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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Long-winded but well written
Firstly a health warning - it's a REALLY long book. Even skimming some sections it took me a long while to read it. Overall it is a good if somewhat long winded read. As someone working in technology I found it a little patronizing in places but that could just be a function of its target audience not working day to day with some of the technologies he's discussing...
Published on 6 July 2007 by James Taylor

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3.0 out of 5 stars The World is Flat, still a worthwhile read.
`The World is Flat' was published for the first time in 2005 to wide acclaim and thanks to its success (It won the first Financial Times and Goldman Sachs Business Book of the Year Award) had quite an important impact. Whereas at that time it pointed out something new to its readership, 8 years later the ideas developed have become quite mainstream. I do not know if...
Published 12 months ago by Joost Strickx


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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Long-winded but well written, 6 July 2007
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Firstly a health warning - it's a REALLY long book. Even skimming some sections it took me a long while to read it. Overall it is a good if somewhat long winded read. As someone working in technology I found it a little patronizing in places but that could just be a function of its target audience not working day to day with some of the technologies he's discussing.
The book lays out a series of trends and technologies that have, in his phrase, flattened the world by making it more interconnected than ever before. He goes on to discuss how this fits with globalization, how companies are reinventing themselves in the face of these changes, some of the problems and risks and what kinds of political and public policy impacts it might all have.
If you are a patient reader this is a good introduction and discussion of the issues facing business and government in the Internet era. If you are not, you might want to find something shorter.
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3.0 out of 5 stars The World is Flat, still a worthwhile read., 3 July 2013
`The World is Flat' was published for the first time in 2005 to wide acclaim and thanks to its success (It won the first Financial Times and Goldman Sachs Business Book of the Year Award) had quite an important impact. Whereas at that time it pointed out something new to its readership, 8 years later the ideas developed have become quite mainstream. I do not know if before the publication of this book `outsourcing' and `offshoring' were well-known terms, now however a lot of the elements which contributed to `the flattening of our planet' (the globalization), have become quite familiar notions, daily discussed in the economic press. Currently the big theme is the shifting of the economic weight to Asia, and this is to a large extent due to the outsourcing and offshoring by Western companies.
Everybody will be aware, by daily experience that the internet offers very diverse possibilities (as a source of information, as a facilitator of social networks, enabling to do transactions with far-off places...) which did not exist before. The last two decades enormous opportunities were offered globally to individuals. I was curious to know if the reading of this book in the year 2013 was still worthwhile.
It is. Not the least because I was not familiar with all the `forces' that Friedman points out having contributed to the flattening of the world (e.g. the `uploading' , i.e. Friedman-speak for the empowerment of individuals by the readily availability of advanced knowledge and technology, `insourcing', i.e. that companies incorporate the knowledge of specialized providers...).
However, Friedman does not limit himself to the description of the forces which contributed to the flattening of the planet, but he also offers remedies for the challenges and upheavals that this phenomenon creates. As such, this book, clearly having an American readership in mind, wants to show how America can tackle the challenges of increased global competition and how it can turn these into an advantage.
This book has its obvious flaws. I did have a problem with the subtitle `A brief history of the twenty-first century' as this clearly tends to enormous hyperbole and hubris. This book is not brief (more than 500 pages) and it is certainly not a comprehensive history of the century that at the moment of publication was only 5 years old.
Apparently, when one wants to write a popular book, one has to resort to simple language and use striking titles and use a catchy terminology, a recipe used with quite some success by the likes of Malcolm Gladwell (e.g. `algoholics' a term for the algorithm buffs, the `great leverage', the' great adapter' ...). Friedman uses the term `flatten' at nauseam, as if he wants to brainwash his readers. He drums home his message: the world is flat. The author tries to get his readers involved by directly addressing them and by his frequent references to his personal experiences. This reinforces the message that he wants to instill: that in our daily live the examples abound which point to the drastic changes in the world. Fact is that the book could be much shorter and this without having an impact on the message that Friedman wants to get across.

But about the contents. It is obvious that the phenomenon of globalization is still widely discussed. Outsourcing and offshoring are still as controversial as they were a few years ago. Somehow unsettling is that 8 years later, if Friedman would write the book now, he would most likely enumerate exactly the same remedies, in other words, the book might have been a huge success and might still be widely quoted, but it must be quite disheartening for the author to observe that his advice fell on deaf ears.
One can of course criticize this book on basis of its sometimes dogmatic defense of free trade, which at times seems to be extremely nave: why would it be that countries like China and India would allow the US to dominate the markets for high-value-added products and would focus exclusively on the production of goods lower on the value chain? This is a leap of faith to which I do not subscribe.
Some arguments have become much less convincing by the examples cited: Ireland is no longer the `poster child of good reform' that it was in 2005 when Germany was considered to lack the drive to do the necessary reforms... The world looks quite different now: and China does have problems of its own and is no longer the success-story of erstwhile.
This book made me very conscious of the consequences of the increased global competition as a result of some political events (Friedman attaches a high symbolic value to the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989) and some technological breakthroughs. The author goes into details about the opportunities offered and the challenges and treats created, illustrating this with often very telling anecdotes and examples. However he could have done it more succinctly.
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7 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The World Is Flat, 27 Aug 2006
By 
Pius (Netherlands) - See all my reviews
The World Is Flat: is an insightful book with a unique and interesting theory, which tries to explain a lot of the socio-economic, cultural and political trend in the world in a simple, anecdotal manner. Pleasurable to read and reminds me in some ways of Freakonomics, The Union Moujik, The Usurper and Other Stories. Most people will enjoy it too.
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20 of 36 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Flat world through clouded glasses, 13 Aug 2006
By 
B. S. Mann (Rockville, MD, USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Thomas Friedman is a good observer---and has a superficial understanding of the history in present. Rather feeble, he panders a lot, pretends to give the other side---its just deserved time---but he believes that history is static and something established in stone: like the Ten Commandments brought down by Moses, a messenger of TF's faith. He stated on the Fareed Zakaria show, today, that the destiny of Iraq was in the hands of its Sunni minority, it was a question of whether the Sunnis can adjust to a change in their power status in Iraq. He went on to compare this to the Palestinian attitude--they have not accepted Israel and are trying to fight with hundred years of history. TF is a good observer, but not a thinker, and looks at the world through the clouded glasses of his heritage. And thus--right and wrong are relative--it all depends on the side you are on. He personifies a typical American moderate (my way or highway with some sugar coating) when you are willing into buy on his pitching his faith. Hstory neither ends nor is it made, it always goes on. Third Reich was not to be history until 3,000; and American and Israeli hagemony: oh never. Hundred years he refers to are but about a three-fourth of human life span, mere 36, 500 days! But for the likes of TF the history begins from at that convenient point that has the most advantage to begin their sermon of their beliefs--so, indeed, there was a great wisdom in the creation of this island of Zionism in the middle of a sea of oil in Arabia, he seems to believe it is the history cast in stone. If you want to begin to understand history you should read John Gray--no not the Men are from Mars and Women are from Venus--but the Straw Dogs, and Al Qa-ee-da and What it Means to be Modern. Mr. Friedman rehashes, entertainingly though, what is published weekly in The Economist, and did also get a Pulitzer. Wonder what did this pundit think of Indians twenty years ago; wonder if he was aware of the history in the making, and did predictions of Churchill and Lee Kwan Yew on India bring tears to his eyes! The book is a good read, but says nothing new, and provides you with observations of current status of the history in the making--you may not need it if you have been awake, and his English is not bad. For real understanding, I recommend John Gray; and if you want it raw and hot and amateurish on the society read Intern Beth by Ayul Zamir (my biased friend, like me). Be warned, John Gray teaches European Thought at the Londodn School of Economics.
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The World Is Flat
The World Is Flat by The World Is Flat: A Brief History of the Twent-First Century (Foreign Edition) Edition: Reprint (Perfect Paperback - 2006)
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