Customer Reviews for

The Lexus and the Olive Tree: Understanding Globalization (Updated and Expanded Edition)

Average Rating 3.5
( 45 )
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(14)

4 Star

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Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 46 Customer Reviews
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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 15, 2012

    Everything You Need in Your Global Arsenal

    The most thought-provoking reading that I have encountered in my life. The historical background he provides lays the foundation of our global system today. Every economy, every political system, every individual is involved in this interconnectedness of money, information, technology, and corruption. Everybody and nobody is safe. Nobody can escape the system. Friedman's perfect use of metaphors and his many global experiences gives much clarity and understanding in a world riddled with complexities and the unknown. Everyone must read, whether you are interested in economics or not, because the decisions of one country will somehow affect everyone else and we must know how to avoid the harm that some will cause as best as possible. You will not regret reading such a masterpiece.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 13, 2009

    Theories Intact, Examples Outdated

    This book to awhile to read due to the fact that I had the large print edition so looking at it was daunting but it was worth it in the end. I enjoyed the various examples that were provided to explain The Golden Straitjacket, the Electronic Hers, Microchip Immune Deficiency and all the other terminology that he created. While the examples were interesting, they had less of an impact than they would've had a decade ago when the book was published. Even with a decade since its publication, the theories behind the book are sound and can still be seen today.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 17, 2011

    Test

    Test

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  • Posted May 7, 2010

    The Lexus and the Olive Tree

    Friedman's analysis of cultural trends and events enlightens readers and explores how we can hone globalization to better mankind. He's unique terminology and concepts set him apart from the rest. A piece of intellectual bliss that captivates readers.

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  • Posted January 9, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Makes the world a whole lot easier to grasp.

    With simple terms and a lot of economic terminology, Mr. Friedman made a connection between the day to day decisions and the global growth and decline of nations. When I took a serious look over my budget, at the circumstances that provoked and hindered my purchases, and at the development of my understanding in connection to these purchases, I saw how this book not only makes sense, but is a source for investment success. I highly recommend this book to anyone looking for a good read along with a major self reflection. Five stars.

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  • Posted November 4, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    An excellent introduction to Friedman's work.

    I felt it was my duty as an econ nerd and (newly!) certified economics teacher to see what Thomas Friedman is all about. From his New York Times column to the Sunday morning political talk shows, to documentaries, Friedman was everywhere I turned, and I knew nothing about him.<BR/><BR/>Friedman, it turns out, is both a brilliant scholar of the globalization wave that is quickly sweeping across the globe; he is also the system's main cheerleader. He describes the new world order all the way from a birds-eye view of the planet down to two customers interacting on the street. Impressive writing, and highly recommended as a primer on the topic. He's got the chops to back up all the buzz.<BR/><BR/>That being said, I gave The Lexus and the Olive Tree four stars for a reason. This book was originally written in the late nineties, with the "newly updated and expanded edition" I own coming out around the end of 2000. The "fast world" Friedman talks about so often in his book has ironically turned against him by prematurely aging his book. While the underlying theories are still sound, it's lost it's edge a little bit. Friedman believed that by now we'd all be surfing the internet...on our pagers. He also brags about his PC equipped with the latest technology: A Pentium II processor (max speed: 0.45 GHz) and the latest operating system: Windows 98. Whoa. Some of Friedman's guesses sound remarkably familiar. Phones we can send messages on make me think of text messages and reading e-mail on BlackBerries.<BR/><BR/>This book may be getting a little rusty, but it's still a fascinating, education, mind-blowing ride through the world as it was, the world as it is today, and the world as it might be tomorrow. Final verdict: worth the $15

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 2, 2008

    Required to make globalization sustainable

    The Lexus and the Olive Tree by Thomas Friedman presents the case that globalization is inevitable, and we should accept it. His style is to utilize examples from his many trips abroad for The New York Times and how each one proves a point. For example, he discusses how in the smallest, most distant Chinese village during an election for local leadership, the candidates promised to bring fiber-optic cable to the community so that everyone can have telephone. In the next village, the candidate wanted telephones so that their window factory could sell abroad and earn more money. He sees, in this story that the desire of individuals to raise their standard of living, to get their ¿Lexus,¿ they will reach beyond their local community, their history, their ¿olive tree¿ and that globalization is one of the most effective and efficient ways to improve their lives. The issue for each country or society is how to control globalization so that it is a force for good and increases the standard of living for all. Friedman believes that globalization without governmental restraints to protect people and local culture will not be sustainable. One alternative way to fight globalization is ¿step off,¿ to somehow create walls so that the society is not linked to the rest of world. This he believes leads to a lower standard of living and the citizens will revolt or leave. In general, he believes government can be a force for good. In many ways, more than government, he argues that globalization and a market based economy together are a force for good. His most famous example is his Golden Arches Theory of Conflict Prevention, which is that any country that has a McDonalds franchise never started a war against another country with a McDonalds. The reason he claims is that once a country reaches a socio-economic level to support a McDonalds it will not risk that new standard of living in a costly war. Instead the citizens will force the government to consider other means of conflict resolution. The McDonalds corporate staff researched recent wars and proved his point. The recent war in the Balkans does not meet his strict standard as the war in the end was between the Serbs and NATO, which is not a country. While one may quibble with that, the larger point that higher standards of living encourage citizens to develop economic solutions to problems rather than violent ones, such as war, seems to be true. Friedman argues at the end of the book that for globalization to be sustainable it must be able to put a human face on the powerful, brutal forces of the marketplace. He believes there are three areas to focus on ¿ encouraging entrepreneurship because it is the driver of a growing economy, retraining and educating workers for ever more sophisticated jobs as that will help workers deal with reality, and maintaining some parts of the safety net, although which parts he does not say.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 8, 2007

    Enough with your personal interjections Mr. Friedman

    I just started this book and am already experiencing buyer's remorse - which is partly my fault and, I like to think, partly the faulty result Thomas Friedman's 'I' problem. I have no doubt Mr. Friedman is an intelligent, experianced person who may have respectible credentials to write on such a topic. The thing that bothers me the most are his stories and his references to God and Bible verses. It totally made me question all of his insights and opinions because to me, people of faith are that and only that, they are not subjective because they believe, often word-for-word in what may possibly be the most elaborate parable ever written which often contradicts reality. Some may think this is a reviewer making a mountain out of a molehill but think about Christian influence in America and how it effects the rest of the world. It wouldn't be the first time someone's painted rosey pictures over reality. (e.g. whenever President Bush opens his mouth)

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 10, 2006

    This book is needlessly long and boring

    If you read any part of this book, read the last chapter. You can get the jist, and its the only part of the book that is really interesting. Otherwise I would just skip this one.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 14, 2006

    Labourously long and dull but somewhat insightful.

    Most of the observations would seem to be valid, at least from a privileged vantage point. A better source of this type information is 'Success in a Global Economy'. Written by a talented author that shares his experiences of living and working all over the world.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 24, 2006

    Good general overview of globalization..

    As stated in some of the other reviews, the basis for much of this book is the author's travels with respect to his economic reporting. I prefer this to a university professor who probably has never left campus. The downside of this is you can't hit every subject and its seemingly limitless cause and effects like Nafta. Parts of this book are a bit dated (he holds up Enron and Compaq as model companies)but the basis for the book is still very sound and easy to read. Some may wish for a more technical economics books, one that no one would read or understand. I wish the book came off more critical of the subject matter, but the author's enthusiasm helps keep you reading.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 24, 2005

    overrated

    While Mr Friedman has an extensive resume of journalist experience in various cultures around the globe,I believe that he leaves out important details in many of the economic situations he discusses. When he mentions the NAFTA agreement, he states that there is a consensus of apporval of the agreement, yet he fails to mention the agrement and its connection to the Mexican financial crisis of 1995, which he blames solely on bad investing by Mexican Government officials. He rarely, if ever mentions United States' actions in anything but a rosy light, and he gives the same halo effect to the World Bank and the IMF. I like his idea of the 'Electronic Herd', which I think is the most on point observation in his writing.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 25, 2005

    Globalisation for Dummies

    Friedman's narration makes a serious topic very readable and easy to understand for everybody. Anecdotes from all across the globe to highlight his points are a truly wonderful. A must reading for every global manager / aspiring manager. However, his conclusions sometimes tend to be over-simplified. The book could also be titled America's Gift to Mankind - The Free Market System.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 29, 2004

    Concur with Old man's memoirs and ramblings

    Laced with numerous anecdotes and boring, irrelevant stories, the author takes 475 pages to make his point! Laborious reading and tough to continue reading. If you are interested in knowing how globalization and capitalism impact, read another book...

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 18, 2004

    Good Book but with a lot of unproven conclusions

    This book has a lot of good points but Friedman is too quick to come to a conclusion. He uses misleading facts to make his statements. For example, in one part he writes that his dad was making $13,000 a year when Friedman was growing up and was still able to afford basketball game tickets. However, he does not mention that $13,000 from the mid 1960's is worth over $80,000 in today's value. In other part, he mentions that no country with a mc donald has ever fought a war. Can this be a coincidence? Given the fact that mcdonald are mostly in rich countries, who are unlikely to fight a war anyway. Good book but do not take Friedaman conclusions at face value.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 7, 2004

    Globalization truly defined from an experienced perspective

    The book was recommended to me by my roomate this summer who told me that it is the one book that educated him the most in his undergraduate college career. I would almost have to agree with him that The Lexus & the Olive Tree is one of the most intellectual captivating books on our world today as I know it. First the book values describing various economies and countries with examples from prior history and current times. Then Friedman defines our technological revolution, the so called 'Electronic Herd'. He describes in great detail technology and the effects it has played and currently playing on society. Finally he finishes with the role of the U.S. as a hegemon and our responsibilities. He concludes with the role of God and possible freedoms such as cyberspace that could become our foe if we don't proceed with the best behaviors. I enjoyed the book vastly for the reason of learning more about different countries and globalization. The one characteristic that I thought was over elaborated upon, I thought, was his details on the history of technology and the role it plays. Obviously he feels it is very important and I definately wouldn't disagree, but sometimes I was thinking to myself enough already! Lets move on to something else. For all of these reasons I would recommend the book to anyone and give it four out of five stars.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 28, 2003

    A classic on globalization

    This book has been around for quite a while. It is regarded by many of my friends as their bible of globalization. It describes the processes and events that have shaped the current world economic and social order. Most interesting were the discussions of financial, technological and political events of the last ten years and their implications in setting a new World Order to replace the Cold War Order. The different influences, backlashes, and arguments for, and against, the process of globalization were explored in various levels of detail. This book really was a perfect way to end my world history survey, by bringing the various stories together in a modern examination. This is a very famous book for a good reason. The author is so well traveled and has seen so much, that his knowledge and detail is at times overwhelming and a bit painstaking. His tendency to offer pop-culture examples of different social trends was very enjoyable, with many references to commercials and advertisements as being symbolic of more general social realities. I felt the book overall story is so well told, and the flow so consistent, that I enjoyed picking this book up from start to finish. This book was fascinating to see how the rest of society is coming to appreciate the diversity of the world and the wide array of problems facing us all. The main failure of the book was that it offered no coherent framework for bringing it all together, which I believe exists. The author seemed confused and bewildered by the events of our generation, and he even goes as far to critique others who have tried to make historical frameworks. But in the end, he is a journalist, and he does not seem willing to take that step into philosopher and historian that would be necessary for such a leap. Therefore I could not bring myself to regard this book as more than a long article on the state of affairs of the world, with no conclusion or solution at the end. But I felt it was a very enjoyable, informative, and enlightening book at any rate, and I highly recommend it.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 19, 2002

    Truly a classic on modern times

    Being a reporter, Freidman's style of writing is a lot more refreshing than those by 'frequent' authors with their numerous sequels. The analogies are well brought out and can easily capture the imagination/interest of readers from every walk of life and in any part of the world. I highly recommend it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 3, 2002

    Good political analysis -- weak theory

    Very good understanding and presentation of the political dynamics underlying globalization. For a better theoreical understanding and its implications for policy I would recommend "Multinational corporations in political environments" as a supplement.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 9, 2002

    A must read

    This book provides a look at globalization and the world as it stands today. Not being a historian, this book does not delve very much into the history and development of globalization. So, if that is what you are looking for look elsewhere. Here is the history contained in the book in a nutshell: 1. The current 'Post-Cold War System' (being defined for what it isn't, not what it is) has been replaced by 'Globalization II'. Globalization I was interupted in 1914 by WWI and did not resume until the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989. 2. The current stage of globalization is largely the resut of the telecommunications revolution of the 1980s. Once again, this is not a history book. It is written much more in the Op/Ed style (befitting of a journalist) and is largely based on Friedman's experiences and insights as a journalist. He has a few original (to my knowledge) theories that I feel will stick around (The Golden Strait Jacket, Golden Arches Theory, etc.) Overall a very insightful book and highly recommended for ease of reading. It didn't quite change my view of the world, but brought it more into focus.

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