The World Is Flat: A Brief History of the Twenty-First Century (Further Updated and Expanded)

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Overview

"One mark of a great book is that it makes you see things in a new way, and Mr. Friedman certainly succeeds in that goal," the Nobel laureate Joseph E. Stiglitz wrote in The New York Times reviewing The World Is Flat in 2005.

In this new edition, Thomas L. Friedman includes fresh stories and insights to help us understand the flattening of the world. Weaving new information into his overall thesis, and answering the questions he has been most frequently asked by parents across ...

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The World Is Flat 3.0: A Brief History of the Twenty-first Century

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Overview

"One mark of a great book is that it makes you see things in a new way, and Mr. Friedman certainly succeeds in that goal," the Nobel laureate Joseph E. Stiglitz wrote in The New York Times reviewing The World Is Flat in 2005.

In this new edition, Thomas L. Friedman includes fresh stories and insights to help us understand the flattening of the world. Weaving new information into his overall thesis, and answering the questions he has been most frequently asked by parents across the country, this third edition also includes two new chapters--on how to be a political activist and social entrepreneur in a flat world; and on the more troubling question of how to manage our reputations and privacy in a world where we are all becoming publishers and public figures.

The World Is Flat 3.0 is an essential update on globalization, its opportunities for individual empowerment, its achievements at lifting millions out of poverty, and its drawbacks--environmental, social, and political, powerfully illuminated by the Pulitzer Prize--winning author of The Lexus and the Olive Tree.

Version 3.0 Further Updated and Expanded with more pages.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"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)

Library Journal
08/01/2014
Perennially requested by college students and others interested in our changing world. Friedman's other well-known work, Hot, Flat, and Crowded, also won a Judge's Award from the Audies in 2009, but an updated version has not been released in audio format.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780374292782
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
  • Publication date: 8/7/2007
  • Edition description: Third Edition
  • Edition number: 3
  • Pages: 672
  • Product dimensions: 6.23 (w) x 9.46 (h) x 2.08 (d)

Meet the Author

Thomas L. Friedman has won the Pulitzer Prize three times for his work at The New York Times, where he serves as the foreign affairs columnist. He is the author of three previous books, all of them bestsellers: From Beirut to Jerusalem, winner of the National Book Award for nonfiction; The Lexus and the Olive Tree: Understanding Globalization; and Longitudes and Attitudes: Exploring the World After September 11. In 2005 The World Is Flat was given the first Financial Times and Goldman Sachs Business Book of the Year Award, and Friedman was named one of America’s Best Leaders by U.S. News & World Report. He lives in Bethesda, Maryland, with his family.

Biography

When September 11 drastically reshifted America's focus and priorities, Thomas L. Friedman was the author readers turned to as a guide to the dynamics of the Middle East. In a mediascape crowded with pundits, the New York Times foreign affairs columnist and author has emerged as the preeminent commentator in his field, informed by his 20-plus years as a journalist covering the rapidly shifting politics in the region.

The title of his first book, From Beirut to Jerusalem, describes his trajectory as New York Times bureau chief in both cities in the '80s. He interrupted his journalism career in 1988 when the Guggenheim Foundation awarded him a fellowship to write a book about his experiences. The result was a personal narrative that described not only his harrowing experiences in Lebanon and Israel but also contained exposition about the roots of his interest in the Middle East, a visit to Israel that burgeoned into a full-blown obsession. Friedman himself put it best, in the book's prelude: "It is a strange, funny, sometimes violent, and always unpredictable road, this road from Beirut to Jerusalem, and in many ways, I have been traveling it all my adult life." From Beirut to Jerusalem won the National Book Award and spent a year on the Times bestseller list.

This road analogy is one of several Friedman will make over the course of a column or book. He reduces the intimidation factor of complex subjects by offering ample (but not copious) background, plain but intelligent language, and occasional humor. On Iraq's history before Saddam: "Romper Room it was not." On globalization: "If [it] were a sport, it would be the 100-meter dash, over and over and over. And no matter how many times you win, you have to race again the next day."

Friedman again offered complex concepts in appealingly dramatic terms in 1989's The Lexus and the Olive Tree, his distillation of the new global economy. He sets up the contrast between the old, Cold War system ("sumo wrestling") and the new globalization system (the 100-meter dash). Another part of why Friedman can be so readable is that he sometimes makes it seem as if his life is one big kaffeeklatsch with the scholars and decision makers of the world. In a chapter from The Lexus and the Olive Tree, he mentions a comment made by a friend who is also "the leading political columnist in Jordan." The day after seeing this friend, Friedman writes, "I happen to go to Israel and meet with Jacob Frenkel, then governor of Israel's Central Bank and a University of Chicago-trained economist." Thus another illustrative point is made. Friedman frames the world not just as he sees it, but also includes the perspective of the many citizens he has made it a point to include in the dialogue.

In 2002, Friedman won a third Pulitzer for his writing in the New York Times, and the demand for his perspicacity post-September 11 makes the release of Longitudes and Attitudes: Exploring the World After September 11 almost a foregone conclusion. Breaking the book into before, during, and after, Friedman presents what he calls a "word album" of America's response to the tragedy. It is undeniably a changed world, and Friedman is undeniably the man to help readers make sense of it.

Good To Know

Friedman lives with his wife Ann and daughters Orly and Natalie in Bethesda, Maryland, a suburb of Washington.

In high school, Friedman became "insufferable" in his obsession with Israel, he says. He wrote in From Beirut to Jersualem: "When the Syrians arrested thirteen Jews in Damascus, I wore a button for weeks that said Free the Damascus 13, which most of my high-school classmates thought referred to an underground offshoot of the Chicago 7. I recall my mother saying to me gently, 'Is that really necessary?' when I put the button on one Sunday morning to wear to our country-club brunch."

As the chief diplomatic correspondent for the New York Times from 1989 to 1992, Friedman logged some 500,000 miles following Secretary of State James Baker and chronicling the end of the Cold War.

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

Read an Excerpt

The World Is Flat [Further Updated and Expanded; Release 3.0]

A Brief History of the Twenty-first Century
By Friedman, Thomas L.

Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Copyright © 2007 Friedman, Thomas L.
All right reserved.

ISBN: 9780374292782

Chapter 1 Your Highnesses, as Catholic Christians, and princes who love and promote the holy Christian faith, and are enemies of the doctrine of Mahomet, and of all idolatry and heresy, determined to send me, Christopher Columbus, to the above-mentioned countries of India, to see the said princes, people, and territories, and to learn their disposition and the proper method of converting them to our holy faith; and furthermore directed that I should not proceed by land to the East, as is customary, but by a Westerly route, in which direction we have hitherto no certain evidence that anyone has gone. —Entry from the journal of Christopher Columbus on his voyage of 1492  No one ever gave me directions like this on a golf course before: “Aim at either Microsoft or IBM.” I was standing on the first tee at the KGA Golf Club in downtown Bangalore, in southern India, when my playing partner pointed at two shiny glass-and-steel buildings off in the distance, just behind the first green. The Goldman Sachs building wasn’t done yet; otherwise he could have pointed that out as well and made it a threesome. HP and Texas Instruments hadtheir offices on the back nine, along the tenth hole. That wasn’t all. The tee markers were from Epson, the printer company, and one of our caddies was wearing a hat from 3M. Outside, some of the traffic signs were also sponsored by Texas Instruments, and the Pizza Hut billboard on the way over showed a steaming pizza, under the headline “Gigabites of Taste!” No, this definitely wasn’t Kansas. It didn’t even seem like India. Was this the New World, the Old World, or the Next World? I had come to Bangalore, India’s Silicon Valley, on my own Columbus-like journey of exploration. Columbus sailed with the Niña, the Pinta, and the Santa María in an effort to discover a shorter, more direct route to India by heading west, across the Atlantic, on what he presumed to be an open sea route to the East Indies—rather than going south and east around Africa, as Portuguese explorers of his day were trying to do. India and the magical Spice Islands of the East were famed at the time for their gold, pearls, gems, and silk—a source of untold riches. Finding this shortcut by sea to India, at a time when the Muslim powers of the day had blocked the overland routes from Europe, was a way for both Columbus and the Spanish monarchy to become wealthy and powerful.  When Columbus set sail, he apparently assumed the earth was round, which was why he was convinced that he could get to India by going west. He miscalculated the distance, though. He thought the earth was a smaller sphere than it is. He also did not anticipate running into a landmass before he reached the East Indies. Nevertheless, he called the aboriginal peoples he encountered in the new world “Indians.” Returning home, though, Columbus was able to tell his patrons, King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella, that although he never did find India, he could confirm that the world was indeed round. I set out for India by going due east, via Frankfurt. I had Lufthansa business class. I knew exactly which direction I was going thanks to the GPS map displayed on the screen that popped out of the armrest of my airline seat. I landed safely and on schedule. I too encountered people called Indians. I too was searching for India’s riches. Columbus was searching for hardware—precious metals, silk, and spices—the sources of wealth in his day. I was searching for software, brainpower, complex algorithms, knowledge workers, call centers, transmission protocols, breakthroughs in optical engineering—the sources of wealth in our day. Columbus was happy to make the Indians he met his slaves, a pool of free manual labor. I just wanted to understand why the Indians I met were taking our work, why they had become such an important pool for the outsourcing of service and information technology work from America and other industrialized countries. Columbus had more than one hundred men on his three ships; I had a small crew from the Discovery Times channel that fit comfortably into two banged-up vans, with Indian drivers who drove barefoot. When I set sail, so to speak, I too assumed that the world was round, but what I encountered in the real India profoundly shook my faith in that notion. Columbus accidentally ran into America but thought he had discovered part of India. I actually found India and thought many of the people I met there were Americans. Some had actually taken American names, and others were doing great imitations of American accents at call centers and American business techniques at software labs. Columbus reported to his king and queen that the world was round, and he went down in history as the man who first made this discovery. I returned home and shared my discovery only with my wife, and only in a whisper. “Honey,” I confided, “I think the world is flat.”  How did I come to this conclusion? I guess you could say it all started in Nandan Nilekani’s conference room at Infosys Technologies Limited. Infosys is one of the jewels of the Indian information technology world, and Nilekani, the company’s CEO, is one of the most thoughtful and respected captains of Indian industry. I drove with the Discovery Times crew out to the Infosys campus, about forty minutes from the heart of Bangalore, to tour the facility and interview Nilekani. The Infosys campus is reached by a pockmarked road, with sacred cows, horse-drawn carts, and motorized rickshaws all jostling alongside our vans. Once you enter the gates of Infosys, though, you are in a different world. A massive resort-size swimming pool nestles amid boulders and manicured lawns, adjacent to a huge putting green. There are multiple restaurants and a fabulous health club. Glass-and-steel buildings seem to sprout up like weeds each week. In some of those buildings, Infosys employees are writing specific software programs for American or European companies; in others, they are running the back rooms of major American- and European-based multinationals—everything from computer maintenance to specific research projects to answering customer calls routed there from all over the world. Security is tight, cameras monitor the doors, and if you are working for American Express, you cannot get into the building that is managing services and research for General Electric. Young Indian engineers, men and women, walk briskly from building to building, dangling ID badges. One looked like he could do my taxes. Another looked like she could take my computer apart. And a third looked like she designed it! After sitting for an interview, Nilekani gave our TV crew a tour of Infosys’s global conferencing center—ground zero of the Indian outsourcing industry. It was a cavernous wood-paneled room that looked like a tiered classroom from an Ivy League law school. On one end was a massive wall-size screen and overhead there were cameras in the ceiling for teleconferencing. “So this is our conference room, probably the largest screen in Asia—this is forty digital screens [put together],” Nilekani explained proudly, pointing to the biggest flat-screen TV I had ever seen. Infosys, he said, can hold a virtual meeting of the key players from its entire global supply chain for any project at any time on that supersize screen. So their American designers could be on the screen speaking with their Indian software writers and their Asian manufacturers all at once. “We could be sitting here, somebody from New York, London, Boston, San Francisco, all live. And maybe the implementation is in Singapore, so the Singapore person could also be live here . . . That’s globalization,” said Nilekani. Above the screen there were eight clocks that pretty well summed up the Infosys workday: 24/7/365. The clocks were labeled US West, US East, GMT, India, Singapore, Hong Kong, Japan, Australia. “Outsourcing is just one dimension of a much more fundamental thing happening today in the world,” Nilekani explained. “What happened over the last [few] years is that there was a massive investment in technology, especially in the bubble era, when hundreds of millions of dollars were invested in putting broadband connectivity around the world, undersea cables, all those things.” At the same time, he added, computers became cheaper and dispersed all over the world, and there was an explosion of software—e-mail, search engines like Google, and proprietary software that can chop up any piece of work and send one part to Boston, one part to Bangalore, and one part to Beijing, making it easy for anyone to do remote development. When all of these things suddenly came together around 2000, added Nilekani, they “created a platform where intellectual work, intellectual capital, could be delivered from anywhere. It could be disaggregated, delivered, distributed, produced, and put back together again—and this gave a whole new degree of freedom to the way we do work, especially work of an intellectual nature . . . And what you are seeing in Bangalore today is really the culmination of all these things coming together.” We were sitting on the couch outside Nilekani’s office, waiting for the TV crew to set up its cameras. At one point, summing up the implications of all this, Nilekani uttered a phrase that rang in my ear. He said to me, “Tom, the playing field is being leveled.” He meant that countries like India are now able to compete for global knowledge work as never before—and that America had better get ready for this. America was going to be challenged, but, he insisted, the challenge would be good for America because we are always at our best when we are being challenged. As I left the Infosys campus that evening and bounced along the road back to Bangalore, I kept chewing on that phrase: “The playing field is being leveled.” What Nandan is saying, I thought to myself, is that the playing field is being flattened . . . Flattened? Flattened? I rolled that word around in my head for a while and then, in the chemical way that these things happen, it just popped out: My God, he’s telling me the world is flat! Here I was in Bangalore—more than five hundred years after Columbus sailed over the horizon, using the rudimentary navigational technologies of his day, and returned safely to prove definitively that the world was round—and one of India’s smartest engineers, trained at his country’s top technical institute and backed by the most modern technologies of his day, was essentially telling me that the world was flat—as flat as that screen on which he can host a meeting of his whole global supply chain. Even more interesting, he was citing this development as a good thing, as a new milestone in human progress and a great opportunity for India and the world—the fact that we had made our world flat! In the back of that van, I scribbled down four words in my notebook: “The world is flat.” As soon as I wrote them, I realized that this was the underlying message of everything that I had seen and heard in Bangalore in two weeks of filming. The global competitive playing field was being leveled. The world was being flattened. As I came to this realization, I was filled with both excitement and dread. The journalist in me was excited at having found a framework to better understand the morning headlines and to explain what was happening in the world today. Clearly Nandan was right: It is now possible for more people than ever to collaborate and compete in real time with more other people on more different kinds of work from more different corners of the planet and on a more equal footing than at any previous time in the history of the world—using computers, e-mail, fiber-optic networks, teleconferencing, and dynamic new software. That was what I discovered on my journey to India and beyond. And that is what this book is about. When you start to think of the world as flat, or at least in the process of flattening, a lot of things make sense in ways they did not before. But I was also excited personally, because what the flattening of the world means is that we are now connecting all the knowledge centers on the planet together into a single global network, which—if politics and terrorism do not get in the way—could usher in an amazing era of prosperity, innovation, and collaboration, by companies, communities, and individuals. But contemplating the flat world also left me filled with dread, professional and personal. My personal dread derived from the obvious fact that it’s not only the software writers and computer geeks who get empowered to collaborate on work in a flat world. It’s also al-Qaeda and other terrorist networks. The playing field is not being leveled only in ways that draw in and superempower a whole new group of innovators. It’s being leveled in a way that draws in and superempowers a whole new group of angry, frustrated, and humiliated men and women. Professionally, the recognition that the world was flat was unnerving because I realized that this flattening had been taking place while I was sleeping, and I had missed it. I wasn’t really sleeping, but I was otherwise engaged. Before 9/11, I was focused on tracking globalization and exploring the tension between the “Lexus” forces of economic integration and the “Olive Tree” forces of identity and nationalism—hence my 1999 book, The Lexus and the Olive Tree. But after 9/11, the olive tree wars became all-consuming for me. I spent almost all my time traveling in the Arab and Muslim worlds. During those years I lost the trail of globalization.  Excerpted from The World is Flat by Thomas L. Friedman. Copyright © 2005, 2006, 2007 by Thomas L. Friedman. Published in August 2007 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux, LLC. All rights reserved. 
 

Continues...

Excerpted from The World Is Flat [Further Updated and Expanded; Release 3.0] by Friedman, Thomas L. Copyright © 2007 by Friedman, Thomas L.. Excerpted by permission.
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.

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Table of Contents


Introduction to the 3.0 Expanded Edition     ix
How the World Became Flat
While I Was Sleeping     3
The Ten Forces That Flattened the World     51
11/9/89
8/9/95
Work Flow Software
Uploading
Outsourcing
Offshoring
Supply-Chaining
Insourcing
In-forming
The Steroids
The Triple Convergence     200
The Great Sorting Out     233
America and the Flat World
America and Free Trade     263
The Untouchables     278
The Right Stuff     308
The Quiet Crisis     337
This Is Not a Test     374
Developing Countries and the Flat World
The Virgin of Guadalupe     403
Companies and the Flat World
How Companies Cope     441
You and the Flat World
Globalization of the Local     477
If It's Not Happening, It's Because You're Not Doing It     489
What Happens When We All Have Dog's Hearing?     515
Geopolitics and the Flat World
The Unflat World     533
The Dell Theory of Conflict Prevention     580
Conclusion: Imagination
11/9 Versus 9/11     607
Acknowledgments     637
Index     641
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Reading Group Guide

About this Guide

The following author biography and list of questions about The World Is Flat are intended as resources to aid individual readers and book groups who would like to learn more about the author and this book. We hope that this guide will provide you a starting place for discussion, and suggest a variety of perspectives from which you might approach The World Is Flat.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 217 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 217 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 15, 2008

    The Bible on Globalization

    This is the Bible on globalization. Friedman not only writes well, but does so on this very important subject. He states, 'It is now possible for more people than ever to collaborate and compete in real time with more people on more different kinds of work from more different corners of the planet and on a more equal footing than at any previous time in the history of the world.' What is more sobering is Friedman's elaboration on Bill Gates' statement, 'When I compare our high schools to what I see when I'm traveling abroad, I am terrified for our work force of tomorrow. In math and science, our fourth graders are among the top students in the world. By eighth grade, they're in the middle of the pack. By 12th grade, U.S. students are scoring near the bottom of all industrialized nations. . . . The percentage of a population with a college degree is important, but so are sheer numbers. In 2001, India graduated almost a million more students from college than the United States did. China graduates twice as many students with bachelor's degrees as the U.S., and they have six times as many graduates majoring in engineering. In the international competition to have the biggest and best supply of knowledge workers, America is falling behind.' This is Friedman's main point. He sees a dangerous complacency, from Washington down through the public school system. Students are no longer motivated. 'In China today, Bill Gates is Britney Spears. In America today, Britney Spears is Britney Spears--and that is our problem.' America is losing its edge--a point that is also very well stated in Fareed Zakaria's The Post-American World.

    8 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 27, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    The World is Flat

    "The World is Flat", by Friedman is a provacitive look at the effects of significant historical events, international policies, and the development of emerging technologies on our world. Friedman contends that the world has flattened as a result of all of these forces and life will never be the same as a result Friedman explores the flattening of the world and the effects it will have on the future for Americans and other nations across the world. I was thoroughly impressed with the research and intelligent perspectives provided in this book. I highly recommend this book, enjoy!

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 16, 2009

    Had to read for class at U of M. Nothing earth-shattering about it, several very good quotes, however.

    I do not typically read books of this genre; however, this was a requirement for a class I was taking. I learned more from other sources, mostly on the Web. The book is mostly cheer-leading, a sort of 100,000-companies-can't-be-wrong view of outsourcing/offshoring.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 19, 2009

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    Scary truths of American society or social extremism?

    This book was truly an eye opener about American society as whole. From call centers in Bangalore to call centers Salt Lake City, Utah, - It is important for Americans to know what is happening in the world around us that, according to Friedman, is continuously getting smaller.<BR/><BR/>However, as a soon-to-be college grad with a business background, I set up some meetings with my professors about this book to discuss some of the facts of world globalization. Where all of what Friedman talks about is very true, it doesn't seem to be bearing down with his analytical intensity. In many ways, Friedman makes all jobs outside the mathematical/scientific realm obsolete by 2020. Maybe I disagree with the idea that earning a J.D. in environmental law will be obsolete, especially with the ever growing environmental issues. However, what I do take seriously is that - in whatever field of work I choose - I have to work harder than I would have 20 years ago. This is not up for debate!<BR/><BR/>Great book! It was a very quiet 600 pages. Friedman is such a great writer that I plowed through this in 4 days and didn't even realize it was as long as it was!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 18, 2009

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    A Must Read!: The World Is Flat by Thomas Friedman

    Friedman discusses the significant technological changes in our society as well as the effects of those changes on the world - the global world. He addresses how the process began when the Berlin Wall came down in East Germany on November 9, 1989. In turn, this event began the process of the "flattening of the world." In other words, the way the world conducted its economic business changed drastically, and with the introduction of the Personal Computer, the global world became flatter and flatter; the world became more and more connected on a global (flat) level. The internet was introduced, followed by the inventions of Microsoft, Apple, Google, Yahoo, Netscape, Skype, iPods, YouTube, cell phones; the list is endless. He also discusses how businesses outsource, insource, etc. For example, if an airline loses someone's luggage, when that person calls the airline to try and retrieve it, he/she is most likely speaking to a customer service person in Bangalor. Friedman's examples are fascinating.
    I enjoyed reading the first two-thirds of this book. Friedman uses incredible examples of today's businesses by interviewing CEOs and spokespeople from UPS, Walmart, Apple, Microsoft, etc. He also travels to countries such as India, China, Japan and Germany in order to explore this "flattening" effect. He also warns us that if we do not start teaching our kids the required skills for this global world, then they will have a difficult time surviving the twenty-first century. The last third of the book he points out the downside to technology and provides some examples: ethics, plagiarism, yellow journalism. My only critique is that the last third was a bit wordy. I got his point by page 500. I do, however, recommend reading it. Friedman is an eye-opener!

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  • Posted November 5, 2008

    Why is the world flat?

    The book The World is Flat, by Thomas Friedman, is non-fiction, insightful book mainly about the author¿s personal experiences with the leveling of the world¿s communication and information transfer. Friedman explains to the reader through his experiences, a brief history of the 21st Century. He outlines the world¿s flattening into three eras of globalization, ¿Globalization 1.0 was countries globalizing and the dynamic force in Globalization 2.0 was companies globalizing, the dynamic force in Globalization 3.0 ¿ the thing that gives it its unique character ¿ is the newfound power for individuals to collaborate and compete globally (10).¿ He explains the shifting of the world, from being isolated geographically, to a more integrated world that is dependant on the resources and information that countries around the world supply. "It unlocked half the planet and made citizens there our potential partners and competitors (441).¿ The book helps the reader to understand the transition from the age of industry to the age of technology.<BR/> To better understand the man behind the book it is important to know about him. He is a very accomplished writer that won the three Pulitzer Prize for commentary for the New York Times, and has written: From Beirut to Jerusalem in 1989, The Lexus and the Olive Tree in 2000, Longitudes and Attitudes: The World in the Age of Terrorism in 2002, and Israel: A Photo biography. Most of which have won awards for best non-fiction or foreign policy. Most of Friedman¿s writings are based off the ideals of globalization, especially The World is Flat.<BR/> Thomas Friedman explains, in The World is Flat, how the world has shifted economically as far as the workforce because of the increasing need for math, science and technology as tools for progress, and the ability through technology for the United States to compete globally. Through capitalism companies want to maximize their profits by hiring the most qualified people for the job with the least amount of money. This is the whole concept of outsourcing and why American jobs are leaving the country. In his book he says, ¿This is what I mean when I say the world has been flattened. It is the contemporary convergence of the ten flatteners, creating this new global playing field for multiple forms of collaboration (177).¿ <BR/>I feel that this is one hundred percent true and that the author did an excellent job of providing many examples and in depth analysis. There are many options that a business owner looks at and the clear choice in every scenario is to hire the smartest people to offer the highest quality product with the lowest labor cost possible. This is shown throughout history that business owners always make the cheapest choice possible, even when it isn¿t morally right. The whole concept of slavery or child labor is to maximize profit, even though we all know it is morally wrong. Outsourcing isn¿t necessarily wrong. It¿s just a smart business decision based on keeping labor costs down and today¿s technology allows companies to employ people across the world as though they were in the same building. Proving my point Friedman explains, ¿Wages and rents in Bangalore are less than one fifth of what they are in those Western capitals (18).¿<BR/> Over all, I thought it was a very informative book that gives the reader a different perspective of how the different technologies that we take for granted now, like computers and internet are shaping the world. Ma

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 20, 2008

    Reality Check

    As I entered my freshman year of college I was nervous, excited and I was ready to start fresh. My first day my Buiness Professor was talking about the cirrculum and mentioned that we should all take a look at this book. For some reason I took his advice and read this book that is some 600 plus pages'I never read prior to this unless force'.I did it not cause I was forced to but I wanted to learn and that is what Friedman tries getting across IQ,PQ,CQ Chapters. I am only 19 years old but I currently work in a hotel that caters to Multi Million dollar buisness such as EMC Corp and Waters Corp and I got to witness first hand that globalziation indeed is no joke and something we should not take lightly. I often interacted with many people from China,Japan,and India and I often found myself asking them how they felt about Globlization. All of them embraced it because it is a chance for these people to take what they learn bring it home and build on it. Globalization is nothing we should fear it something we should embrace.I also work with three India interns all of them have a work ethic like no other and they have that drive to be better. They could not understand why us americans throw away all the oppurtinutes we have,he told me to ask a child parents what it means to be an engineer or doctor and you will understand why we work everyday to get better. I am now going into my sophmore year of College and you best believe I am going to work study and network more than ever.If I dont I know that someone in China or India is this should be a serious reality check to all young adults. I am not saying stay in and study your life away cause this is where I think these international students lose their edge is with their shyness. Work as Hard as you play is my best advice to all young adults like myself. Great Book Next One is Tipping Point

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 27, 2008

    I Will Continue To Learn More

    Thomas Friedman's The World Is Flat opened my eyes to a new realm. As I began to read the book a since of fear and worry came over me. I didn't know if I should cry or settle myself and gather more insight on the flat world. Friedman gives a great introduction to how the world began to be flat. He is very specific on details with the way he carries you on his journey to learning about the flat world. It allowed me to be able to imagine being right there with him from the airport, and to the other countries all over the world. This book shows you how America and other countries began to connect with each other. As I began to read the book it was a page turner for me. I am not a book reader. I will read if I have to like I did for this book for an assignment. But the more I got engaged in the book I didn't care that it was for a grade, I wanted to know more to help me prepare myself and other people for the next level. Friedman helped a lot in this venture by giving tips on how we can continue to learn new things about technology, become more familiar with outsourcing, and other people across the globe. I no longer have ill feelings about the ties America has with other countries. I now want to be more apart of it and educate other people on this topic. Reading this book will definitely help people to become more knowledgeable about how no matter how old or intelligent you think you are, their is still more to learn. The way that smart people stay ahead is they never want to stop learning. They also fill as though their job is never finished. Friedman definitely expresses this in his book. After completing this book I am eager to read more information or experiences from people about the flat world.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 26, 2008

    The world REALLY is flat!

    The World is Flat: The title is a bit misleading and does not allow the average book-scouter even a small hint into the gut of this book. Thomas Friedman does an excellent job at convincing the reader that the world is indeed, flat: flattened by technology. This book is broken into seven sections and in each section, Friedman points out the reason for this flattening and does so in a manner that is broken into comprehensible parts that makes this book easy-to-follow and easy to understand. These sections, while easy-to-follow, are hard to swallow. The global transformation, also referenced to as Globalization 3.0, will make it difficult for the U.S. population to find jobs if they are not educated in the fields of engineering and math, which are two areas that India and China are being ever-so educated in. Friedman is very particular and careful as he chooses real-life situations, verifiable statistics, private conversations, and confirmable case studies in order to bring his point of view to a personal and believable level for the average reader those readers who are not aware of outsourcing or home-sourcing, and who would have a hard time believing average-daily statistical quotes. For example, Friedman not only informs the reader of how eBay can open doors for the handicapped population, he goes a step further and relays a personal experience by eBay¿s CEO, Meg Whitman, and her meeting with a seventeen-year-old-wheel-chair-bound-boy who has become a successful eBay entrepreneur, so successful that his mom and dad, both, quit their jobs in order to help with his eBay business. This book is definitely a must-read. I must admit, by reading this book, my view of our world has been broadened, my interest in technology has been heightened, and my overall view of Globalization 3.0 has generated me to become better prepared for my future in this ever-so-flattening-world.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 6, 2008

    A reviewer

    The World is Flat A Brief History of the 21st Century by Thomas Freidman is an eye-opening book that will enlighten many readers into industry and efficiency that goes on around us without us ever even knowing. Freidman describes for us in this book how technology that he has learned of and witnessed through his travels across the world have been put in place and now play an intrical part in each of our lives from who we talk to as we make reservations for a plane ticket to who we are actually talking to when we order a hamburger at the local drive-thru. Technology, Frediman describes, has reinvented these jobs. So much so, that these jobs can now be performed by someone in another country in a whole other part of the globe. This book is a must read for parents who, after being challenged by Freidman, will get a renewed desire to educated your children in all areas of their lives. While describing for readers the technology he has seen which he adds is the reasoning for the flattness transforming our world, Freidman discusses in length the challenges ahead of our educational system and the role that parents will take if we as Americans are to have successful children in this new society. This book is a must read for those people who, like myself, don't fully realize how much technology has grasped our lives and how much we need to learn in order to maintain our competitiveness in society. Globilization is a factor to be reckoned with. We can either be a part of the change or be left behind.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 30, 2008

    What a Flat World We Live In¿

    The World is Flat A Brief History of the Twenty-First Century By: Thomas L. Friedman 488 pp. Farras, Straus & Giroux. $27.50 Over the years, Thomas Friedman has been writing books that have talked about what he has seen and experienced during his life. In the World is Flat, Friedman starts off talking about his travels around the world visiting different corporations and talking with the presidents, CEOs, and other employees for them. What he discovers very quickly is that most companies if not all, have turned to new technologies and modern day communication methods to conduct their day to day business transactions. Friedman talks a lot about how the US has been one of the strongest and most powerful countries, however the US has fallen asleep in some areas so now many other countries are catching up with us and are able to perform the jobs and services we could only perform at a much cheaper and practical cost for corporations. Friedman also talks about the different era¿s we have experienced and what we need to do to make sure we end up on top. He introduces our current era as Globalization 3.0, which has a main focus on the individuals. Friedman believes that if we as American do not wake up and start caring more about what is going to happen to our jobs that pay our bills then we could all be out of a job very soon because people in other countries are getting the education and have the appreciation that we lack to do different jobs. Friedman also talks about companies that we all know and use in our day to day lives that are outsourcing currently and we don¿t even realize they are doing it. So what caused this flatting? Friedman says many things took place along the way to get us in this place to include the: dot.com bubble, stock market crash, fall of the Berlin Wall, Y2K scares, 9/11, internet, Google, etc. So as you can see from the above list, these are new inventions or events that have taken place over many years and there is little we could of done to stop any of it. Since there was little that we could have done differently we have to find a way to stop as much of it as we can before it is too late. Another scary things brought up in the books is that we all need to think about what is going on in our flat world and then think 15 years from now what things will look like when our children are grown up and working to support their families. Overall, I do recommend this book to others. I think Friedman does a good job with this book and it will open people's eyes to what is going on in the world we live in.

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  • Posted January 29, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    Insightful of the Near Future

    In this book Friedman sets up how the world has been and is being flattened in juxtaposition to Columbus' finding that the world is round (Ironically, one can make the case, with Friedman, that Columbus was one who started the flattening process, see 1491 and 1493 by Mann). Bringing together several different historical events and the power of the internet, Friedman shows how the world is changing. He presents many of the benefits as well as the problems. His perspective provides some good resources for thinking about our future directions both as individuals and as a nation. I found the book very insightful.

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  • Posted November 1, 2013

    Must read!

    If you really want to know what is going on with the economy, thus book is an eye opener. Friedman looks at globalization from several different perspectives that gives us pause to think about our ethics and spending habits. Everyone over the age of 13 needs to read this to redesign his or her future.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 28, 2013

    Good info but too long

    Overall, an excellent book but could have been condensed.

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  • Posted April 9, 2013

    The World Is Flat [Updated and Expanded]: A Brief History of the

    The World Is Flat [Updated and Expanded]: A Brief History of the Twenty-first Century by Thomas L. Friedman examines the social, political, and technological forces that are bringing the peoples of our world closer together. Within its pages, Mr. Friedman illustrates how the flattening of the world is creating an increasingly interconnected business environment where businesses large and small as well as knowledge workers from the United States to India will compete in the global marketplace.

    Globalization of the marketplace presents new opportunities and new challenges to businesses of all sizes and people of all countries. As the speed of communication and transportation increases, so does the ability of a company or a person to deliver products and services anywhere in the world. With billions of highly educated and motivated people entering the marketplace from India and China, competition is increasing exponentially.

    While many of us sensed the flattening of the world, The World Is Flat expertly illustrates what and how these forces are shaping our environment. I believe executives and managers armed with this insight will be better able to take advantage of existing flat world opportunities and envision and leverage future changes; enabling their organizations to remain competitive in the ever flattening world.

    All the Best,
    Nathan Ives
    StrategyDriven Principal

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 31, 2012

    The world is bounded & not infinite

    What happens when the developing world becomes the developed world as us certainly suggested by Mr. Fruedman? Does it then become a matter of degree?

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 8, 2012

    Long but interesting

    Surprisingly valid and thought provocing even several years after being written

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 20, 2012

    Thought provoking and eye opening

    The book is easy reading and eye opening to the power and trends of globalization in today's society.

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  • Posted September 16, 2010

    A great incite into the 21st century

    I was impressed by how great of a look into the changes we face as Americans this century. The books offers great insight into what a flat world really is, and how we're getting there. It also shows all of the pros and cons to a totally flat world. Then offers solutions on how businesses, and individuals can succeed in a more competitive, flat market. Some of the pros are reduced tension between countries which share trade. Such as China the U.S. The book also described how we as a country can learn to make good out of a bad situation, such as 9/11. I really enjoyed all of the facts that came out of this book. It was a great read, though a little long.
    I generally don't read long books, since I find most of it is a waste, though this book was good, even though it was very long.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 8, 2010

    Must Read!

    Thomas Friedman successfully summarizes the condition of the world in this amazing book. When Columbus sailed the technologies available to him proved that the world is indeed round, but ever since then it has been flattening out to the twenty first century civilization we have today. Fiber Optics, Computers, the internet, all of these inventions have made it possible to shrink the world we live in. A person from America can call a help line and get help from a person sitting on the other end of the line in India. A doctor in India can perform an operation on a person in Europe. An thanks to the interned business groups no longer need to travel for hours and hours on long flights for a quick meeting. They can now see each other, hear each other and watch the same presentation at the same time on the opposite sides of the world.

    After covering this Friedman makes sure to point out that such developments and the relaxation of Americans may lead to an unpleasant future. As information booths and productions move out to china and India America is losing jobs and companies to countries like China and India that are profiting from the gain in workers as well as the gain in ideas. While The United States is enjoying cheap labor China is educating more college graduates ready to take over companies. For example in the US an average fourth grader may be well above the average fourth grader in China but by eighth grade he becomes on the same level and by senior year the Chinese student has surpassed the American student. That is quite frightening. with an increasingly more technological world it become easier and easier for countries to intertwine and use each other. In order to do that there need to be people smart enough in the country to know what to do in a company.

    Friedman takes these ideas and introduces them to the reader with shocking truths about the twenty first century world we live in today. It's langthy but once you begin you won't be able to stop. all the facts are researched, all the ideas are clear and everything is explained.

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