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Thank You for Being Late: An Optimist's Guide to Thriving in the Age of Accelerations Hardcover – 22 Nov 2016
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His most ambitious book - part personal odyssey, part commonsense manifesto. ... Friedman wants to explain why the world is the way it is - why so many things seem to be spinning out of control... after your session with Dr. Friedman, you have a much better idea of the forces that are upending your world, how they work together - and what people, companies and governments can do to prosper. You do have a coherent narrative - an honest, cohesive explanation for why the world is the way it is, without miracle cures or scapegoats. And that is why everybody should hope this book does very well indeed. (John Micklethwait The New York Times Book Review)
The globe-trotting New York Times columnist's most famous book was about the world being flat. This one is all about the world being fast ... His main piece of advice for individuals, corporations, and countries is clear: Take a deep breath and adapt. This world isn't going to wait for you (Fortune)
Engaging ... In some senses Thank You For Being Late is an extension of [Friedman's] previous works, woven in with wonderful personal stories (including admirably honest discussions about the nature of being a columnist). What gives Friedman's book a new twist is his belief that upheaval in 2016 is actually far more dramatic than earlier phases. (Gillian Tett Financial Times)
From the Inside Flap
From the Pulitzer Prize winner and No.1 international bestselling author of The World is Flat, an essential and entertaining field guide to thriving in the twenty-first century.
We all sense it - something big is going on. You feel it in your workplace. You feel it when you talk to your children. You can't miss it when you read the newspapers or watch the news. Our lives are speeding up - and it is dizzying.
In Thank You for Being Late, a work unlike any he has attempted before, Thomas L. Friedman exposes the tectonic movements that are reshaping the world today and explains how to get the most out of them.
Friedman's thesis is that to understand the twenty-first century, you need to understand that the planet's three largest forces - Moore's law (technology), the market (globalization) and Mother Nature (climate change and biodiversity loss) - are all accelerating at once, transforming the workplace, politics, geopolitics, ethics and community. An extraordinary release of energy is reshaping everything from how we hail a taxi to the fate of nations to our most intimate relationships. It is creating vast new opportunities for individuals and small groups to save the world - or perhaps to destroy it.
Thank You for Being Late is a work of contemporary history that serves as a field manual for how to think about this era of accelerations. It's also an argument for 'being late' - for pausing to appreciate this amazing historical epoch we're passing through and reflecting on its possibilities and dangers. He shows us how we can anchor ourselves as individuals in the eye of this storm, and how communities can create a 'topsoil of trust' to do the same for their increasingly diverse and digital populations.
Written with his trademark vitality, wit, and optimism, and with unequalled access to many of those at the forefront of the changes he is describing all over the world, Thank You for Being Late is Friedman's most ambitious book - and an essential guide to the present and the future. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Perhaps it was the frightening aspect. Friedman’s analysis is that the modern world is experiencing a host of “accelerations” – things are changing at an ever faster pace, and those things are now interacting with each other to cause further acceleration. Increases in computing power, economic globalisation and climate change are the primary drivers, but there are others: in a two-page spread he presents 24 graphs, most of which show “hockey stick” curves with the uptick starting in 1950. Not all are bad, but the overall message is that things are not sustainable. Even if you dispute some of the data – like the graphs of extreme weather events, which may owe as much to increased insurance and building in areas prone to hurricanes and flooding – the case is a strong one. Moreover, Friedman says, just at the point where we most need trust and collaboration to help meet these challenges, behaviours are waning. They have not existed in the Middle East, he says, at any time in his adult life, but now they don’t exist in the US either, having started to break down during Reagan’s presidency. This book was written before Trump won the election, but I am sure that Friedman found that that rather proved his point.
I found the two penultimate chapters of the book most engaging. Friedman tells the story of the Minnesota suburb where he grew up, and which seems to have achieved a particularly high level of community cohesion and activity, and a lower level of racism (and anti-semitism) than most of the rest of the US. Even now, although the area has not been immune to the slide towards antisocial tendencies that the author feels is global (and often the consequence of social media), some present-day stories from Minnesota are used to illustrate the way we might make things better. He also presents 18 specific recommendations (most fairly US-specific) for new policies based on what he feels “mother Earth” would do – a rather random collection of recommendations ranging from funding a universal US medical system through a hypothecated consumption tax to giving security agencies the (controlled) right to monitor communications in order to counter terrorism, cyber and otherwise.
If I have a complaint about this book is that it could easily have been two or three books, and quite apart from making it rather long it does, at times, seem a slightly jumbled collection – perhaps based on stories he has written for the press over the years. Although I felt that perhaps he overstates the extent of the problems, Friedman states the case and offers solutions, and examples of where some of them appear to be working. Whether he will succeed in getting the world to slow down, to allow itself to be late from time to time, remains to be seen.
WHAT is this life if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare?—
No time to stand beneath the boughs,
And stare as long as sheep and cows:
No time to see, when woods we pass,
Where squirrels hide their nuts in grass:
Like such early events it is a poem, though not Earth-shatteringly brilliant that has stayed with me my whole life and I have taken comfort in it when the stress of daily life has made me forgot that I have my own personalise pause button that I am at liberty to press at any time.
Now I am getting on and have all the leisure time I need I still discover the need to reapply said button and take time out to just sit and look, especially if I am outside where the world's tumultuous and apparently unending chaos impinges on my every day meditations.
Thomas Friedman's mighty tome is a wake up call to look at the speed the technological age into which we have all entered, whether we want to or not, and to realise that though we do basically need to buy into it if we are to survive at all we can still remember Davies's poem and wherever we chance to be in this ever spinning universe, take the time to be still.
The data and informed research in the book is laudable written by a man who has much on his mind; perhaps he has the time, that we mere mortals do not, to read, examine, collate and reference ~ it is ,after all his job ~ and then lead us, readers to go where he has been.
This is a book that requires a great deal of reading so take some time out and realise that your tardiness need no longer be an excuse
I feel like a bluebottle in a sugar bowl, being lead from one sweet thing to another, with an endless supply ever before me. This is good writing and it engages my brain as well as my sweet tooth.
Starting with a look at Moore's law, the author talks about what he sees as the key forces that are shaping our world in and around 2016. He quotes Joni Mitchell's famous line 'they paved paradise and put up a parking lot' to help make his point regarding climate change. He also takes us for a look at the issues of intelligent assistants and he also offers a really interesting read in his chapter 'is God in cyberspace?'
Without giving too much away, this is a really good read which will stretch your thinking; it allows you to disagree, but you will not want to do so strongly, as you will not want to be rude to this endearing author. Will this book change the world? - maybe not, but it will convince you that you are on the right track to understand the problems and maybe start a change from that.
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