Framing the Dialogue

The World Is Flat

You’ve all heard about the global economy, globalization, and how small the world has gotten in the last few decades.  I sell on ebay and have shipped all over the world…from my house.  That’s globalization.  That is not really what this book is about.

Thomas L. Friedman believes that rapid advances in technology and communications has flattened the world.  From the fall of the Berlin Wall to “outsourcing,” The World Is Flat discusses ten forces (political events, innovations, and companies) that flatten the world.  You will be amazed at what some companies are doing.  If you think UPS just ships packages, you will be surprised by what Brown can do for you.

Regardless of whether you want to participate in the flattened world, this book should be on your reading list.  Remember rest is rust.  There are many examples and recommendations of what the United States needs to do to stay on top.

One example that stuck with me was his description of a trip through Japan on a high-speed train.  A colleague was working on his computer wirelessly and without interruption.  “I am slightly obsessed with the fact that Japan, not to mention most of the rest of the world, has so much better wireless connectivity than America.”  Japan’s connectivity is remarkable, but you need to remember that Japan is not even as big as California.

The only part of the book that I found tedious was how Mr. Friedman blames most of the United States’ shortcomings on President Bush.  Fortunately, he saves this until near the end (feel free to skip that part).  Fingers didn’t need to be pointed; there is plenty of blame and work to be done.

Read the book; skip the sermon towards the end.

Note:  I read Release 2.0 and based my review on that book.  Release 3.0 is now out.

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