The World Is Flat 3.0: A Brief History of the Twenty-first Century (Further Updated and Expanded)

The World Is Flat 3.0: A Brief History of the Twenty-first Century (Further Updated and Expanded)

by Thomas L. Friedman

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Overview

A New Edition of the Phenomenal #1 Bestseller

"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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780312425074
Publisher: Picador
Publication date: 07/24/2007
Edition description: Third Edition
Pages: 672
Sales rank: 56,446
Product dimensions: 5.55(w) x 8.25(h) x 1.23(d)

About 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.

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

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. 
 

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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.

Discussion Questions

1. The first chapter in The World Is Flat recalls the voyage of Columbus, colonization, and industrialization. Are the motivations behind twenty-first century globalization much different from the ones recorded through history?

2. Thomas L. Friedman discusses the many occupations that can now be outsourced or offshored, including his own job as a journalist. Could your job be done by someone in another country? Could you do your job better from home, as the JetBlue telephone agents do? Would you feel comfortable knowing that your taxes had been prepared by an overseas accountant, or your CAT scan read by an overseas radiologist? (Chapter One)

3. The second chapter outlines "Ten Forces That Flattened the World," ranging from the fall of the Berlin Wall on November 9, 1989, to the open-source software movement. In what way did politics influence entrepreneurship in the 1990s? What psychological impact did November 9 have on the world, particularly when paired with new means for global communication?

4. What is your opinion of the open-source movement? Should there be any limit to the amount of freedom, including "freedom" form the demand to make a profit, in the technology marketplace? (Chapter Two)

5. What qualities enabled India to take center stage when the looming Y2K scenario generated unprecedented demand for programmers? What can other nations learn from India's success in this realm? What are India's greatest vulnerabilities? (Chapter Two)

6. Discuss the ruthless efficiency demanded by supply-chaining. In the long run, does it benefit consumers? Do you believe it enhances or reduces production quality? (Chapter Two)

7. Were you familiar with the concept of "insourcing" prior to reading The World Is Flat? Does it matter to you whether your computer is repaired by an employee of Toshiba or of UPS? Should it matter? (Chapter Two)

8. Friedman calls the tenth flattener "steroids." Are these crucial to success, or are they luxuries? Will the globe's nonsteroidal citizens be able to compete without them? (Chapter Two)

9. In what ways has the Triple Convergence affected your day-to-day life? (Chapter Three)

10. Discuss the "Indiana versus India" anecdote, recounted in the second section of Chapter Four. Which approach benefits Americans more: offshoring state projects and cutting taxpayer expenditures, or paying higher wages to maintain job security at home?

11. Chapter Six, "The Untouchables," features the story of Friedman's childhood friend Bill Greer. What dies his story indicate about flattening in the creative fields? Will illustrators lose out to Illustrator? What would it take for you to become an untouchable?

12. Chapter Seven, "The Quiet Crisis," outlines three dirty secrets regarding American dominance: fewer young Americans pursuing careers in math and science, and the demise of both ambition and brainpower among American youth. What accounts for this? What would it take to restore academic rigor and the enthusiasm enjoyed during the "man on the moon" days?

13. Which of the proposals in Chapter Eight, "This Is Not a Test," would you be able to implement?

14. In Chapter Nine's third section, "I Can Only Get It for You Retail," Friedman offers a vivid portrait of the "neighborhoods" comprising various parts of the globe today. How will those neighborhoods look one hundred years from now? Will America still be a gated community, and Asia "the other side of the tracks"?

15. Friedman contemplates the cultural traits (such as motivated, educated workers and leaders who don't squander the nation's treasure) that drive a nation's success. He uses this to illustrate why Mexico, despite NAFTA, has become the tortoise while China has become the hare. Does America fit Friedman's cultural profile as a nation poised for prosperity? (Chapter Nine)

16. Do you work for a company that is implementing any of Friedman's coping strategies? Which of them would be the most controversial in your industry? (Chapter Ten)

17. What do you make of the approach taken by Bill Gates's foundation to combat disease? In your opinion, what are the roots of the public-health crisis in the Third World? (Chapter Eleven)

18. How did the book's images of India compare to your previous perceptions of it, from the country-club atmosphere described on the first page to the tragedy of the untouchables? (Chapters One and Eleven)

19. Compare The World Is Flat and Longitudes and Attitudes to Friedman's pre-9/11 books, The Lexus and the Olive Tree and From Beirut to Jerusalem. Has the author's approach to current affairs changed much since 9/11? Has al-Qaeda achieved any of its goals in the fifteen-year span represented by all four books?

20. Do you have faith in Michael Dell's theory of conflict prevention? What can we do to ensure that the strategic optimists win? And when they do, what dreams do you have for the world they will create? (Chapter Twelve)

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The World Is Flat 3.0: A Brief History of the Twenty-First Century 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 81 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
bjb112975 More than 1 year ago
"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!
Schaffer09 More than 1 year ago
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.

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!

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!
Biss More than 1 year ago
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.
PRV More than 1 year ago
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!
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
gopfolk on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Once you get past the author¿s pure hatred of President Bush which come up repeatedly throughout the book you can see that this is pure genius.I wish I would have read this when it first came out because Friedman does an amazing job of walking through the current technology and with some logical progression pointing out the direction it is heading.Such simple concept as ¿outsourcing¿ and ¿insourcing¿ are explained so the masses can understand the cons and the HUGE pros that we can come from them.I¿ve got his next book lined up just need the time for it!!
ALincolnNut on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman has continued to update and expand his seminal book, "The World is Flat" since its initial publication. The most recent edition is a paperback listed as "Release 3.0." Subtitled "A Brief History of the Twenty-First Century," it offers Friedman's compelling thesis that recent geopolitical changes have combined with an influx of new technology to create the beginnings of the democratic global economy. These changes dramatically affect American infrastructure and educational needs in the 21st century economy.Filled with a combination of interviews and anecdotes, many related to upstart companies from around the world, the book attempts to make sense of the new global economic and political environment and its impact on jobs, travel, entertainment, and community development. At the heart of Friedman's analysis is his conclusion that the lowering of national barriers¿ exemplified by the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 ¿ has allowed new cyber technologies ¿ exemplified by the release of the first widespread Internet browser, Netscape Navigator, in 1995 ¿ to drastically change communication and commerce.Businesses have exploited the technology of the Internet, particularly with its opportunities for real-time collaboration between any places worldwide that have high-speed connections, with little government intervention -- or at least much less than before. This has allowed many companies to outsource parts of their workforces (such as the ubiquitous phone service centers for American corporations that are in India), but it has also globalized the manufacturing supply network. In fact, Friedman believes that this efficiency in production has actually gained more American jobs than were lost in outsourcing.As interested as he is in describing the situation as it is now, it seems obvious that Friedman is more concerned with imagining what the changing context means for the future. Although he is not specific, he sees the trend continuing to dramatically change the shape of the working environment, with more people working more hours -- or all of their hours, eventually -- from home, eliminating the overhead costs of workspace. He also sees the diversified worldwide production system as likely to affect other industries than just manufacturing and technology, which will change how people work and with whom they interact for their jobs -- if they have the training to keep those jobs.These changes necessitate certain reassessments of American infrastructure -- especially with regards to Internet connectivity -- and the American educational system. Time and again, Friedman shows how various countries have invested heavily in Internet infrastructure in contrast to the scatter-shot approach of American telecommunications and cable companies, implying that Americans are falling behind and will suffer for this in the coming years.In all, the book is enlightening and engaging, tackling a complex subject with humor, awareness, irony, and discernment. Friedman's style is fairly conversational and narrative driven, but he has done an excellent job coalescing his stories and analyses under specific themes, offering a roadmap through the vast subject. This book is excellent reading for those who care about where the world has moved at the beginning of the 21st Century and where it is headed for the foreseeable future.
Hernibs on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Political must read for anybody with an interest in current affairs.Puts politics, technology and social developments into perspective showing ways out of the decline of America.
wbwilburn5 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Talk about enlightening! A must read for all high schoolers!
sharonandjohn on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book was originally published in 2005 and updated in 2007. I read the 2007 edition. I know it is not a newly published work, but reading it now gives the reader a look back at the 'good old days' before the Great Recession. This book is a discussion of globalization and how it has changed life in the twenty-first century. A lot has changed in the three years since this book was published. Sometimes it is hard to remember what it was like back in the good old days.When I began to read this book (which was more than six months ago- I've been very busy with school), it seemed as if Friedman was a crazy cheerleader for globalization and classical economics. But, the more I read the more it seems like he was a crazy optimist for globalization and what it could do for humanity if it was done with some sort of ethical tone to it. I agree with some of his ideas and disagree with others but overall this is a good book to read if for nothing more than a history lesson of just how fantastic and rosy things seemed before the economy collapsed in 2007. Of course, hindsight is 20/20, but he completely leaves out any mention of the economic boom being fueled by the real estate bubble. Were we really so blind back then?One especially glaring example of this is Friedman's characterization of Ireland as the economy that was doing everything right. They did do some things right like investing in the education of their people, but the growth was based on the ethereal real estate and derivatives market. Ireland was at the top of the world and now they are worse off than they were before they started their amazing race to the top. I'm sure there are similar examples of this same type of thing from the 1920s before the Great Depression.Friedman does, however, have some great ideas about educational reform. Sadly though, these ideas are not really new. I just finished another book, Teaching as a Subversive Activity, that had many of the same ideas and it was published in 1969 (Review to come...). These ideas seem so simple but have been very difficult to implement (teach innovation and critical thinking, allow imagination to flourish). But, that's another soap box for another review.Overall, this is a really interesting read that I would have finished much sooner if not for those darn books I had to read for classes. I would recommend it to everyone because much of what he discusses will affect the reader (if it hasn't already) in this new, flat world.A definite recommend.
phildec on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Very interesting book about globalization at several different levels, both cultural and economic. The author does a good job as a journalist by directly traveling to places and interviewing people. However, this makes the book too long, too detailed, not synthetic enough, and I could not finish it. I would have prefered more analysis than examples.
ValSmith on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I thought this book to be both thoughtful and thought-provoking, with many valuable and accurate assessments of the world in the 21st century
n1ghtstr1k3 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Friedman fails to provide an accurate picture of globalization. He relies on only his corporate CEO buddies to give him info and completely disregards many factors affecting globalization today. His solutions, although mostly shallow, are always that the government needs to intervene more. It seems he does not understand that most of the problems of globalization are CAUSED by government interference in the free market.An interesting counterpoint to this book is 'The World is Flat?' by Ronald Aronica. While Aronica also displays a lack of understanding about many of the issues, he does highlight some of the major flaws in Friedman's book.
Conner23456 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
In school we had to read book and I think that this book opened my eyes more about the flating of the world because of the storys he told that he went on to India, China, etc.
jrgoetziii on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I cannot figure out why this book is so popular. It brings vivid insight but nothing extraordinary. If anything, Friedman lacks an instinctive will to call any thought his own; for a journalist, reporting the quotes of others is acceptable and encouraged. For an author, 635 pages of that is nonsense. Like Mario Livio in "The Golden Ratio," Friedman makes special note of who his friends are (and it seems he has an awful lot of them), so I question what his true motives were in writing the book. The terminology was jargon, and he seemed rather fatalistic. Still, there was something very appealing about this book, and it certainly was in the upper half of authorship.
laurenlarsen on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
If everyone would read this book and could agree with the concepts and ideas put forth, maybe it would save the world. Especially important for parents and their children to understand the kind of education that needs to be pursued in a "flat" world.
MarianV on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Mr. Friedman's theory of a "flat" world is a world without boundaries to free trade. Basically it is an arguement for globalization, the removal of all trade barriers which he believes is desirable to the economy of all nations. However, he ignores many present problems such as the rise of religious fundalmentalism, & global climate change which could intefere with this goal.
NathanIves More than 1 year ago
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
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
-6 More than 1 year ago
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.