BookBrowse Reviews The World Is Flat by Thomas Friedman

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The World Is Flat

A Brief History of the Twenty-first Century

by Thomas Friedman

The World Is Flat by Thomas Friedman
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  • First Published:
    Apr 2005, 496 pages
    Paperback:
    Jul 2007, 640 pages

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Globalization: Good or Bad? Current Affairs

Reviewer opinion is divided over Friedman's latest, The World Is Flat, (following The Lexus and The Olive Tree). Those who are very familiar with the subject find it to be a bit of a damp squib, but those who aren't (or, more to the point, those who keep in mind that most of the reading public are not experts on globalization) feel it is a lively and provocative read supported by a swirl of anecdotes showing first hand how globalization is changing the lives of individuals all around the world, and suggesting how companies, countries and individuals will need to adapt if they wish to come out on top in our new flattened world. Friedman's advice for the US in particular is to invest in education, technology and training (haven't we heard that a few times before?)

First published in April 2005, a revised edition was published in July 2006 with 100 pages of new content. A paperback was due to be released in July 2006 but, due to the continuing success of hardcover sales, publication was put off until a couple of weeks ago. The paperback edition includes two new chapters: on how to be a political activist and how to manage our reputations and privacy in a world where we are all becoming publishers via the internet. Various statistics have also been updated.

If you're looking for alternative points of view, The Economist suggests two books as alternatives to Friedman's: In Defense of Globalization by Jagdish Bhagwati and Why Globalization Works by Martin Wolf (both published in 2004). Another book of possible interest is Three Billion New Capitalists: The Great Shift of Wealth and Power to the East by Clyde Prestowitz (published in June 2006).

Representative Reviews:
"....This is all familiar stuff by now, but the last 100 pages on the economic and political roots of global Islamism are filled with the kind of close reporting and intimate yet accessible analysis that have been hard to come by." - Publishers Weekly (starred review).

"If anyone should be able to explain the many complicated political, economic and social issues connected to the phenomenon of globalisation, it should be [Friedman]. What a surprise, then, that his latest book is such a dreary failure... Mr Friedman has discovered his metaphor for globalisation, and now nothing will stop him. He shows his readers no mercy, proceeding to flog this inaccurate and empty image to death over hundreds of pages." - The Economist.

This review is from the August 9, 2007 issue of BookBrowse Recommends. Click here to go to this issue.



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