Customer Reviews for

That Used to Be Us: How America Fell Behind in the World It Invented and How We Can Come Back

Average Rating 4
( 65 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(25)

4 Star

(16)

3 Star

(17)

2 Star

(5)

1 Star

(2)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

Most Helpful Favorable Review

8 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

Thought Provoking, Intelligent Read

The hardest part of reading this book was setting aside preconceived notions in order to fairly analyze what Friedman and Mandelbaum clearly lay out. The authors stick fairly close to centrist ideas though some political leanings come through in their choice of example...
The hardest part of reading this book was setting aside preconceived notions in order to fairly analyze what Friedman and Mandelbaum clearly lay out. The authors stick fairly close to centrist ideas though some political leanings come through in their choice of examples and descriptions. While the presentation of problems and solutions are the opinions of the authors, they come across in an honest, credible manner. Whether you agree or disagree with the content, there is no doubt this book is thought provoking and intellectually challenging especially if you are worried about the future of the US.

posted by Praetor on November 15, 2011

Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review

Most Helpful Critical Review

11 out of 30 people found this review helpful.

Boycott Tom Friedman!

Tom Friedman was one of the great proponents of globalization and "making the world smaller." Now that globalization and hyper-capitalism has led to the collapse of the West, Mr. Friedman wants to feed us a load of crap about how we can once again recapture the busines...
Tom Friedman was one of the great proponents of globalization and "making the world smaller." Now that globalization and hyper-capitalism has led to the collapse of the West, Mr. Friedman wants to feed us a load of crap about how we can once again recapture the business, industry and virtues that we sold cheaply for our mass consumption service economy. Mr. Friedman can join the Republicans and Democrats and bite me.

posted by HarryVane on December 12, 2011

Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
Sort by: Showing all of 17 review with 3 star rating   See All Ratings
Page 1 of 1
  • Posted March 4, 2012

    Comments about Friedman & Mandelbaum’

    Comments about Friedman & Mandelbaum’s book titled:
    “That used to be us”

    Much of the book describes the severe problems of our economy, our politics, industry and educational system. At the same time, much space is devoted to well known USA accomplishments in the past, and rightfully so. Space is also devoted to how often foreign people do a much better job today than Americans in areas such as education and economic growth, not to forget financial management. All true.

    The authors’ dearest wishes are for America to learn from their observations and in particular accept the fact that in their view of the modern world it would be essential for the USA to make the Government, much more of a real partner in business to become broadly competitive again. Clearly, that last part might cause very serious problems with those who believe that as little government as possible is preferable. Government should be supportive of a free market economy but not a competitor and player. Since Government assets and power greatly exceeds the business community’s resources it would not take long for us to end up like any other socialist Republic in the world. That’s not how we got to be who we are. Many people today, unfortunately, are not aware of it.

    Furthermore and unfortunately, the authors appear to be unqualified in matters of general physics and particularly in their attempt to make green energy and other hair-brained energy schemes basic elements of their recommendations to achieve a more promising future. In reality, it puts some of their energy related recommendations off the table. Plentiful and eventually cheap energy, from fossil fuels to nuclear and hydro and geothermal will take care of our future for at least the next 100 years. The lesson here is to let the energy industry keep us in a surplus energy condition and not allow the Government to waste billions of tax payer’s money on ill conceived green energy plots.
    As a graduate engineer I appreciate that neither carbon dioxide nor ocean acidification is likely to cause us problems for a very long time, if ever.

    The Chapter on education is the most challenging in my view and describes some of the currently active and innovative approaches to achieving serious improvements in the knowledge levels of teenagers and college students. Without achieving that, college level education is really a waste of money and time and will do nothing to make these youngsters more employable.

    What disappoints me in the book though is the lack of a common thread running through the issues that contributed to if not caused our current below-par condition as a nation of historically well-educated and clear thinking Americans. In my opinion that thread is our cultural demise during the past 60 years. Ask yourself, where is the spirit of hard work, at a job or in school? Where is the famous American habit of shaking hands on a deal without a 50 page legal document to back it up?



    Why is it that so few people really know the basics of our national history? This deplorable condition allows schools to teach that American culture is no better or worse than anyone else’s. Which is a preposterous affront to teach, of course, but indicative of our problems.

    In my view these are some of the aspects that caused our current political, educational and economic condition. The authors recognize our practical national problem and they believe, notwithstanding the contrary evidence, that we still have enough guts, skills, drive, imagination and assets to get us out of this box to a better future. I hope they are right. Frankly, I am not so sure, for the simple reason that the cultural deficiencies at the root of our problem are also the hardest and most challenging aspects of our national existence to repair.

    The book closes on a positive note but at the same time may mislead us in thinking that our challenge is just “another job” we have to perform to be back in shape again soon instead of the existential attempt it really is at recapturing our critical and unique national dynamics of exceptionalism and the world’s “least offensive policeman”.

    Frederik Engel 3/4/2012

    5 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 24, 2012

    That used to be us

    It's fareasier to dissect and analyze Humpty's fall from grace than to put him back together again. The book is a great analysis, but solutions?? Not so much.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 15, 2012

    Not Typical Friedman

    Somewhat disappointed... especially by conclusions. Constant rehashing of themes. Could have made salient points in 1/3 the pages.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 20, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted November 26, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 24, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted October 8, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted October 12, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted October 29, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted June 21, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted November 7, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 29, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted November 21, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 18, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted September 11, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 17, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted April 21, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 17 review with 3 star rating   See All Ratings
Page 1 of 1