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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 !-- begin3pak -->
From Beirut to Jerusalem
The Lexus and the Olive Tree
Longitudes and Attitudes
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
For the ones who have a harder time getting things, this is a great book that will open their eyes.
Thomas Friedman does an excellent job providing an insightful and well documented overview of the current global economic and political landscape.
As much as I like Friedman style, the book is way too long for a couple of ideas that he has on the subject.
Even though it hurts to say it, the World is Flat is a good book, in that it describes the fact that a smart guy in India has much more of a chance at success than a smart guy in... Read morePublished 22 days ago by Fly Fisherman
This book is a must read in my opinion. Yes, it is a very large book, but it really gives you different way to look at the fully connected and e-world that we are living in today.Published 2 months ago by Robert Varga
Reading this work was wonderful for the tech junkie. Have also watched Friedman on TV. This work is a warning that if we don't step up math and science, we will fail. Read morePublished 2 months ago by PdD Girl
I could write a tome about what Friedman has said in this book as a critique but I'll let others do that. Read morePublished 2 months ago by S_Richards
The concept that the author develop is very interesting and usuful but the wasted a lot of time repeting the ideas.Published 3 months ago by Carlos Henrique Serpa da Rocha
I love reading Friedman's books. He writes in a clear and concise manner while explaining sometimes complicated subjects in a way that makes it not only easy but fun to read.Published 3 months ago by P. M. Padgett
The authour deals with a global question. Handles it well but a lot of repetition. The bottom line is education in any country, to meet its requirements. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Vivek K. Sarawgi
Good book, generated lots of discussion and food for thought. Friedman is an excellent author and his ideas are BIG.Published 5 months ago by Dave
Thomas Friedman has written a very engaging book on the impact of technology and the globalization of the workforce. Read morePublished 5 months ago by David W. Spatz