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

by Thomas L. Friedman

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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13,090168468 (3.68)136
When scholars write the history of the world twenty years from now, what will they say was the most crucial development at the dawn of the 21st century--the attacks of 9/11, or the convergence of technology and events that allowed India, China, and so many other countries to become part of the global supply chain for services and manufacturing, creating an explosion of wealth in the middle classes of the world's two biggest nations, and giving them a huge new stake in the success of globalization? And with this "flattening" of the globe, has the world gotten too small and too fast for human beings and their political systems to adjust in a stable manner? Friedman explains how the flattening of the world happened; what it means to countries, companies, communities, and individuals; and how governments and societies can, and must, adapt.… (more)
Recently added byPohai, steveralph, lannej, AspFamilyLibrary, tomhed, churcha, private library, ibinu, D.Owen
Legacy LibrariesRuth Bader Ginsburg
  1. 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.
  2. 11
    The Communist Manifesto by Karl Marx (Rigour)
    Rigour: Read the Communist Manifesto to truly understand globalization (whatever your personal ideology is).
  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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» See also 136 mentions

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Showing 1-5 of 157 (next | show all)
This was a good read. Definitely an eye-opener. The flattening of the world needs to be addressed in education, which always seems to be behind he times. I really believe the U.S. has an opportunity that past Global Powers had screwed up. Just imagine if British parliament had granted the colonies and India representation in Parliament and treated everyone equal. Hopefully the U.S. cn learn from others past mistakes.
Now I'm interested in his follow up book "Hot, Flat, and Crowded." ( )
  CMDoherty | Oct 3, 2023 |
a bit wordy, OK to skim when he gives multiple examples to make his point ( )
  pollycallahan | Jul 1, 2023 |
I'll start off this humble review by saying : I'm not an economist ... But neither is Friedman ...

This is my first book in "Globalization" and economy (or anything of this sort), so while some might give this 2-3 stars for "repetitiveness" or "obviousness", I chose to give it 4. Initially, I was hesitant to grant this book the 4th star, but looking back, I DID actually learn some new things from this book. Furthermore, whatever observations I had about this matter (which were obvious to me and others) have been woven and blended beautifully into one big picture. Hence the four stars.

Friedman's book is thorough (maybe even TOO thorough), yet simple to understand and grasp. His point is clear: The World is Flat (or at least, flattening) due to the cause of the 10 flatteners he outlines in the first half, as well as what he dubbed "The Triple Convergence". The phrase "The World is Flat" is a bold metaphor to describe the changes in our world a.k.a. "Globalization".

He goes on to explain, through simple anecdotes and personal experiences (as well as some stats and numbers here and there, if needed) how this affects both America and developing countries. He foresees the near future and what is needed for both individuals and companies to cope with this new era he called Globalization 3.0. Also included in the mix is what countries might need to do (Glocalization).

He finishes off with the "Dell Theory of Conflict Prevention" which is a beautiful observation regarding the roles global supply chains "might" play in preventing wars (or at least trying to do so).

Friedman is a journalist, NOT an economist. So, expect nothing difficult; just simple stories, examples, anecdotes, and metaphors any average reader might comprehend. It reads easily like a long magazine article. If you are looking for theories and proof, this is NOT your book. Despite that, many of the author's suggestions and hypotheses seem real, reasonable, on point, and somewhat convincing.

Whether you are pro-globalization or anti-globalization, I suggest giving this book a quick scan. It sure has answered a LOT of questions I had in mind about various happenings in our world. Great job done there !

The book suffers from one major problem : Redundancy. This caused the 300-400-page-book to transform into a 600-paged-beast that won't go down easily. The author could've chopped this book down by at least 150-200 pages (maybe more if you get his point and conclude your own theories). Nonetheless, even if you end up skipping quite a few pages (especially in the latter half) it's OK, as this book acts more like a reference of the 21st century a suggested "manual" for the foreseeable feature ...

Conclusion:
Easy-to-read, albeit long magazine-like book which makes sense trying to explain what's happening in our world nowadays. Recommended for tech lovers "especially". But still great to read (even partially) for others. ( )
  nonames | Jan 14, 2022 |
Very interesting, though a little dated.

Except for the pages describing how his laptop came to be, 3-5 examples rather then every single part would have sufficed, a pretty easy read.

I'd be interested in a follow-up regarding some of his theorys, the Dell Theory of Conflict Prevention for example and how it panned out, or maybe he'd like to have lunch with me sometime and answer my questions, but it would have to be your treat Tom, I'm not a best-selling author [McD's is OK] ;-)
( )
  Rockhead515 | Jan 11, 2022 |
I tried to plow through this book, but Thomas Friedman is the most brain-dead parrot of the ruling class I have ever known, so I couldn't finish it.

His view of globalization is that now, thanks to the paternalistic global order constructed by US multinational corporations, there is cultural and monetary things of worth out there in the vast unexplored jungles of savagery called "not the United States." As an ahistorical text that ignores the fact that elites have been trading from Occident to and from Orient for hundreds of years, the book ignores entirely the poor.

How wonderful it is to be ruling class in this new era, where poor people from all over the world can service the rich like Friedman. What an asshole.

Recommended for: fireplaces, doors that need stopping, houses without coasters, etc. ( )
1 vote magonistarevolt | Apr 20, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 157 (next | show all)
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."
 
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.
 

» Add other authors (14 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Friedman, Thomas L.primary authorall editionsconfirmed
Piccato, AldoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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When scholars write the history of the world twenty years from now, what will they say was the most crucial development at the dawn of the 21st century--the attacks of 9/11, or the convergence of technology and events that allowed India, China, and so many other countries to become part of the global supply chain for services and manufacturing, creating an explosion of wealth in the middle classes of the world's two biggest nations, and giving them a huge new stake in the success of globalization? And with this "flattening" of the globe, has the world gotten too small and too fast for human beings and their political systems to adjust in a stable manner? Friedman explains how the flattening of the world happened; what it means to countries, companies, communities, and individuals; and how governments and societies can, and must, adapt.

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