Summary and book reviews of The World Is Flat by Thomas Friedman

The World Is Flat

A Brief History of the Twenty-first Century

by Thomas Friedman

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

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Book Summary

A timely and essential update on globalization, its successes and discontents, powerfully illuminated by one of our most respected journalists.

When scholars write the history of the world twenty years from now, and they come to the chapter "Y2K to March 2004," what will they say was the most crucial development? The attacks on the World Trade Center on 9/11 and the Iraq war? Or the convergence of technology and events that allowed India, China, and so many other countries to become part of the global supply chain for services and manufacturing, creating an explosion of wealth in the middle classes of the world's two biggest nations, giving them a huge new stake in the success of globalization? And with this "flattening" of the globe, which requires us to run faster in order to stay in place, has the world gotten too small and too fast for human beings and their political systems to adjust in a stable manner?

In this brilliant new book, the award-winning New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman demystifies the brave new world for readers, allowing them to make sense of the often bewildering global scene unfolding before their eyes. With his inimitable ability to translate complex foreign policy and economic issues, Friedman explains how the flattening of the world happened at the dawn of the twenty-first century; what it means to countries, companies, communities, and individuals; and how governments and societies can, and must, adapt. The World Is Flat is the timely and essential update on globalization, its successes and discontents, powerfully illuminated by one of our most respected journalists.

An expanded and revised version was published in hardcover in April 2006.

ONE
While I Was Sleeping

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 ...

Please be aware that this discussion guide may contain spoilers!
Introduction

Whether in Bangalore or Beijing, Friedman asks brilliant questions of everyone he encounters. The truth he distills from their responses brings a new perspective to the ways in which CEOs and religious radicals, entrepreneurs and garden-variety consumers, all create ripples that stir the geopolitical tide. The World Is Flat shows how each of us has an undeniable stake in globalization.

  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 throughout history?

  2. Thomas L. Friedman discusses the many occupations that can now be outsourced or ...

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Reviews

BookBrowse Review

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   (Reviewed by BookBrowse Review Team).

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Media Reviews

Warren Bass - The Washington Post

This book showcases Friedman's gift for lucid dissections of abstruse economic phenomena, his teacher's head, his preacher's heart, his genius for trend-spotting and his sometimes maddening inability to take himself out of the frame.

Publishers Weekly (starred review)

....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.

Kirkus Reviews

Those who look forward to a planet of Wal-Marts and Dells will be charmed. Those who don't-well, welcome to the flat world.

The Economist

Mr Friedman's book is subtitled "A Brief History of the Twenty-First Century", but it is not brief, it is not any recognisable form of history--except perhaps of Mr Friedman's own wanderings around the world--and the reference to our new, baby century is just gratuitous. Even according to Mr Friedman's own account, the world has been globalising since 1492.....Rarely has so much information been collected to so little effect.

Reader Reviews

Tapsearch Com Editor

Friedman's Flat World is a mirage and history will confirm this
Thomas Friedman is an evangelist for Free Traders and Globalization. You do not need any conspiracy theories to know this thing called Free Trade is not trade at all and Globlization has been driven by elite groupings outside of any real democratic ...   Read More

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Beyond the Book

Thomas L. Friedman has won the Pulitzer Prize three times for his work at The New York Times. He is the author of three best-selling books: From Beiruit to Jerusalem (1989), winner of the National Book Award for nonfiction and still considered to be the definitive work on the Middle East, The Lexus and the Olive Tree: Understanding Globalization (1999), and Longitudes and Attitudes: Exploring the World After September 11 (2002). He lives in Bethesda, Maryland, with his family (more).

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