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The World is Flat: A Brief History of the…
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The World is Flat: A Brief History of the Twenty-First Century

by Thomas L. Friedman

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
9,833145291 (3.72)106
  1. 10
    The Communist Manifesto by Karl Marx (Rigour)
    Rigour: Read the Communist Manifesto to truly understand globalization (whatever your personal ideology is).
  2. 11
    Hot, Flat, and Crowded: Why We Need a Green Revolution--and How It Can Renew America by Thomas L. Friedman (skyiscool)
    skyiscool: Hot, Flat, and Crowded builds off many of the topics that Friedman presents in The World Is Flat. Although both books adequately stand on their own, they together form an informed and powerful worldview.
  3. 01
    The Box: How the Shipping Container Made the World Smaller and the World Economy Bigger by Marc Levinson (infiniteletters)
  4. 02
    Deep Economy: The Wealth of Communities and the Durable Future by Bill McKibben (pa5t0rd)
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Drive-By Review

Accurate picture of how the global economy is evolving, and how our skills are going to need to change to keep up. ( )
  Pat_F. | Jul 25, 2014 |
On the Charlie Rose Show Mr. Friedman said half of what he said was false and that he needed that to make the book exciting to readers. Yes, he was laughing when he said it. ( )
  Benedict8 | Jul 16, 2014 |
This book was more than I expected. It gives a brief overview of how computer technology has developed and impacted the world since the advent of the PC. The PC was followed by Windows which was followed by the world wide web, all of which create a platform for doing business in an entirely new way. The effect is to connect people, information, and materials, from the various levels of society and from disparate places on earth. There is some really interesting innovation going on. For example, did you know that UPS is repairing busted laptops? (silly me, I just thought they did deliveries). ( )
  bibliostuff | Mar 20, 2014 |
This book should be a must read for those in High School and above. Even though written nine years ago much of it holds true today and is even like read a prophecy of the future. The book is very insightful about what is going on today throughout the world. This book also explains why there are issues in the Middle East, outsourcing, and how India and China are way ahead of the United States. Really eye opening reading. ( )
  foof2you | Oct 31, 2013 |
Thorough and informative! The World is Flat aims to present an unbiased perspective of the changes that have and continue to influence globalization, and predict how we might influence these changes in the future. I was surprised by the amount of time spent focusing on Islam, and the beginning seemed somewhat slow and repetitive, but later parts definitely picked up the pace. ( )
  LaPhenix | Aug 23, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 137 (next | show all)
On an ideological level, Friedman's new book is the worst, most boring kind of middlebrow horseshit. If its literary peculiarities could somehow be removed from the equation, The World Is Flat would appear as no more than an unusually long pamphlet replete with the kind of plug-filled, free-trader leg-humping that passes for thought in this country. It is a tale of a man who walks 10 feet in front of his house armed with a late-model Blackberry and comes back home five minutes later to gush to his wife that hospitals now use the internet to outsource the reading of CAT scans. Man flies on planes, observes the wonders of capitalism, says we're not in Kansas anymore. (He actually says we're not in Kansas anymore.) That's the whole plot right there. If the underlying message is all that interests you, read no further, because that's all there is.
 
Friedman describes his honest reaction to this new world while he's at one of India's great outsourcing companies, Infosys. He was standing, he says, ''at the gate observing this river of educated young people flowing in and out. . . . They all looked as if they had scored 1600 on their SAT's.
 
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0374292795, Hardcover)

Updated Edition: Thomas L. Friedman is not so much a futurist, which he is sometimes called, as a presentist. His aim in The World Is Flat, as in his earlier, influential Lexus and the Olive Tree, is not to give you a speculative preview of the wonders that are sure to come in your lifetime, but rather to get you caught up on the wonders that are already here. The world isn't going to be flat, it is flat, which gives Friedman's breathless narrative much of its urgency, and which also saves it from the Epcot-style polyester sheen that futurists--the optimistic ones at least--are inevitably prey to.

What Friedman means by "flat" is "connected": the lowering of trade and political barriers and the exponential technical advances of the digital revolution that have made it possible to do business, or almost anything else, instantaneously with billions of other people across the planet. This in itself should not be news to anyone. But the news that Friedman has to deliver is that just when we stopped paying attention to these developments--when the dot-com bust turned interest away from the business and technology pages and when 9/11 and the Iraq War turned all eyes toward the Middle East--is when they actually began to accelerate. Globalization 3.0, as he calls it, is driven not by major corporations or giant trade organizations like the World Bank, but by individuals: desktop freelancers and innovative startups all over the world (but especially in India and China) who can compete--and win--not just for low-wage manufacturing and information labor but, increasingly, for the highest-end research and design work as well. (He doesn't forget the "mutant supply chains" like Al-Qaeda that let the small act big in more destructive ways.)

Friedman has embraced this flat world in his own work, continuing to report on his story after his book's release and releasing an unprecedented hardcover update of the book a year later with 100 pages of revised and expanded material. What's changed in a year? Some of the sections that opened eyes in the first edition--on China and India, for example, and the global supply chain--are largely unaltered. Instead, Friedman has more to say about what he now calls "uploading," the direct-from-the-bottom creation of culture, knowledge, and innovation through blogging, podcasts, and open-source software. And in response to the pleas of many of his readers about how to survive the new flat world, he makes specific recommendations about the technical and creative training he thinks will be required to compete in the "New Middle" class. As before, Friedman tells his story with the catchy slogans and globe-hopping anecdotes that readers of his earlier books and his New York Times columns know well, and he holds to a stern sort of optimism. He wants to tell you how exciting this new world is, but he also wants you to know you're going to be trampled if you don't keep up with it. A year later, one can sense his rising impatience that our popular culture, and our political leaders, are not helping us keep pace. --Tom Nissley

Where Were You When the World Went Flat?

Thomas L. Friedman's reporter's curiosity and his ability to recognize the patterns behind the most complex global developments have made him one of the most entertaining and authoritative sources for information about the wider world we live in, both as the foreign affairs columnist for the New York Times and as the author of landmark books like From Beirut to Jerusalem and The Lexus and the Olive Tree. They also make him an endlessly fascinating conversation partner, and we've now had the chance to talk to him about The World Is Flat twice. Read our original interview with him following the publication of the first edition of The World Is Flat to learn why there's almost no one from Washington, D.C., listed in the index of a book about the global economy, and what his one-plank platform for president would be. (Hint: his bumper stickers would say, "Can You Hear Me Now?")

And now you can listen to our second interview, in which he talks about the updates he's made in "The World Is Flat 2.0," including his response to parents who said to him, "Great, Mr. Friedman, I'm glad you told us the world is flat. Now what do I tell my kids?"

The Essential Tom Friedman
From Beirut to Jerusalem
The Lexus and the Olive Tree
Longitudes and Attitudes More on Globalization and Development


China, Inc. by Ted Fishman
Three Billion New Capitalists by Clyde Prestowitz
The End of Poverty by Jeffrey Sachs
Globalization and Its Discontents by Joseph Stiglitz
The Travels of a T-Shirt in the Global Economy by Pietra Rivoli
The Mystery of Capital by Hernando de Soto

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:55:38 -0400)

(see all 7 descriptions)

Offers a concise history of globalization, discussing a wide range of topics, from the September 11 terrorist attacks to the growth of the middle class in both China and India.

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