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The World is Flat: The Globalized World in the Twenty-first Century [Paperback]

Thomas L. Friedman
3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
RRP: 10.99
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Book Description

5 July 2007

The beginning of the twenty-first century will be remembered, Friedman argues, not for military conflicts or political events, but for a whole new age of globalization - a 'flattening' of the world. The explosion of advanced technologies now means that suddenly knowledge pools and resources have connected all over the planet, levelling the playing field as never before, so that each of us is potentially an equal - and competitor - of the other. The rules of the game have changed forever - but does this 'death of distance', which requires us all to run faster in order to stay in the same place, mean the world has got too small and too flat too fast for us to adjust? Friedman brilliantly demystifies the exciting, often bewildering, global scene unfolding before our eyes, one which we sense but barely yet understand. The World is Flat is the most timely and essential update on globalization, its successes and its discontents, powerfully illuminated by a world-class writer.

In his new chapters: 'If It's Not Happening, It's Because You're Not Doing It' and 'What Happens When We All Have Dog's Hearing?' the author explores both the benefits and disadvantages of the very latest developments in global communication. The emergent popularity of blogging, pod-casting, YouTube and MySpace enable the modern world citizen to broadcast their views to a potential audience of billions, and the proliferation of Internet access to even the poorest communities gives everyone who wants to the tools to address issues of social injustice and inequality. On the other hand the technology that seems to improve communication on a global scale causes it to deteriorate on a local scale. Identifying ours as 'The Age of Interruption', Friedman discusses the annoyance and dangers of BlackBerrys in meeting rooms, hands-free kits in conversation and using a phone or iPod whilst driving. In an age when we are always 'connected' via email or mobile phone how can we hope to concentrate on one thing without interruption? As expected the author has revitalised this new edition of The World Is Flat with timely insights into the nature of our flat world.


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Product details

  • Paperback: 672 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin; 2Rev Ed edition (5 July 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0141034890
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141034898
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 2.9 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 37,357 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author


Product Description

About the Author

Thomas Friedman has won the Pulitzer Prize three times for his work at The New York Times. He is the author of two best-selling books, From Beirut to Jerusalem, and The Lexus and the Olive Tree.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
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. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Not worth the time and money 11 Jan 2009
Format:Paperback
The book is hardly anything than a catchy title and continuing the same theme with the headings for the chapters and the "10 flattening forces" - whatever that means btw. The rest of the book is trying really hard to fill up the pages below the headings, but they fall far from being interesting or even accurate. The standard is set pretty low for accuracy - so much for recommending the book for school reading (see other reviews for the book).

I have to admit I only got as far as 1/2 of the book and could not read it any further. In a book from 2005 I was hoping to read more interesting things than the wonders of WWW and HTML and the likes.

The book is referring to Wikipedia a fair bit. Maybe next time it should spend the digital ink on updating Wikipedia itself - in case the writer has managed to find something new and accurate during that thorough research. As for the usual "10 things" theme from popular journalism - that could be summarized in 5 pages and published through one of the magazines (or alternatively read one of the reviews for this book doing just that here on Amazon).
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars too simplistic though very good fairytale 22 Dec 2007
Format:Paperback
Thomas Friedman charms the readers with his grand story of a fast changing world in a borderless life of business, wealth, competition and entrepreneurship. Interesting read, but his vision and messages are too narrow and even too simplistic. What is more, his knowledge about China and India and other parts of the world is less than profound. More serious readers should also read 2 other new books: 1. China's global reach; 2. China and the new world order, both by Chinese journalist/consultant George Zhibin Gu, which offers more dynamic and realistic insights on emerging China and India in relation to the established West.
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25 of 29 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A More Rounded View 1 Aug 2006
Format:Paperback
Other Amazon readers' reviews put me right off this book (all over in 10 pages etc). But my boss asked me to read it, so I persevered. I'm glad I did. Despite the 569 pages (not including anything so outmoded as a bibliography), and despite the many and often very lengthy examples and case-studies, not to mention the long quotes from other writers, there are important messages in this book. It's a good speed-read, if you get my drift. I recommend it on that basis.

Freidman makes a bold claim. Around 2000 a triple convergeance occurred which created a new historical era. Ten flatteners (i.e. changes) created a new, flatter, global playing field. Businesses and individuals (especially would-be zippies from India, China and the former Soviet Union) began to move from vertical to horizontal ways of creating value (i.e. doing business). People suddenly gained access to the flat world platform. Walls, ceiling and floors blew away. Out went command and control. In came connect and collaborate. Noone knows anymore who is exploiting who. Our jobs are being digitalized, automated and outsourced. To survive as a new untouchable middler you'd better become a great orchestrator, synthesizer, explainer, leverager, adapter, or a passionate personaliser. Failing that, just be brilliant, like Madonna or a cancer specialist. Failing that, just be well anchored, like a dustman.

Ok, I parody rather than paraphrase. Readable it always isn't. But that's got most of the bad stuff out of the way. Not all the quotes are bad: "It is a difference of degree so great - of low-cost interconnectivity, of individual empowerment, of global newworks for collaboration - that it is a difference in kind." This it least a bold and stimulating claim which is worthy of examination.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Verbose but stimulating 3 Jun 2007
Format:Paperback
Yes, this is very much a US-centric book, with plenty of criticism towards the US nevertheless. It is aimed at an American audience and it does not claim to be the definitive work on China or India.

Yes, it is verbose and brimming with personal anecdotes sometimes masquerading as hard data. But it still presents the enormous revolution -- a series of extraordinary events that have converged -- that is so overwhelming and rapid that most of us simply have not had time to even begin to process what is happening to us. You may not agree with everything he says -- including the solutions he suggests -- but this book is well worth reading. You don't have to agree with everything he says, and it is superficial in parts. Nevertheless I am certain that Americans and Western Europeans would be challenged by this book.

As a Career Counselor, I think there is much food for thought about the world of work and skills needed in tomorrow's marketplace ... which will be here much sooner than we think.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars unbelievably trivial 24 Nov 2010
Format:Paperback
Nothing but empty calories, fancy dressed-up metaphors, repetitions, and silly ranting. Having read Chang Ha-Joon's wonderful book Bad Samaritans, I decided to check out if this book was really as bad as Ha-Joon says. And, well, it is.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
By The Emperor TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I quite enjoyed it. I saw it more as a bright and breezy (though very long) journalistic piece rather than as serious analysis.
Quite a few clichés. The Chinese are basically robots and everyone in United States can become software billionaires.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A long, long journey... 4 Oct 2010
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I think that if you're familiar with the internet, follow a few blogs, maybe you are aware of globalization, outsourcing and some real basic business principles then just skip this one. I can imagine the big cat CEO of yesteryear rolling into his company and talking about this 'amazing' book he's found and how the world is like 'so connected!'. For the rest of us it's just a long, long drawn out process in which Friedman (who seems to reference absolutely nothing) tells us how well travelled he is and how, if we don't act right now, we're all going to miss out to China who will control the world. I got a sense of 'justice served' when reading how America was doomed by the clever Indians and how the US took their eye of the ball post 9/11 and went to fight terrorism instead. I stopped 4/5's into the book (thought I'd done quite well, actually). I don't like Friedman very much - he talks of UAVs/drones empowering junior commanders on the battlefield which couldn't be further from the truth. The UAVs just give the senior command change the ability to have complete oversight, so they don't have to trust or empower anybody - they can do it themselves. If you want a better read, go for A Brief History of Neoliberalism - somehow it seems like an antidote to Friedman's 'look how clever I am at discovering supply chain management' rubbish. Seriously, if you're reading this on a 'computer' skip it - you know it already.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent
Excellent service! Thank you very much! As good as it describer. Product in very good condition. Quick delivery as well. Arrived within 3 working days.
Published on 15 Oct 2011 by liliapony
5.0 out of 5 stars The world is flat
This book has opened my eyes. I have experienced many changes in business over the last 20 years, with the inception of the internet and globalization. Read more
Published on 29 Sep 2010 by Michele Paloschi
5.0 out of 5 stars I now love outsourcing
I bought this book about couple of years ago through Amazon recommendation but I did not start to read it until June 2010 when a friend told me how interesting the book is. Read more
Published on 9 July 2010 by Oo Alabede
2.0 out of 5 stars Well written, mostly ignorant...
Here is a journalist who has been to a few places in his time and subsequently has formed an opinion of the world as being 'flat', that is, a more equal and less divided world... Read more
Published on 7 April 2010 by John London
5.0 out of 5 stars The World is flat
The book is very interesting.Is not just economic book,sometime is even funny:)
Nice and easy book for everybody.
Published on 22 Feb 2010 by Maja A. Gach
5.0 out of 5 stars AWESOME READ!
New Age reading. People really are naive when it comes to stuff like this. There will always be an army of people somewhere on this planet willing to do your job cheaper, faster... Read more
Published on 24 Nov 2009 by Salman Jaffer
5.0 out of 5 stars Very interesting book
This book is a wonderful and interesting trip through the history of very recent developments to the way we comunicate today. Read more
Published on 17 April 2009 by Jose Oliveira
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting concept, though explored too narrowly
First off this book is mind-blowing, sadly that all happens in the first 100 pages. The rest is just another series of examples that don't advance the argument or shed new light on... Read more
Published on 25 Feb 2009 by Adam "Reviewboy" Yorkie'bar
5.0 out of 5 stars Far Ranging and Insightful
Far reaching, eloquent and insightful, The World is Flat is a book more people should read. Looking towards the future with a good understanding of the past and the current,... Read more
Published on 2 Jan 2009 by P. Robertshaw
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