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Editorial Reviews

Review

Captivating . . . an enthralling read. To his great credit, Friedman embraces much of his flat world's complexity, and his reporting brings to vibrant life some beguiling characters and trends. . . . [The World is Flat] is also more lively, provocative, and sophisticated than the overwhelming bulk of foreign policy commentary these days. We've no real idea how the twenty-first century's history will unfold, but this terrifically stimulating book will certainly inspire readers to start thinking it all through. (Warren Bass, The Washington Post)

Nicely sums up the explosion of digital-technology advances during the past fifteen years and places the phenomenon in its global context. . . . Friedman never shrinks from the biggest problems and the thorniest issues. (Paul Magnusson, BusinessWeek)

[This book's] insight is true and deeply important. . . . The metaphor of a flat world, used by Friedman to describe the next phase of globalization, is ingenious. (Fareed Zakaria, The New York Times Book Review (front cover review))

A brilliant, instantly clarifying metaphor for the latest, arguably the most profound conceptual mega-shift to rock the world in living memory. (David Ticoll, The Globe and Mail (Toronto))

No one today chronicles global shifts in simple and practical terms quite like Friedman. He plucks insights from his travels and the published press that can leave you spinning like a top. Or rather, a pancake. (Clayton Jones, The Christian Science Monitor)

[The World is Flat] is filled with the kind of close reporting and intimate yet accessible analysis that have been hard to come by. Add in Friedman's winning first-person interjections and masterful use of strategic wonksterisms, and this book should end up on the front seats of quite a few Lexuses and SUVs of all stripes. (Publishers Weekly (starred review))

From the Back Cover

“One mark of a great book is that it makes you see things in a new way, and Mr. Friedman certainly succeeds in that goal,” the Nobel laureate Joseph E. Stiglitz wrote in The New York Times, reviewing The World Is Flat in 2005. For this updated and expanded edition, Friedman has seen his own book in a new way, bringing fresh stories and insights to help us understand the flattening of the world. New material includes:

• The reasons why the flattening of the world “will be seen in time as one of those fundamental shifts or inflection points, like Gutenberg’s invention of the printing press, the rise of the nation-state, or the Industrial Revolution”

• An explanation of “uploading” as one of the ten forces that are flattening the world, as blogging, open-source software, pooled knowledge projects like Wikipedia, and podcasting enable individuals to bring their experiences and opinions to the whole world

• A mapping of the New Middle—the places and spaces in the flat world where
middle-class jobs will be found—and portraits of the character types who will find success as New Middlers

•An account of the qualities American parents and teachers need to cultivate in young people so that they will be able to thrive in the flat world

•A call for a government-led “geo-green” strategy to preserve the environment and natural resources

•An account of the “globalization of the local”: how the flattening of the world is actually strengthening local and regional identities rather than homogenizing the world
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 660 pages
  • Publisher: Picador; 3 edition (August 7, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312425074
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312425074
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1.2 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (338 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #11,886 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Thomas L. Friedman has been awarded the Pulitzer Prize three times for his work with The New York Times, where he serves as the foreign affairs columnist. Read by everyone from small-business owners to President Obama, Hot, Flat, and Crowded was an international bestseller in hardcover. Friedman is also the author of From Beirut to Jerusalem (1989), The Lexus and the Olive Tree (1999), Longitudes and Attitudes (2002), and The World is Flat (2005). He lives in Bethesda, Maryland.

Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

89 of 99 people found the following review helpful By A Reader from Chicago on September 12, 2007
Format: Paperback
No doubt, Friedman will get you thinking.

You may end up thinking Friedman has really informed you on what this grand notion of "globalization" is all about. His book has reached millions, including leaders in business government and education, many who now feel fully informed on the subject.

But, just stop to consider his "base assumptions," the 10 so-called flatteners. Most aren't new at all and some fundamental flatteners such as containerized shipping aren't mentioned at all (see The Box: How the Shipping Container Made the World Smaller and the World Economy Bigger). (nevermind the consequences when the end of cheap eneregy flattens the global logistics routes)

So, go ahead and read this book, but when you are finished, and especially if you are awed, I'd suggest you consider reading Aronica and Ramdoo's critical analysis of Friedman's book. It just could make you "think again," even about those so-called 10 flatteners.

The World Is Flat?: A Critical Analysis of New York Times Bestseller by Thomas Friedman

Aronica and Ramdoo will also point you to the true thought leaders on globalization, and summarize their take on Friedman's book: Stiglitz (Nobel Prize in economics), Baghwati(Columbia Professor), Prestowitz (Presidential Trade Advisor), Lemer (UCLA Professor), Ghemawat (Harvard Professor), Roach (Chief Economist at Morgan Stanley), Palast (Investigative Reporter, UK)and others.

So, thank Friedman for an entertaining read, and using his status as a celebrity pundit for making us all aware of the great reorganization the world is going through. But, please don't stop there, for there is far more to the unfolding story of globalization, and all of us are being affected.
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91 of 104 people found the following review helpful By M. Rowell on October 21, 2008
Format: Paperback
I am surprised by how many reviewers described this book as "well written." I found it extremely wordy. The content to word ratio here is extremely low. The ideas in this book could have (and should have) been expressed in 150 pages or less. Instead Friedman drones on for close to 600 pages. The extreme length would have been justified if the book had gone into detail about certain topics or provided more rigorous analysis of different points of view. Instead its 600 pages of high level fluff. Does anyone really need a 600 page tome to tell them we are doing a lot of business with India? Is making a point concisely a lost art? Was Friedman paid by the word? Can I find an Indian gentleman to write me an executive summary of this leviathan?
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By KT on January 25, 2009
Format: Audio CD
While Friedman offers an interesting timeline of technological history. He is beyond redundant in his writing. I wish I had kept count of how many times he wrote, "the world is flattening" or "the playing field is being leveled." Thank you I got the point the first 37 times. Essentially, if he had condensed the book and stopped repeating himself, it would have made for a much more interesting read. Also, I find that the book was written for those who did not grow up during the 90s, as most of what he writes about is common knowledge for those in their 20s and 30s.
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67 of 78 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on April 1, 2011
Format: Paperback
I picked up this book without reading any reviews on it hoping that I would get a neutral view and take on the phenomena of globalization. Now I wish I hadn't and I really wish Thomas Friedman hadn't "expanded and updated" the book - twice.

As I wanted to read a neutral book, I will give as neutral a review as possible.

His writing is engrossing, no doubt, and he makes very solid (while very obvious) points about what, who, and how globalization came to be and continues to advance. Within the first 300 pages or so, I really didn't take away anything new except a few of his personal delightful stories to use as examples of his points.

And then . . . came in the non-neutrality. He began making statements about Bush and other things that just leave a bad taste your mouth. Within the rest of the context of the book it seemed like he really didn't have to go into political scuttlebut. Typically it seems journalists have more credibility when they do not do as he did. Also, he points out some examples of (obvious) problems, but lots of his suggested solutions seem unrealistic; which is probably why I have still yet to see any of them come to be used. Some suggestions and prose were good, but the bad outweighed them.

Many times I found myself reading the same points over and over again in the same section. It seemed to me that he would grind many of them in so much and really drag on many of the chapters or sections that did not need to be as long to get the point across. An example of this (and I don't have the book right in front of me to point out the page numbers) is when he even uses the same word over 12 times in 2 1/2 pages to describe something. Not very flattering and it made the sentence structure hard to follow through.
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Ken on February 23, 2011
Format: Paperback
I have lost count of how many times professors at my university recommended I read this book. Everyone I had spoken to who'd read it marveled at how enlightening it was.
I have to disagree. Although there were interesting concepts illuminated in this book, whenever Friedman would explore a concept I was familiar with, he would do so with incredible oversimplification and sometimes even gross inaccuracy. Others have described this book as well-written. While Friedman seems to be a competent writer, he also seems to use derivatives of the word "flat" as many times as he can find excuse for. He may have been trying to coin a new catch phrase of some sort but ultimately it was very frustrating that you cannot read four lines with the word, "flat", "flatten", "flattener" (not a real word?), or "flattening".
Skim this book to find interesting topics, read other books for actual information.
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