The World Is Flat

A Brief History of the Twenty-first Century

by Thomas Friedman

Number of pages: 488

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

BBB Library: Technology and Globalization

ISBN: 9780374292881

About the Author

Thomas Friedman, a world renowned author and journalist, joined The New York Times in 1981 as a financial reporter specializing in OPEC- and oil related news and later served as the Chief Diplomatic, Chief White House, and International Economics Correspondent. He has traveled hundreds of thousands of miles reporting the Middle East conflict, the end of the cold war, U.S. domestic politics and foreign policy, international economics, and the worldwide impact of the terrorist threat. His foreign affairs columns are syndicated to one hundred newspapers worldwide.


Editorial Review

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.  

Book Reviews

"The metaphor of a flat world, used by Friedman to describe the next phase of globalization, is ingenious. It came to him after hearing an Indian software executive explain how the world's economic playing field was being leveled. For a variety of reasons, what economists call "barriers to entry" are being destroyed; today an individual or company anywhere can collaborate or compete globally." - The New York Times

"This leads Friedman to modestly compare his journey to Christopher Columbus - 'Columbus sailed with the Nina ... I had Lufthansa business class' - and lay out a rambling theory about globalisation. It ends with dire predictions of looming international competition, where, in Friedman's terms, industrialised economies will need to produce chocolate sauce rather than vanilla ice-cream." - The Guardian

"Friedman writes that the world is now entering the era of 'Globalization 3.0,' following Globalization 1.0, which ran from 1492 until 1800 and was driven by countries' sheer brawn, and Globalization 2.0, in which "the key agent of change, the dynamic force driving global integration, was multinational companies" driven to look abroad for markets and labor, spurred by industrial-age "breakthroughs in hardware" such as steamships, trains, phones and computers." The Washington Post

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Wisdom to Share

Yes, the world is flat. The world is connected.

Globalization 3.0 is driven not by major corporations or giant trade organizations like the World Bank, but by individuals.

There have been many flatteners along the century’s history, which contributed to the world being flat now.

The fall of the Berlin Wall on 11/9/89 unleashed forces that ultimately liberated all the captive people of the Soviet Empire.

The Cold War had been a struggle between two economic systems - capitalism and communism - and with the fall of the wall, there was only one system left.

If you were not a democratic society, if you continued to hold fast to highly regulated or centrally planned economies, you were seen as being on the wrong side of history.

Communism was a great system for making people equally poor.

The fall of the Berlin Wall was deeply unsettling. But for many others, it was a get-out-of-the-jail-free card.

The actual concept of the World Wide Web was a system for creating, organizing, and linking documents, so they could be easily browsed.

If the world was going to become really interconnected, the revolution needed to go to the next phase.

The world is being flat¬tened. I didn't start it and you can't stop it, except at a great cost to human development and your own future.

You can flourish in this flat world, but it does take the right imagination and the right motivation.

When the world goes flat, and you are feeling flattened, reach for a shovel and dig inside yourself. Don’t try to build walls.

The big shall act small.” One way that big companies learn to flourish in the flat world is by learning how to act really small by enabling their customer to act really big.

In a flat world, the best companies stay healthy by getting regular chest X-rays and then selling the results to their clients.

Outsourcing is for idealists.