Hot, Flat, and Crowded 2.0: Why We Need a Green Revolution--and How It Can Renew America

Hot, Flat, and Crowded 2.0: Why We Need a Green Revolution--and How It Can Renew America

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by Thomas L. Friedman
     
 

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This Independence Day edition of Hot, Flat, and Crowded 2.0 includes an an exclusive preview of That Used to Be Us: How America Fell Behind in the World It Invented and How We Can Come Back, by Thomas L. Friedman and Michael Mandelbaum, on sale September 5th, 2011.

A New York Times Book Review Notable Book of the Year

Overview

This Independence Day edition of Hot, Flat, and Crowded 2.0 includes an an exclusive preview of That Used to Be Us: How America Fell Behind in the World It Invented and How We Can Come Back, by Thomas L. Friedman and Michael Mandelbaum, on sale September 5th, 2011.

A New York Times Book Review Notable Book of the Year
A Washington Post Best Book of the Year
A Businessweek Best Business Book of the Year
A Chicago Tribune Best Book of the Year

In this brilliant, essential book, Pulitzer Prize-winning author Thomas L. Friedman speaks to America's urgent need for national renewal and explains how a green revolution can bring about both a sustainable environment and a sustainable America.

Friedman explains how global warming, rapidly growing populations, and the expansion of the world's middle class through globalization have produced a dangerously unstable planet--one that is "hot, flat, and crowded." In this Release 2.0 edition, he also shows how the very habits that led us to ravage the natural world led to the meltdown of the financial markets and the Great Recession. The challenge of a sustainable way of life presents the United States with an opportunity not only to rebuild its economy, but to lead the world in radically innovating toward cleaner energy. And it could inspire Americans to something we haven't seen in a long time--nation-building in America--by summoning the intelligence, creativity, and concern for the common good that are our greatest national resources.



Hot, Flat, and Crowded is classic Thomas L. Friedman: fearless, incisive, forward-looking, and rich in surprising common sense about the challenge--and the promise--of the future.

Editorial Reviews

A wag once quipped that Thomas Friedman's bountiful bestseller The World Is Flat calmed the storms about globalization. In his latest effort, the influential New York Times Op-Ed columnist presses his case that Green is the new Red, White, and Blue. Friedman argues that environmentalism isn't just a survival imperative; it's the best way to make America richer, more productive, and, not least, more secure. Spanning the globe, he presents case study after case study that shows that Green-oriented practices and technologies are the key to revitalizing our country and stabilizing an increasingly energy-starved world.
David G. Victor
The litany of dangers has been told many times before, but Mr. Friedman's voice is compelling and will be widely heard…Heads will be nodding across airport lounges, as readers absorb Mr. Friedman's common sense about how America and the world are dangerously addicted to cheap fossil fuels while we recklessly use the atmosphere as a dumping ground for carbon dioxide.
—The New York Times
Joseph S. Nye Jr.
Like it or not, we need Tom Friedman. The peripatetic columnist has made himself a major interpreter of the confusing world we inhabit. He travels to the farthest reaches, interviews everyone from peasants to chief executives and expresses big ideas in clear and memorable prose. While pettifogging academics (a select few of whom he favors) complain that his catchy phrases and anecdotes sometimes obscure deeper analysis, by and large Friedman gets the big issues right.
—The Washington Post
Publishers Weekly
Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times columnist Friedman (The World Is Flat) is still an unrepentant guru of globalism, despite the looming economic crisis attributable, in Friendman's view, to the U.S. having become a "subprime nation that thinks it can just borrow its way to prosperity." Friedman covers familiar territory (the need for alternate energy, conservation measures, recycling, energy efficiency, etc.) as a build-up to his main thesis: the U.S. market is the "most effective and prolific system for transformational innovation.... There is only one thing bigger than Mother Nature and that is Father Profit." While he remains ostensibly a proponent of the free market, he does not flinch from using the government to create conditions favorable to investment, such as setting a "floor price for crude oil or gasoline," and imposing a new gasoline tax ($5-$10 per gallon) in order to make investment in green technologies attractive to venture capitalists: "America needs an energy technology bubble just like the information technology bubble." To make such draconian measures palatable, Friedman poses a national competition to "outgreen" China, modeled on Kennedy's proposal to beat the Soviets to the moon, a race that required a country-wide mobilization comparable to the WWII war effort. Recognizing the looming threat of "petrodicatorship" and U.S. dependence on imported oil, this warning salvo presents a stirring and far-darker vision than Friedman's earlier books.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Library Journal

The audio edition of three-time Pulitzer® Prize winner/New York Times columnist Friedman's The World Is Flat, which won an Audie® Award in 2006, remains Macmillan Audio's top-selling title of all time. Audie® Award-winning actor/narrator Oliver Wyman, who skillfully voiced that title, does the same with this one, in which Friedman addresses the triple threat of global warming, overconsumption, and population explosion not just to the environment but to political stability and the economy. The currency and gravity of this topic cannot be overstated; regardless of their political leanings, readers will sit up and listen. Highly recommended for all library collections; expect heavy demand. [Audio clip available through us.macmillan.com.-Ed.]
—Risa Getman

Kirkus Reviews
The world is flat, New York Times columnist Friedman told us in his bestselling 2005 book of that name. Now things are getting worse, and the clock is ticking. Americans have squandered most of the goodwill extended since 9/11, writes Friedman, and in the years of the Bush administration no thought has been given to what 9/12 is supposed to look like. The climate is changing, but the administration has spent most of its tenure denying it and insisting on a particularist view that we deserve to be profligate because we're Americans. Our political blindness and ignorance vis-a-vis other nations now butts up against the world's instability and, Friedman continues, "the convergence of hot, flat, and crowded is tightening energy supplies, intensifying the extinction of plants and animals, deepening energy poverty, strengthening petrodictatorship, and accelerating climate change." The way out of those tangles, he says, is for America to go green in any way possible-and to do it right away, investing in every kind of alternative and renewable energy form imaginable, setting the best of examples for the rest of the world and exporting green technologies everywhere, thus winning back allies and influencing people. Readers who have been paying attention to Fareed Zakaria, Jared Diamond or similar writers know most of this, but still the word has been slow getting out. Many others have written about these subjects, but few enjoy Friedman's audience, so it's good that he's turning to such matters, if a touch belatedly. His case studies-from New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg's insistence on a fleet of hybrid taxis on the street to British firm Marks & Spencer's insistence that going green is PlanA and that "there is no Plan B" -are well-selected, detailed and, in the end, quite inspiring. That inspiration is needed, along with a lot of hard work. A timely, rewarding book. Agent: Esther Newberg/ICM

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781429963688
Publisher:
Picador
Publication date:
11/24/2009
Sold by:
Macmillan
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
528
Sales rank:
176,498
File size:
1 MB

Read an Excerpt

Hot, Flat, and Crowded

Why We Need a Green Revolutionâ"and How It Can Renew America


By Thomas L. Friedman

Picador

Copyright © 2009 Thomas L. Friedman
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-4299-6368-8



CHAPTER 1

Why Citibank, Iceland's Banks, and the Ice Banks of Antarctica All Melted Down at the Same Time


On June 15, 2005, as the global economy was booming, the satirical newspaper The Onion carried the following story about Chinese workers and all the stuff they make for Americans. Though a fake story, like many in The Onion it actually spoke some essential truths:

FENGHUA, CHINA — Chen Hsien, an employee of Fenghua Ningbo Plastic Works Ltd., a plastics factory that manufactures lightweight household items for Western markets, expressed his disbelief Monday over the "sheer amount of [crap] Americans will buy."

"Often, when we're assigned a new order for, say, 'salad shooters,' I will say to myself, 'There's no way that anyone will ever buy these,'" Chen said during his lunch break in an open-air courtyard. "One month later, we will receive an order for the same product, but three times the quantity. How can anyone have a need for such useless [crap]?"

Chen, 23, who has worked as an injection-mold operator at the factory since it opened in 1996, said he frequently asks himself these questions during his workweek, which exceeds 60 hours and earns him the equivalent of $21.

"I hear that Americans can buy anything they want, and I believe it, judging from the things I've made for them," Chen said. "And I also hear that, when they no longer want an item, they simply throw it away. So wasteful and contemptible."

Among the items that Chen has helped create are plastic-bag dispensers, microwave omelet cookers, glow-in-the-dark page magnifiers, Christmas-themed file baskets, animal-shaped contact-lens cases, and adhesive-backed wall hooks.

"Sometimes, an item the factory produces resembles nothing I've ever seen," Chen said. "One time, we made something that looked like a ladle, but it had holes in its cup and a handle that bent down 90 degrees. The foreman told us that it was a soda-can holder for an automobile. If you are lucky enough to own a car, sit back and enjoy the journey. Save the soda beverage for later."

Chen added: "A cup holder is not a necessary thing to own."

Chen expressed similar confusion over the tens of thousands of pineapple corers, plastic eyeshades, toothpick dispensers, and dog pull-toys that he has helped manufacture.

"Why the demand for so many kitchen gadgets?" Chen said. "I can understand having a good wok, a rice cooker, a tea kettle, a hot plate, some utensils, good china, a teapot with a strainer, and maybe a thermos. But all these extra things — where do the Americans put them? How many times will you use a taco-shell holder? ..." Chen added that many of the items break after only a few uses.

"None are built to last very long," Chen said. "That is probably so the Americans can return to buy more ..."


The Onion's satire captured in caricature form the most important engine pulling up living standards across the planet for the last three decades — the intimate relationship between American consumers and Chinese savers and producers. At its core, the China-America growth engine worked like this: We in America built more and more stores, to sell more and more stuff, made in more and more Chinese factories, powered by more and more coal, and all those sales produced more dollars, which China used to buy more and more U.S. Treasury Bills, which allowed the Federal Reserve to extend more and more easy credit to more and more banks, consumers, and businesses so that more and more Americans could purchase more and more homes, and all those sales drove home prices higher and higher, which made more and more Americans feel like they had more and more money to buy more and more stuff made in more and more Chinese factories powered by more and more coal, which earned China more and more dollars to buy more and more T-bills to be recirculated back to America to create more and more credit so more and more people could build more and more stores and buy more and more homes ...

This relationship, so critical in inflating the post–Cold War credit bubble, was so intimate that when Americans suddenly stopped buying and building in the fall of 2008, thousands of Chinese factories went dark and whole Chinese villages found themselves unemployed. Consider the Chinese artist colony Dafen, north of Hong Kong. Dafen's roughly nine thousand art academy graduates have made the colony the world's center for mass-produced artwork and knockoffs of masterpieces — the oil paintings that hang in motel rooms and starter homes across America. Some 60 percent of the world's cheap oil paintings are produced within Dafen's four square kilometers. "A reasonably skillful copy of Van Gogh's 'Sunflowers' sells for $51," Spiegel Online reported (August 23, 2006). "Buy 100 and the price goes down to $33 ...The 100 paintings, guaranteed to have been produced by art academy graduates, ship within three weeks." Not surprisingly, Dafen was devastated by the bursting of the U.S. credit bubble. "American property owners and hotels were usually the biggest consumers of Dafen's works," Zhou Xiaohong, deputy head of the Art Industry Association of Dafen, told Hong Kong's Sunday Morning Post (December 14, 2008). "The more houses built in the United States, the more walls that needed our paintings." And we in America sure did create a lot of new walls for a lot of Chinese watercolors. Overconsuming, overbuilding, overborrowing, and overlending all became the new normal during our post–Cold War credit bubble.

One of my favorite examples comes from my own hometown of Minneapolis. I was visiting there in the spring of 2009 and talking about the problem of runaway consumption with my childhood friend Ken Greer when he said to me, "There is something I have to show you." We drove out to a small strip mall off Shady Oak Road and the Crosstown Highway. "OK, look at this," Ken said as we turned in to the entrance. This "something" was hard to miss. On both sides of the entrance were Caribou Coffee shops, the Minnesota version of Starbucks.

How could one small strip mall need two Caribou Coffees?

We went into the one to the right of the entrance. I ordered my skim latte and asked the barista: "Explain something to me. You're Caribou Coffee and there's another one right over there. I can see it from here. Why are there two Caribou Coffees here less than a hundred yards apart?" Well, she explained, it was very simple. "There were long lines here every morning, so we needed another one."

"I see," I said to myself. Because people had to wait in line a little longer at rush hour in the morning, the Caribou Coffee folks couldn't just add another coffee machine and a couple more baristas. They had to build a whole carbon copy coffee shop on the other side of the mall entrance. Hey, why not? Money was cheap, resources were available. Why not have two of the same coffee shop in the same strip mall ...

With all due respect to Dafen and Caribou Coffee, I hope that we never return to the days of Americans just borrowing more and more money to buy more and more stuff with more and more credit fueling more and more Chinese factories or more and more coffee shops powered by more and more coal. Of course, I am not against global trade and economic growth, but our growth needs to be more balanced — economically and ecologically. We cannot just be the consumer and China the producer, and neither of us can allow the goods produced and consumed to be made or used in ways that harm the environment on the scale that we have been. This way of growing standards of living is simply unsustainable — economically unsustainable and ecologically unsustainable.

And that is why the Great Recession that began in 2008 was not your grandmother's standard recession. This was not just a deep economic slowdown that we can recover from and then blithely go back to our old ways — with just a little less leverage, a little less risk, and a little more regulation. No, this Great Recession was something much more important. It was our warning heart attack.

Fortunately, it was not fatal. But we must not ignore what it told us: that we have been growing in a way that is not healthy for either our markets or our planet, for either our banks or our forests, for either our retailers or our rivers. The Great Recession was the moment when the Market and Mother Nature got together and said to the world's major economies, starting with the United States and China: "This cannot continue. Enough is enough."

Indeed. The way we were creating wealth had built up so many toxic assets in both the financial world and the natural world that by 2008/9 it shook the very foundations of our markets and ecosystems. That's right, while they might not appear on the surface to have been related, the destabilization of both the Market and Mother Nature had the same root causes. That is why Bear Stearns and the polar bears both faced extinction at the same time. That is why Citibank, Iceland's banks, and the ice banks of Antarctica all melted down at the same time. The same recklessness undermined all of them. I am talking about a broad breakdown in individual and institutional responsibility by key actors in both the natural world and the financial world — on top of a broad descent into dishonest accounting, which allowed individuals, banks, and investment firms to systematically conceal or underprice risks, privatize gains, and socialize losses without the general public grasping what was going on.

Of course, not all growth in America or elsewhere was fraudulent in these ways — far from it. We did improve productivity and create new companies, like Amazon.com and Google; new products, like the iPod and the iPhone; and new services, like online advertising and open source software, which collectively made people's lives better, easier, more enjoyable, and more productive. But, in America at least, too much of our economic growth was borrowed from our children's piggy banks and from Mother Nature's reserves, not invented. Therefore, we as a society wound up living beyond our collective means.

It all lasted — until it didn't. Or as my friend Rob Watson, the environmental consultant who founded EcoTech International, likes to say: "You know, if you jump off the top floor of an eighty-story building, you can actually feel like you're flying for seventy-nine stories. It's the sudden stop at the end that gets you."

The Great Recession was our sudden stop. The question is: Can we learn from it? As the Stanford economist Paul Romer has said: "A crisis is a terrible thing to waste." I believe we can learn from this crisis and we must learn from this crisis, and the purpose of this book is to provide one pathway for doing so.

This is a revised edition. The hardcover version of this book was first published in September 2008. In it, I argued that America had a problem and the world had a problem. America, I insisted, had "lost its groove" after the end of the Cold War and particularly after 9/11. We had turned inward and begun to export our fears more than our hopes, and we seemed intent on postponing dealing with every big problem weakening our society — from education to Social Security to health care to the deficit to immigration to energy. I argued that we needed to get back to nation-building at home — and I believe it was that sentiment, shared by a majority of Americans, that propelled Barack Obama to the presidency.

But the world also had a problem, I argued. It was getting hot (global warming), flat (the rise of high-consuming middle classes all over the world), and crowded (on track to adding roughly a billion people every thirteen years.) My thesis then, which remains my thesis here, is that America could get its groove back by taking the lead in developing the technologies and policy solutions to address the world's biggest problems — the energy and environmental stresses growing out of a planet getting hot, flat, and crowded.

What has changed? The first thing that has changed is that America's problems and the planet's problems have become more acute. As noted above, the system of growth we have fallen into has destabilized both the Market and Mother Nature to a degree that can no longer be finessed or ignored. The collision of acute financial and ecological distress that made the Great Recession "great" enabled me to see something that was hiding in plain sight — that the problems destabilizing the Market and Mother Nature were rooted in the exact same kind of dishonest accounting, mispricing of risk, privatizing of gains, and socializing of losses.

So I have revised the opening three chapters to explain how and why the Market and Mother Nature hit a wall at the same time. After that, I pick up the narrative of the original book. The remainder of the first half looks at the impact that our reckless behavior has had on the planet, at a time when it is already becoming hot, flat, and crowded. The second half explains how we can use this crisis to reinvigorate and retool America, whose leadership — technological, financial, ethical, and ecological — will be vitally necessary for the whole planet to meet the unique challenges of this moment.

If I had to sum up what this challenging moment means to us, I would put it like this: Our parents were the Greatest Generation, building for us in America a world of freedom, abundance, and opportunity to a degree that no generation in history had ever enjoyed. My generation (I was born in 1953), the baby boomers, turned out to be the "Grasshopper Generation," a term inspired by the writer Kurt Andersen, who in a Time essay devoted to our recent age of excess (March 26, 2009) argued that Americans in the past thirty years let out our inner "grasshopper" and gorged on the savings and natural world that had been bequeathed to us — leaving our children huge financial and ecological deficits. We cannot afford to be grasshoppers any longer. And therefore we and our children are going to have to be the "Re-Generation," and summon the will, energy, focus, and innovative prowess to regenerate, renew, and reinvent America in a way that will show the world a new model for growing standards of living and interacting with nature that is truly sustainable, renewable, healthy, safe, fair, and creative of more opportunities for more people in more places than ever before.

The green revolution is not about the whales anymore. And it is not about "our children's children," a generation so distant it is really hard to get energized about it. This is about us. This is about the world we and our children will inhabit for the rest of our lives and whether we can find a way to create wealth — because everyone wants to live better — without creating toxic assets in the financial world or the natural world that overwhelm us. This is an urgent project, because the way of life we lapsed into in recent years cannot be passed on to another generation without catastrophic consequences. It is a tall order, a great challenge — one that our children did nothing to deserve but now can do nothing to escape.

As I said, the Market and Mother Nature hit the wall at the same time for basically the same core reasons, which we need to understand if we are going to avoid a repeat. I am going to focus on three: the systematic obscuring and underpricing of the true costs and risks of what we were doing; the pervasive application of the worst sort of business and ecological values, embodied by the catchphrase IBG/YBG — do whatever you like now, because "I'll be gone" or "You'll be gone" when the bill comes due; and the privatizing of gains and the socializing of losses.


Underpricing Risk

The meltdown that occurred in the market was triggered by subprime mortgages, which allowed people with low incomes and tarnished or no credit histories to buy homes. At the height of the subprime craze, one Los Angeles mortgage broker told me, mortgages were being handed out by banks and mortgage providers to anyone who could "fog up a knife." People with incomes of $15,000 to $20,000, with no credit ratings, or in some cases without even a steady job or citizenship papers were granted mortgages to buy $300,000 and $400,000 homes — with nothing down. What is staggering is precisely how much we and others binged on these "subprime" mortgages, as though they were U.S. savings bonds, not hugely risky financial instruments. How did this happen?


(Continues...)

Excerpted from Hot, Flat, and Crowded by Thomas L. Friedman. Copyright © 2009 Thomas L. Friedman. Excerpted by permission of Picador.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

THOMAS L. FRIEDMAN has been awarded the Pulitzer Prize three times for his work with The New York Times, where he serves as the foreign affairs columnist. He is the author of From Beirut to Jerusalem (1989), The Lexus and the Olive Tree (1999), Longitudes and Attitudes (2002), and The World is Flat (2005). He lives in Bethesda, Maryland.


Thomas L. Friedman is an internationally renowned author, reporter, and columnist-the recipient of three Pulitzer Prizes and the author of six bestselling books, among them From Beirut to Jerusalem and The World Is Flat.

He was born in Minneapolis in 1953, and grew up in the middle-class Minneapolis suburb of St. Louis Park. He graduated from Brandeis University in 1975 with a degree in Mediterranean studies, attended St. Antony's College, Oxford, on a Marshall Scholarship, and received an M.Phil. degree in modern Middle East studies from Oxford. After three years with United Press International, he joined The New York Times, where he has worked ever since as a reporter, correspondent, bureau chief, and columnist. At the Times, he has won three Pulitzer Prizes: in 1983 for international reporting (from Lebanon), in 1988 for international reporting (from Israel), and in 2002 for his columns after the September 11th attacks.

Friedman's first book, From Beirut to Jerusalem, won the National Book Award in 1989. His second book, The Lexus and the Olive Tree: Understanding Globalization (1999), won the Overseas Press Club Award for best book on foreign policy in 2000. In 2002 FSG published a collection of his Pulitzer Prize-winning columns, along with a diary he kept after 9/11, as Longitudes and Attitudes: Exploring the World After September 11. His fourth book, The World Is Flat: A Brief History of the Twenty-first Century (2005) became a #1 New York Times bestseller and received the inaugural Financial Times/Goldman Sachs Business Book of the Year Award in November 2005. A revised and expanded edition was published in hardcover in 2006 and in 2007. The World Is Flat has sold more than 4 million copies in thirty-seven languages.

In 2008 he brought out Hot, Flat, and Crowded, which was published in a revised edition a year later. His sixth book, That Used to Be Us: How American Fell Behind in the World We Invented and How We Can Come Back, co-written with Michael Mandelbaum, was published in 2011.
Thomas L. Friedman lives in Bethesda, Maryland, with his family.

Brief Biography

Hometown:
Washington, D.C. area
Date of Birth:
July 20, 1953
Place of Birth:
Minneapolis, Minnesota
Education:
B.A. in Mediterranean Studies, Brandeis University, 1975; M.A. in Modern Middle East Studies, Oxford University, 1978
Website:
http://www.thomaslfriedman.com/

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Hot, Flat, and Crowded: Why We Need a Green Revolution - and How It Can Renew America 3.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 125 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The World is Flat opened our eyes to 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). As Friedman notes new technologies, political paradigm shifts and, more importantly, innovative individuals at the helms of startups have leveled the playing field in the global economy. Now things are getting worse, and the clock is ticking. Americans have squandered most of the goodwill extended since 9/11, writes Friedman, and in the years of the Bush administration no thought has been given to what 9/12 is supposed to look like. The climate is changing, but the administration has spent most of its tenure denying it and insisting on a particularist view that we deserve to be profligate because we're Americans. Our political blindness and ignorance vis-a-vis other nations now butts up against the world's instability and, Friedman continues, 'the convergence of hot, flat, and crowded is tightening energy supplies, intensifying the extinction of plants and animals, deepening energy poverty, strengthening petrodictatorship, and accelerating climate change.'
Guest More than 1 year ago
64 of 67 people found the following review helpful: 5.0 out of 5 stars A Doable Win-Win Plan, September 8, 2008 By Norma Lehmeierhartie (New York, USA) - See all my reviews (REAL NAME) In Hot, Flat, and Crowded: Why We Need a Green Revolution--and How It Can Renew America, Thomas Friedman presents an irresistible opportunity for Americans--one that can save the planet and increase our wealth. The world is flat because of globalization--which is good, as ideas and practices can spread effectively. What is not so good is that our world population is exploding and countries like India and China are seeing an increase in wealth, which puts more strain on the world's resources and increases global warming. Friedman begins the book with a discussion of how America has changed post 9/11. He uses the example of the US consulate built in 1882 in Istanbul. The consulate was built in the heart of the city: 'it was an easy place for Turks to get a VISA, to peruse the library or to engage with an American diplomat.' Following the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the building was closed and a nearly impenetrable consulate was built. This all but stopped visitors from visiting. Although the new building does protect against attacks, it isolates Americans and impacts on how we are viewed and how we see ourselves. Friedman writes that he wrote the book because: 'An American living in a defensive crouch cannot fully tap the vast rivers of idealism, innovation, volunteerism, and philanthropy that still flow through our nation. And it cannot play the vital role it has long played for the rest of the world--as a beacon of hope and the country that we can always be counted on to lead the world in response to whatever is the most important challenge of the day.' That challenge is global warming. He proposes we begin a massive project called 'code green.' Friedman identifies three broad trends in our society: 1. The post 9/11 building of walls around us to protect Americans from foreigners. 2. Since the 1980's, politicians acting 'dumb as we wanna be,' meaning we will get to fixing the roads, global warming and other issues when we get around to it. This includes politicians like Bush 'protecting us' from gas taxes and other unpleasantries to keep our standard of living, or the fact that we are in war and don't have to make any sacrifices (save the soldier's lives.) 3. Nation building at home. This is the one good trend Friedman sees and he writes about the plethora of innovative, imaginative souls who devote their energy to finding green solutions. Friedman considers what is now called the green movement to be more like a green party. He cites several 'green' books that include the words 'easy' or 'lazy' in the titles. The authors write books where: 'everyone is a winner, nobody gets hurt and nobody has to do anything hard.' I have read several of these books and agree--much of the advice is fluff. However, I do see the recent deluge of books and articles on sustainability as changing the consciousness and buying habits of the country. Many people who begin by making 'painless changes' get serious about the environment and one or two of them may be the next inventor of the solar-run car. I also believe that when millions cut down on the use of plastic and other nonrenewable resources, that it does make an environmental difference. The increase in population and wealth and buying power all tax our already limited supply of petroleum, coal and gas--all substances that cause global warming and pollute our planet. Even if you didn't 'believe' in global warming, it is a fact that petroleum--now needed in unprecedented amounts--is rapidly becoming an increasingly difficult product to procure. If you think spending $5.00 a gallon for gas for your car is a hardship, that price will be considered nothing in a few years. Folks, we are running out of time and oil. Friedman gets that Americans can use the diminishing supply in no
Guest More than 1 year ago
Friedman explains how global warming, a fast growing population, and an astonishing expansion of the world's middle classes are creating a planet that is 'hot, flat, and crowded.' The dangers posed by these changes are clear: global warning, energy and natural resources will be scarce, petrodictatorships will flourish, energy poverty, and biodiversity loss, and extinction of animal species. In just a few years--2012--according to Friedman, it will be too late to fix things. The US must step up to the plate and take the lead in a worldwide effort to replace our wasteful, inefficient energy practices with a strategy for clean and efficient energy, at the same time we start a massive plan of conservation that the author calls: 'Plan Green.' Not only it is a great challenge, but also a great opportunity and one America can't afford to miss. Not only is American leadership the key to the healing of the earth it is also our best strategy for the renewal of our country. Hot Flat, and Crowded is a classic book: fearless, incisive, forward-looking, and rich in surprising common sense about the challenges--and promises--for a better future. My only concern with the book is that it should have been edited for better emphasis. After a while he just kept repeating himself.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Hot, Flat and Crowded is great, just like Friedman's previous book. As in The World Is Flat, he explains a new era--the Energy-Climate era--through an illuminating account of recent events. He shows how 9/11, Hurricane Katrina, and the flattening of the world by the Internet (which brought 3 billion new consumers onto the world stage) have combined to bring climate and energy issues to Main Street. But they have not gone very far down Main Street the much-touted 'green revolution' has hardly begun. With all that in mind, Friedman sets out the clean-technology breakthroughs we, and the world, will need he shows that the ET (Energy Technology) revolution will be both transformative and disruptive and he explains why America must lead this revolution--with the first Green President and a Green New Deal, spurred by the Greenest Generation. Hot, Flat, and Crowded is classic Thomas L. Friedman--fearless, incisive, forward-looking, and rich in surprising common sense about the world we live in today. Highly recommended. People who like business books will also enjoy the other book I read this week: Squawk!: How to Stop Making Noise and Start Getting Results. It's been a big boon to my productivity as a manager already.
dSandridge More than 1 year ago
Even though I don't believe all of the "facts" in the book and I am sceptical about certain of Friedman's conclusions, the book is very intellectually stimulating and should be required reading for every American! Friedman very competantly explains how the world is becoming Hot (global warming), Flat (economic parity) and Crowded (population explosion). His historical perspectives are very good and help the laymen to understand these core issues. It is difficult for anyone to really know with certainty where we are headed with global climate change. Friedmans climate change conclusions are sobering and very well could be correct. However, Friedman does not give a balanced appraisal of the global warming debate. In a few places he uses emotionally charged arguements to support his conclusions (instead of sound scientific facts)about climate change. Friedman almost completely ignores the views of all climate scientists and considerable scientific information that might in anyway be contrary to his views. Although his global warming conclusions may indeed be correct, Friedman looses some credibility by using (at times) intellectually disingenuous arguements. Friedmans vision of the future, clean energy, etc, etc is appealing. It would be difficult for most readers to argue with his vision. However, the devil is always in the details. I suspect that the United States lacks the political will to implement his plan. I also suspect that the real economic costs to implement Friedman's vision are more than he represents. If his conclusions about climate change are correct, then we may have no choice but to make considerable social and energy changes, whatever the cost. However, if Friedman's climate change conclusions are exaggerated, it might not behove us to ruin our economy to avert a non-existent environmental castastrophe. Climate change and energy are the compelling issues of our generation. Reading Friedman's provocative book is intellectually stimulating and certainly worth the time to read regardless of whether you agree with the conclusions reached by Friedman!
HarvardMe More than 1 year ago
This guys is what one can call a total fake, he lives in an obscene huge mansion, Not green, he is a lobbyist for the GOP and AIPAC, he promoted the war in Iraq, justifies war crimes all over the world, drives a NON green car, and all he does in this book is propaganda things that he does not practice at all!
Matt Taibbi wrote and article, google it talking how this guy has become a converted "green" guy but yet his actions are nowhere to be seen, Besides this his own wife is the owner of thousands of Malls around the globe and the US, super polluting machines! And they destroyed pristine lands in order to build more malls just last year, this guy is using green as a money making machine! shame on him he should eat less as well
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Im an incoming ninth grader reading this book for my college level humam geography class. I am wondering if anybody could help me out and tell me what credit history is. Thank you!
StarmanJT More than 1 year ago
It's yesterday's book, and poorly wrtten. You won't find the issues of the day here; you'd never guess the US is broke, the EU on its last legs, international bureaucracies feathering their nests. There are the simple mistakes: e.g., on p. 179, Brazil's largest city is spelled two ways in three lines. There are sins of ommission: nowhere do we read of natural gas being a good and cheap replacement for gasoline, instead we get statist comments and stupid praise of ethenol. Junk science is big; we have global warming, we have hybrid cars, we have needs to radically expand government regulation of damn near everything. Finally, and most egregiously, we have calls for "revolutionary bureaucrats! Ever met one?
dennisdu More than 1 year ago
I would recommend this book to anyone who has an interest in our environment, where we may be going, what the problems are, and some realistic ways that problems can be addressed. Thomas Friedman uses his extensive experience in the mideast as well as many other countries to discuss how this is a worldwide issue and how this needs to be addressed in a worldwide manner. The only improvement might be that he probably could have made his points quicker, but he set the stage for all points with facts and input from various experts.
Anonymous 11 months ago
Starts setting up for the dance.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
"I do trust you."
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
:3
Beverly_D More than 1 year ago
Important Look at Our Possible Future Many people would rather have a root canal than read a non-fiction book about economics, especially one that doesn't paint a glowing picture of the future. Hot - the result of global climate change. Flat - the world is not becoming literally flat, of course, but geographical features that once assured isolation, like mountains and oceans, are ever more easily surmounted. Crowded - seven billion people and growing. If you are one of many who've recently sweltered through an unusually hot spring, summer, or fall, consider how much less pleasant it will be if/when our ancient, outdated power grid can't support all our electrical needs, and we have more and more rolling blackouts, with no air conditioning or even ceiling fans to move air around. Yes, that is the direction we are headed. Sounds grim, and it could be, but there are plenty of ways that particular future can be averted. It starts out quoting The Onion, about American's propensity to buy cheaply made crap from China. Crap that quickly breaks and thus must be replaced, and being Americans, we can't seem to stop ourselves from consuming even more crap. The book doesn't just present arguments and statistics, but uses lots of anecdotes to illustrate and drive the points home. The first half of the book presents the problem; the second half offers solutions. The style is easy to read, and the arguments are compelling.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I'm not going to bother reading yet ANOTHER piece of "Green" propaganda. You would not waste your time away from recycling or gardening if you REALLY paid attention to the fact that the GREEN in this movement is representing MONEY & most assuredly~ NOT the flora OR the , inconsiderate fauna bovine cloud FARTS in the atmosphere. Nosir. There is climate change on this here planet, there is ALSO~hold on to yer hat~a pretty darn good history of the universe that THIS & the entirety of space actually, really, unbeleivably CHANGE!!!!! Over & over, hurtling through time, against ALL odds, it seems to RECOVER all by it's damned self! According to the SEND ME YER GREEN OR WE ARE ALL DOOMED guys, "climate change" {which in Swahili means "my wallet only contains change!"} Is a PERFECT ruse to guilt people into supporting your nothing but honest {cough}…totally really cares about mothet earth, current politician, and the various others who are profitting off of making you do stuff like ditching incandescent bulbs - to, um, replace them with HIGHLY expensive new age of bs bulbs that if GOD FORBID you bust one you better have HAZMAT on 911 ready~lest you seriously & permanently contaminate all living things around . INCLUDING , lord have mercy ~ factory farms, adding THAT poisin to cow farts!. OH! The humanity! I think I just figured out why 1000s of birds fall dead at yer feet sometimes. BLAST that GREEN cloud of cow flatulence with the cherry red bag of on top of extreme toxins! I think really, if you want to help save this highly polluted earth from doom, you gotta do some real simple stuff. Like recycle. Like DO NOT THROW CIGARETTE BUTTS ALL OVER HELL AND HIGH WATER GOD THAT IS SO DISGUSTING ALREADY, bend over & pick up trash that some clueless clod threw down & show THAT example of caring enough to want to make things much better regardless of who might think yer a nut. Or a hippy. How about making this planet safe for all of us by throwing politicians in jail for using depleted uranium on innocent people? By not allowing ANY MORE WARS! OR, by allowing people here to be employed again in trades of construction or artisans, things we USED to do AND BE PROUD of. Or, throwing ALL corrupted politicians displaying a love of power over the poor & a love for amassing more ill gotten gains than a body could EVER hope to spend, let alone need, in jail for crimes so grievous that we can't seem to "get" how bad we need to stop allowing this behavior & attitude of "to big to jail". We CIVILIANS are never to big to jail, or be molested by TSA! And while we are thinking pollution is SO bad we are killing the earth, is there a movement in this country to abolish the invasive radiation that we have been exposed to in airports for the last TWELVE YEARS? Politicians are SUPPOSED to be OUR employees. We have forgotten this fact in America. The only green in Washington that matters, or really, in this NewWorldOrder that we are fast letting take over, is MONEY. The GREEN MOVEMENT IS AS HONEST AS MAINSTREAM NEWS. Choose to go along with that ruse , that abomination, & your people 50 -100 years from now will be asking what we asked after WWII & operation paperclip, Korea ,Vietnam, And most unexplainable of all, 911. Why didn't we do a THING to wake from the matrix of lies & corruption & save this country, let alone the world, from unbridled greed which led to it's destruction? GLOBAL WARMING MONEY IS AS PROFITABLE AS THE WAR MACHINE. Think about it.
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MZNazir More than 1 year ago
Hot, Flat, and Crowded is a very insightful book that explains what the earth's problems are regarding global climate change, the advancement in and the substantial dependence on technology ("flatness" of the world), and the exceeding world population. The second half of the book is dedicated to sharing ideas on how we can slowly, yet significantly, lessen these problems. Although Friedman successfully describes our world's issues and how we can eliminate them, the book tends to share an over-abundant quantity of scenarios, interviews, and news stories, one after another. This puts the reader in a state of perplexity because of these abrupt changes. The vast quantity of political, economic, and statistical information left me confused and a little bored because of the somewhat monotonous string of information. Otherwise, I learned a lot about our world's issues that I didn't know before. Getting an insight of other countries' problems and achievements made me want America to be #1 in being "green" and environmentally cautious, while still being an economically and politically stable nation.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
colton-hail More than 1 year ago
The first chapter of this book is vary good, but as you read on it tends to get a little more wordy or lots of words between interesting facts. Thomas Friedman could have added more things like how average Americans can help the environment. All around this is a decent unless if you don't believe in a cleaner and heather future for the following generations.
NeilJ More than 1 year ago
I did not realize all of the things that went wrong behind the scenes of the recent financial crisis. Friedman lays things out in a way I can understand. He took it beyond what you here in the news.
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Jacob Moussa More than 1 year ago
I tried for three weeks to get in to it. Message is old but vaild. Buy the book summary. Also this book is not a good reflction of Thomas' other works. The lexus and the olive tree and the world is flat were both great books and worth the read at the time.