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Hot, Flat, and Crowded: Why The World Needs A Green Revolution - and How We Can Renew Our Global Future Hardcover – 8 Sep 2008


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Allen Lane (8 Sept. 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 184614129X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1846141294
  • Product Dimensions: 16.1 x 3.8 x 24 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 152,390 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)


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Review

'Friedman is a prophet who foretells your doom and you not only believe him, you love him for it. Phenomenal' -- Lloyd Evans, Spectator

'Tom Friedman has done it again ... we should all pay attention ... Friedman is a global star' -- Financial Times, September 13th

Review

'Friedman is a prophet who foretells your doom and you not only believe him, you love him for it. Phenomenal'

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A. BOYES on 30 July 2009
Format: Hardcover
While the arguments are compelling, and his obvious passion to reverse the adverse effects of climate change are real, his method for achieving these ends is fatally flawed. He focuses on the idea that growth is essential and forgets that in order to produce all the solar panels and wind turbines we are going to need to fuel his 'energy internet', we will need a lot of chemicals and raw materials. Does he realise how many chemicals go into producing a solar panel? He seems to think that Americans and by default the rest of the world, can continue to indulge in consumption at unprecedented levels as long as we switch to using green electrons to fuel that consumption. Unfortunately, this ethic will not encourage people to have more respectful behaviour towards nature and our very limited resources.

He goes on to compare the race to become green with the Cold War and the arms race between America and Russia, only this time the race is between America and China as they try to 'outgreen' each other and become market leaders in the next global industry, energy efficiency and green electrons. The rest of the world doesn't get a mention, least of all the European Union which is currently a world leader in environmental standards and the Scandinavian countries where many of the ideas he hopes America will bring to the fore are already in place. Perhaps he should look across the waters and suggest collaboration between the US and the EU and indeed other countries instead of simply looking for market supremacy for the US.
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28 of 30 people found the following review helpful By Jeremy Williams on 17 April 2009
Format: Hardcover
The basic argument of `Hot, Flat and Crowded' is that the world is facing a series of challenges. ('Flat' refers to the internet creating a more level playing field) "Global warming, the stunning rise of middle classes all over the world, and rapid population growth have converged in a way that could make our planet dangerously unstable." As a result, we face the threat of energy poverty, petro-dictators, a biodiversity crisis, and climate change.

In his analysis, Friedman is great, but his solutions are way off the mark. His main answer is that America must ride to the rescue. Forgetting that the US is most responsible for our current crisis and has shown less inclination to fix it than almost any other country, it must now become "a beacon of hope and the country that can always be counted on to lead the world in response to whatever is the most important issue of the day."

Okay then. The US will lead us all out of crisis by going green, and this it will do by creating a smart national grid and by creating the right conditions for investment in renewable energy. Personal action and lifestyle changes will not be required.

Friedman's linking of the green agenda and nationalism is rather squirm inducing, although no doubt great for getting conservatives on side. To a non-American, it sounds like jingoism.

As well as being about national power, going green is also about "making America richer". Friedman cannot conceive of a future without infinite growth, no matter how at odds that might be with a true environmental awareness. "I start from the bedrock principle that we as a global society need more and more growth" he writes. That 'bedrock principle' is a very bad foundation for a book about sustainability.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Rolf Dobelli TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 20 April 2009
Format: Hardcover
On the whole, this book resembles a televangelist's Sunday morning sermon. It is full of passion, action and emotion. The "preacher," The New York Times columnist Thomas L. Friedman, exhorts a congregation of true believers with a rousing endorsement of their shared faith, hitting all the familiar themes, stories and touchstones, plus a heartfelt environmental alert. Even for nonbelievers, the spectacle is impressive. Friedman is a skilled coiner of phrases and he sure can work a crowd. To judge by the many interviews and conversations referenced in this book, he has gone to great effort to assemble a corpus of evidence in support of his argument. Baldly put, his message is that conventional wisdom about global warming is true: Because of irresponsible consumption, the world faces an environmental catastrophe of unprecedented magnitude. He explains that George W. Bush's administration was unconscionably negligent in this crisis, that most honest scientists agree something must be done, and that climate change deniers are mostly hirelings in the service of the oil industry or ideological conservatives unwilling to face facts. For any reader reasonably acquainted with the news media, much of what Friedman says, though urgent, will be somewhat familiar. However, getAbstract notes, he always has a strikingly entertaining and persuasive way of saying it.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Donald Mitchell HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 14 Oct. 2008
Format: Hardcover
If you oppose conservation and clean energy, I wonder why you would. Typical concerns relate to when conservation and clean energy reduce economic growth or reduce profits for some special interest in the near term. Longer term, most people would agree that conservation and clean energy make sense.

Journalist and social activist Thomas L. Friedman could have written a much shorter book if he had simply started with the premise that it's a good idea to have conservation and clean energy. He spends most of the book providing arguments in favor of those approaches.

Those arguments are related to these propositions:

1. Rising carbon dioxide levels are either causing global warming and more violent weather . . . or will at some point fairly soon.
2. Rapid population growth and concentration into urban areas are making pollution a greater problem.
3. Fast economic growth in the developing world is accelerating pollution.
4. Natural environments are disappearing at a rapid rate, taking with them weather-dampening resources and species which might have value that we don't yet appreciate.
5. Free markets encourage polluting rather than nonpolluting solutions.
6. Extractive energy sources encourage dictatorships, terrorism, and harm to women.

Most of these points are exemplified by an anecdote from when Mr. Friedman talked to someone while on a speaking tour, was traveling from country to country, or was helicoptering around to see some sight that interested him. Much of this book has a travelogue aspect, even though it is a book about social change.

When Mr. Friedman gets into his arguments in favor of laws, regulations, and tax incentives, his thesis is sometimes contradictory.
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