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That Used To Be Us: What Went Wrong with America - and How It Can Come Back Paperback – 7 Jun 2012


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That Used To Be Us: What Went Wrong with America - and How It Can Come Back + The World is Flat: The Globalized World in the Twenty-first Century
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Product details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Abacus (7 Jun. 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0349000093
  • ISBN-13: 978-0349000091
  • Product Dimensions: 12.7 x 2.7 x 20 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 484,422 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

'A fascinating, chilling book. This book is daunting because it doesn't only apply to superpower America but to shrunken-power UK' Observer 'Aiming to fill the gap they think Obama has left, Friedman and Mandelbaum present an ambitious programme for retooling America' Financial Times 'Few could fundamentally disagree with the authors' diagnosis' Independent

Book Description

Pulitzer prize-winning, globally bestselling author of The World is Flat charts America's fall from power and influence - and assesses its paths ahead

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By S. A. Lee on 9 Sept. 2011
Format: Hardcover
"That Used to Be Us" delves deeply into the major problems confronting America. The book is well-written and uses a journalistic style similar to other books by Friedman: it includes a lot of anecdotes and quotations. The book starts by comparing a six-month project to fix two small escalators at a New Jersey train station with an eight-month project in China that resulted in the construction of a massive and ornate convention center. That comparison underlies the book's title -- the idea that the U.S. no longer leads the world in its ability to innovate and to efficiently create new things and ideas.

The book is divided into parts that focus on the major challenges we face: (1) Educating our workforce in an age where globalization and information technology have merged into a force that is disrupting job markets. (2) Overcoming the "War on Math," which has led us to recklessly cut taxes and ignore the impact of deficits and the growing dept burden, and the "War on Physics" which has led to rampant denial of the realities of climate change science and energy policy. (3) Political failure, driven by gridlock and the overwhelming influence of money in politics, and our failure invest in basic scientific research, critical infrastructure and to implement and maintain rational regulation of markets.

The part of the book that will perhaps be of particular interest to many readers is the discussion of how technology and globalization are impacting jobs and careers. The job market has been "polarized" so that routine, middle skill jobs have been eliminated, leaving only high skill jobs requiring lots of education and lots lower wage jobs that so far cannot be automated or offshored.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Neal on 27 April 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Another Friedman book, Hot, flat and crowded was quite depressing because it spelt out exactly what was wrong with the world but the 2nd half recovered by explaining how to put it right. This book has much the same premise but from a wholly American view.
However the solutions to the current, real-world problems that 'That used to be us' suggests has are not getting done and everyday seem to further away from politians minds. As they explain, America has a vital role to play in the modern world but if they continue on the present path the whole world suffers. Argueing about exactly where the president was born, a mostly pointless exercise in Afganistan and illegal immigrant arguements, while the rest of the world (especially Asia) improves its education, infrastructure, and development is suicide.
As a European living and working in Asia, i found this book about and for Americans personally scary.
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By Rolf Dobelli TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 12 Dec. 2011
Format: Hardcover
In this self-styled "wake-up call and pep talk," award-winning journalist Thomas L. Friedman and professor and foreign policy expert Michael Mandelbaum offer their diagnosis of what they see as America's decline and set out some ideas to arrest its fall. In the first part, they largely succeed, detailing with illustrative, eye-opening stories and studies the depth of the problems Americans have ignored for too long: globalization, technology, national debt and climate change. However, they lose some steam in their prescriptive section where the challenges they outline seem to call for more than a pep talk - although their ideas are worth considering and are great fodder for debates on real issues. Be prepared: Parts of this book make you want to cry; others make you want to scream; some pages do both. getAbstract suggests this bestseller to those in education, business and the public sector who want to understand the magnitude of America's challenges before rolling up their sleeves and getting to work on solutions.
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Format: Paperback
Maybe it's me but when I see a title like this I assume that I'm going to be presented with cold hard facts unburdened with oodles of explanations and flashbacks from the past. I'm not interested in how the authors came to their conclusions or opinions I'm interested in seeing the picture without all the side notes and shopping lists in the margins.
This book did not deliver. I want a revised version with less "soliloquies" and more structure because I appreciate the moments where I did gander some valuable information and perspective but they were scarce. Before anyone has a fit I bought this book on Amazon.com hence why my Amazon Verified Purchase badge will not show up.
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