; if (that) the US has lost its ethical standing it has lost a lot. Some of what I dislike about this book is the journalistic writing, it seems to lack much humanity. I don't know, TMQ was going on recently about the rise in the standard of living around the world and that this is the best of times for the most people...and I am certainly not a person who wishes to cling to a time when things are only better for US workers. I just wonder if this is the worst of times for the most people as well, and how those things can be balanced. But I stick with my understanding that Capitalism won't stay stable and the crashes will get crazier.
  franoscar | Jan 2, 2011 |
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In many ways, this book is fundamentally about Friedman's own journey in trying to understand the world that has changed so radically in the past decade. Indeed, much of the charm and attraction of this book is that it parallels our own journeys of discovery. His experiences we recognize. His stories we have told. His anecdotes we have heard. His awe we share.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0385499345, Paperback)

One day in 1992, Thomas Friedman toured a Lexus factory in Japan and marveled at the robots that put the luxury cars together. That evening, as he ate sushi on a Japanese bullet train, he read a story about yet another Middle East squabble between Palestinians and Israelis. And it hit him: Half the world was lusting after those Lexuses, or at least the brilliant technology that made them possible, and the other half was fighting over who owned which olive tree.

Friedman, the well-traveled New York Times foreign-affairs columnist, peppers The Lexus and the Olive Tree with stories that illustrate his central theme: that globalization--the Lexus--is the central organizing principle of the post-cold war world, even though many individuals and nations resist by holding onto what has traditionally mattered to them--the olive tree.

Problem is, few of us understand what exactly globalization means. As Friedman sees it, the concept, at first glance, is all about American hegemony, about Disneyfication of all corners of the earth. But the reality, thank goodness, is far more complex than that, involving international relations, global markets, and the rise of the power of individuals (Bill Gates, Osama Bin Laden) relative to the power of nations.

No one knows how all this will shake out, but The Lexus and the Olive Tree is as good an overview of this sometimes brave, sometimes fearful new world as you'll find. --Lou Schuler

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:15:03 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

A brilliant investigation of globalization, the most significant socioeconomic trend in the world today, and how it is affecting everything we do-economically, politically, and culturally-abroad and at home. As foreign affairs columnist for The New York Times, Thomas L. Friedman crisscrosses the globe talking with the world's economic and political leaders, and reporting, as only he can, on what he sees. Now he has used his years of experience as a reporter and columnist to produce a pithy, trenchant, riveting look at the worldwide market forces that are driving today's economies and how they are playing out both internationally and locally. Globalization is the technologically driven expression of free-market capitalism, and as such is essentially an American creation. It has irrevocably changed the way business is done and has raised living standards throughout the world. But powerful local forces-of religion, race, ethnicity, and cultural identity-are in competition with technology for the hearts and minds of their societies. Finding the proper balance between the Lexus and the olive tree is the great game of globalization-and the ultimate theme of Friedman's challenging, provocative book, essential reading for all who care about how the world really works.… (more)

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