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The World Is Flat 3.0: A Brief History of the Twenty-first Century Paperback – July 24, 2007
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“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
• 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
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Top customer reviews
Not to mention, Friedman's analysis is built around an extensive series of interviews with people in the government and private sectors. They are mostly elites. I guess you get that kind of access when you're a famous columnist for the New York Times, but me, I'm a teacher and this is probably the closest I'll ever get to hearing how things look to these people from their own particular vantage points. Fun.
On the other hand, through the last quarter or so of the book Friedman analyzes the ways in which the high tech revolution has empowered groups like al Qaeda. He's never convincing here, but one thread of reasoning is particularly discouraging. That is, how do extremists generate popular support? Friedman argues that because communication is now broad and instantaneous, it makes the job of the demogogue all the easier. He's probably right about that- look at the violence surrounding the publicity for that Youtube video insulting the Prophet. friedman then spend a lot of ink analyzing the dysfuntion of many Muslim societies, and Arab societies in particular. That generates a lot of fodder for al Qaeda et al. The problem for me is that, if there's dysfuntion on our side of the relationship with the Muslim world, you wouldn't know much about it from this book (or much of Friedman's work). For example, while he does briefly mention our unqualified support for Israel, he never cites the invasion of Iraq as a catalyst for anger. Huh? This book was written in 2005. Hard to explain that. Peaceful relations will be hard to develop as long as we are not willing to take responsibility for our own short-comings. Unfortunately, not much sign of that here.
Despite that, get the book, and do what I did. Enjoy 400 pages of great reading and then put the book down for something else.
The author offers interesting views from conversations with people at the frontline of globalization and his own experience travelling around the world. As a result, it describes well using examples and anecdotes how the shift in geopolitics and advancements in technology is creating a level playground for developed and developing countries. Considering the time it was first published, it is a thought provoking piece. There are allegations and insinuations made here and there about republicans and George W. Bush, but that is not a big issue to me though I do not necessarily agree with his views.
IMHO, the arrangement of the chapters undermines some key messages it tries to deliver. For example, the author has several valuable and important points in the last chapters ("the unflat world"), but by the time I got there I was already too fatigued to take it in.
In addition, some chapters not related to the core arguments could have been edited down or taken out (e.g. the section about distraction in an information age).
Overall I recommend reading it if you can borrow it. I would recommend reading the first four chapters then skip to chapter 15-17.
."The World Is Flat" is a book that cuts away all the gobbledegook of crafty politicians and oblique talking economists.
Friedman gives a crystal clear explanation of why China and India have commenced a meteoric rise to the top of world's economic summit.. At the same time, he lays out the guilt sheet of how the once mega economies of America and Europe have failed. The big question to be answered in the future is will America and Europe sit up and take stock before the tsunami of the Indian and Chinese economies swamp them.
Friedman's book is a great read-realistic and very unsettling for Western economies.