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The World Is Flat: A Brief History of the Twenty-first Century Audio CD – Audiobook, CD, Unabridged
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From Publishers Weekly
With the rise of technologies like high-speed Internet and the knocking down of barriers both literal (the Berlin Wall) and figurative (the opening of China's economy to free trade) portions of this audiobook could have been outsourced to recording studios all across the globe. As Friedman notes in this lengthy but informative audio, new technologies, political paradigm shifts and, more importantly, innovative individuals at the helms of startups have leveled the playing field in the global economy. That this audio wasn't outsourced is fortunate for listeners, as Wyman is a veteran nonfiction narrator with an extensive background in voicing animation. Upon first listen, one cannot help thinking of the exuberant heroes of Saturday morning cartoons; once listeners grow accustomed to Wyman's youthful tenor, his professionalism and talent shine through. Though Wyman's voice doesn't have the professorial gravitas to match a journalistic work such as this, listeners should have no reservations about choosing this engrossing audio for long-distance travel or simply casual listening.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
“Friedman has a deep, clear voice, which perfectly complements his highly accessible prose.”—AudioFile
“Eminently worth reading...It is Friedman’s ability to see a few big truths steadily and whole that makes him the most important columnist in America today.” —Walter Russell Mead, The New York Times
Top customer reviews
make it "flatter". By reading the book, one may learn valuable things about outsourcing, in-sourcing, the advantages and disadvantages of various world regions and
the problems that the U.S. faces. Mr. Friedman discusses the tremendous conflict between destructive forces that "unflatten" the world and positive forces that
are aiding the world. I feel that Mr. Friedman brings in too many of his personal points of view on politics and how he feels about foreign policy. His discussions of America's involvement in Afghanistan and Iraq, the implementing of a federal health insurance policy and President Bush's leadership are biased. However, there is no denying that he understands many of the forces pushing globalization of world economies as pioneered by companies like Amazon.com, UPS, Hewlett-Packard, Dell, etc.
I have some interest in reading some of Mr. Friedman's more recent book HOT, FLAT AND CROWDED, but I feel that there may be an overly environmentalist theme to it.
THE WORLD IS FLAT is mostly objective, and it reads more like a documentary with anecdotes than a political or philosophical writing. The writing style is clear, engaging and brisk. When there is discussion of economic and social issues, the book is very fascinating. When there is discussion of political issues or foreign affairs, however, I think Mr. Friedman gets too controversial.
Angelo J. Salvo
Ormond Beach, Florida
This book is a powerful, detailed explanation about the forces that have flattened the world and the skills that we need to acquire if we are going to survive in the resulting competitive environment. Flatteners include the fall of the Berlin wall and the resulting openness between East and West; the arrival of web browsers to allow easy access to the internet; workflow software that allows for the creation of "all-world supply chains"; uploading as a way individuals can contribute to the larger community (e.g. open source, YouTube); outsourcing and the way it promoted international collaboration; offshoring; supply-chaining; insourcing--his term for integrating other companies into your own infrastructure; search tools that bring information to our fingertips and numerous technological multipliers that have heightened all these effects through advances in communication, digitization, videoconferencing etc.
Freidman gives countless detailed illustrations that make his points. We learn how Wal-Mart and UPS, Dell and Netscape do business. He describes how India and Ireland (yes- Ireland) have lept ahead in high tech jobs by emphasizing superior educational opportunities. He describes how 60% of all bachelor's degrees earned in China are in Science and Engineering, compared to 31% in the U.S. He describes the role culture, politics and religion have had particularly since 9/11.
The most helpful part of the book describes the skills we will need to survive. There will always be a demand for people who are: Collaborators, synthesizers, explainers, leveragers, adapters, passionate personalizers and localizers. These high-end skills that emphasize creative thinking, problem visualization and solution can't be outsourced, digitized or automated out of existence.
Thanks to his reputation, Friedman has had access to heads of state, CEOs, top scientists and politicians across the world. The result is a solid analysis that is eye-opening. "You can flourish in this flat world, but it does take the right imagination and the right motivation."
I did not see interviews or data which was returned from outsourcing ventures that were not successful, of which there are many. Many American companies have lost money in china. Thousands of missions have been given to foreign consulting firms that have not been completed. The benefits and risks of globalization and the emerging economy have to be balanced carefully. My opion was that the author is impressed by the rescources of other countries and a bit of a sceptic on Americas position and future in the world.
Overall a good book, I'd recommend it, and I liked the way that he packaged the facts in the front part of the book.