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The World is Flat: A Brief History of the…

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

by Thomas L. Friedman

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10,037151284 (3.71)109
  1. 11
    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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Showing 1-5 of 143 (next | show all)
I wish there were half stars, because this book is between really amazing and I really liked it. It is a very long book, filled with so much I forget what came before each revelation. Reading the book after the events described gave me an interesting viewpoint on the changes in the world I live in. So many changes and they are still happening. Some of the things the author hoped would happen socially and politically have not yet come to pass, but they might. They would improve the future, but I feel too much pushback from the fearful, who see these changes as diminishing their influence and power. ( )
  susanbeamon | Jul 26, 2015 |
As of page 81, Friedman has already used the phrase "more different" 10 times.

Repetitive and surprisingly boring. I'll stick to his op-ed column. ( )
  Alli.Broad | Jun 5, 2015 |
It is a good, optimistic read on a variety of fronts. Unfortunately, he got a big one wrong in citing the so-called McDonalds Theory.

In 1909, an English author named Norman Angell wrote a book titled "The Great Illusion" which he won a Noble Peace Prize in 1933. His primary argument was that the commercial and industrial interconnectedness of Europe and its peripheral nations such as the US and Canada would make war too destructive to bear and was thus a powerful deterrent against war. Many readers overshot and believed all the way until Germany invaded Belgium in 1914 that war was impossible. Even afterwards, all were convinced by Angell's arguments that war would be short and sweet. Unfortunately, that very narrow approach to social conflict which thinks everything spins around economics, was sadly mistaken and a whole generation of Europeans was wiped out, with the remainder losing faith in any of the buttresses that had made their civilizations great - God, country, family, rationality.

The McDonalds theory states the same principle. The McDonalds theory states that if 2 countries both have a McDonalds they are unlikely to war on each other as the presence of a McDonalds implies an advanced set of economic, social and legal preconditions and economic interconnectedness. By viewing increasing commercial ties as a basis for international diplomacy, Friedman shows a definite lack of awareness of world history. Reality and history both show us that while increased commercial relations may provide a braking action toward conflict, it is not a principle factor in most scenarios. One can see how India and Pakistan both having McDonalds hasn't affected their animosity. Unfortunately, both having McDonalds does not correlate to economic interdependence. China is making aggressive territorial moves, yet it is highly interconnected with all of those same neighbors. WW1 saw European civilization commit suicide over national prestige. WW2 saw Europe take the whole world down as a result of its interconnectedness. Europe's economy was so completely blasted, it took 30 years and billions in foreign aid and investment to get it back on its feet.

While I have nothing against free trade and globalization, let's not overstate its impact on the decision makers. ( )
  Hae-Yu | Apr 21, 2015 |
Often dry, excessively anecdotal, and not terribly entertaining. ( )
  wishanem | Jan 27, 2015 |
Il consiglio di leggere Friedman è stato assai proficuo: ho scoperto fatti di cui non ero a conoscenza e ho inteso come attorno a noi, esseri distratti, il mondo si sia modificato in direzioni immodificabili. La tecnologia che usiamo quotidianamente come se fosse cosa normale ha permesso - assieme a mutamenti sociali che si sono via via succeduti - a intere nazioni di prendere parte al business mondiale - e quando vediamo una fabbrica chiusa a Brescia o un negozio di giochi che vende solo prodotti cinesi comprendiamo come l'analisi di Friedman sia puntuale. Il testo, non breve, si dimostra vagamente "partigiano" e di questo bisogna tenerne conto. Friedman è un patriota e, tra gli innumerevoli aneddoti, non si dimentica di sottolinearlo. Le critiche alla amministrazione Bush ci sono, così come i consigli per risolvere la situazione - che nessuno terrà in buon conto - non mancano. Purtroppo questo testo è del 2005, ed è già vecchio. Meglio non dirlo ai professori universitari italiani, i cui testi recenti sono di qualche anno fa... ( )
  bobparr | Dec 14, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 143 (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 Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:21:29 -0400)

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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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