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Thomas L. Friedman is not so much a futurist, which he is sometimes called, as a presentist. His aim, in his new book, 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 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 tells his eye-opening story with the catchy slogans and globe-hopping anecdotes that readers of his earlier books and his New York Times columns will know well, and also with 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. His book is an excellent place to begin. --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'd happily have peppered him with questions about The World Is Flat for hours. Read our interview 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?")
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
| AUTHOR: || Thomas L. Friedman |
| CATEGORY: || Book |
| MANUFACTURER: || Farrar, Straus and Giroux |
| ISBN: || 0374292884 |
| TYPE: || Diffusion of innovations, Economic aspects, General, Globalization, History & Theory - General, History: World, Information society, International - Economics, International Economic Relations, International Relations - General, Politics / Current Events, Social Forecasting, Social Science, Social aspects, Sociology, Social Science / General |
| MEDIA: || Hardcover |
| # OF MEDIA: || 1 |
Customer Review of The World Is Flat: A Brief History of the Twenty-first Century
Good idea, bad implementation
It's a decent read, but the presentation was too loose. Felt like reading some reader's digest short story. The content was not bad, the guy definately knows what he's talking about. Sometimes I felt his style was like he was trying to explain sex to a 8 yr old kid.
no, the world is round.
I agree that offshoring is not something to completely fear, but Friedman does such an awful job proving his point that I have to give this book a resounding one. Instead, watch some AT&T or IBM commercial on their worldwide reach. You will save yourself some time to go out on a walk or gardenning. Seriously, it's a waste of time. Another user commented that "it's a good read if you were asleep in the 90s." Unfortunately Friedman was, and he is waking up and looking around and writing about it. I work in IT, I work with Chinese and Indian residents, and I'm not scared of outsourcing, but it is something we have to grapple with. I wish that a better analyst and writer would write about this. He has various factual issues, the interviews are biased, his corporate insights are not fleshed out with competitive companies (of which many I have worked for, and during those times) and he touches upon cultural issues far too lightly. Why doesn't a better writer and researcher talk about human rights and environmentalism along with the globalization? Why doesn't some of the many interesting smart men and women that Friedman interviewed get together to write something? The quotes from the head of Infosys made me long for him to write on the topic, instead of Friedman's skewed insights and interpretations.
The Perfect Course in Outsourcing, Offshoring and Globalization - Get Yourself Up to Speed!
The World Is Flat: is an insightful book with a unique and interesting theory, which tries to explain a lot of the socio-economic, cultural and political trend in the world in a simple, anecdotal manner. This books takes you on an incredible ride through the most unbelievably fascinating parts of modern history. I just couldn't put it down.
>I did have some trouble fully comprehending all of Friedman's observations until after I completed reading the quintessential outsourcing primer, "The Black Book of Outsourcing". Then I re-read Friedman's latest and greatest updated version and it was a whole new roadmap to globalization.
>I am a sucker for reference books. A good reference book invites browsing by the hour and ends up being tattered from frequent handling, littered with Post-It Notes?, underlined and hi-lighted. When I saw this one, I had to have it and its full of highlighting and post-its! Brown & Wilson are determined to make outsourcing a rousing success for the business, the economy and the individual worker. Economists argue that outsourcing is a major factor in corporate America's ability to remain profitable. Companies that announce outsourcing plans routinely see their share prices rise. CEOs of such companies get paid more. Most of us have a lot to learn on the subject. Because we lack the complete understanding of outsourcing, half of all outsourcing contracts signed during the past three years will fail to meet expectations, say the authors of THE BLACK BOOK OF OUTSOURCING. Those failures can be traced to three problems: miscommunication, governance failure and poor coordination. The book provides a step-by-step process to prevent these problems, advice that includes creating a well-aligned sourcing strategy, evaluating and selecting service providers, and methods for long-term management and governance. The Black Book of Outsourcing is chock-full of helpful charts and lists, among them what is the best governance structure and a sample outsourcing management dashboard. The detailed checklists, directories and instructions for success are great weapons for any executive or manager being pressured into outsourcing... Make a personal chart of these pages and place them on your office wall. The Black Book of Outsourcing is the practical guide to creating a foundation for sourcing success. And given the potential outsourcing failure rates cited in this book, business leaders and manager can use all the help they can get. On the whole an excellent read and a book that I read very enthusiastically. It's going to be your outsourcing reference manual for decades to come.
>Put it together with Friedman's THE WORLD IS FLAT, and you'll be the leader of the pack in your organization, or the profit driver in your business.
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