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The World is Flat: The Globalized World in the Twenty-first Century Paperback – 5 Jul 2007

3.6 out of 5 stars 39 customer reviews

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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: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (39 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 70,765 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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.


Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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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Format: Paperback
"The world is flat" is one of the more overrated business book's I have read recently. The primary focus on the 10 factors that supposedly has flattened the world, suffers from the same problem of many other retrospective books. Its Friedman's opinions not researched facts. The flatteners are described based on stories of companies who had succeeded. If the flatteners where to have credibility, they should have been published first, and then used by a number of companies. Then again, the first part of the book it more of a history lesson than anything else.

The second part of the book primarily describes the US business leaders' inability to adapt new managerial styles combined with the inherent problem with a country that lacks educational opportunities for the majority of the population. Many of Friedman's new and innovative solutions to business problem in the US are based alone on cutting cost. This clearly demonstrates the inability of US business leaders to be innovative. The US managerial style to profit in business is the discount WallMart model with more for less. An approach that leaves US businesses crippled and open for hostile take over or filing chapter 11. If work and services truly move to the part of the world where it is done best and cheapest, next up are the CEO of all the major US based companies. The huge compensations packages they receive without providing worker, shareholder or the community with value tags their job as up for global sourcing. India, China or South Africa all have highly educated business leader at a fraction of the cost of a US executive.
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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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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Flat. So what does that mean? Well, if you are travelling Delta airlines or British Airways, and you need to talk to lost-luggage, when you make your call you are talking to someone in Bangalore. In India. There are some 250,000 people working in call centres in India, dealing with issues from all around the world. Often, when you ring customer-service, re you new computer or whatever, you may think you are ringing someone down the street, or at least in your own country. Chances are you are talking to someone in India. And consider the following staggering fact. There is a McDonald's drive-through restaurant in Missouri where, in the drive-in lane, when you roll down your window to speak into the microphone to place your order, the person you are talking to is not in the restaurant, but in a call centre 1,450 kilometres away, in Colorado ! The call centre person relays your order back to the restaurant, and by the time you drive to the collection point, your meal is ready. Apparently this service is faster, and creates fewer mistakes, than the in-house system. The really, really mind boggling thing is that, before long, that call centre could also be in Bangalore, in India, from where the service would work equally well, and be considerably cheaper, than from Colorado. That is what Thomas Friedman (TF) means by a Flat World. He means a smaller world. A world where because of fundamentally changing technologies, we are now not just competing with the local guys and gals for our jobs, or with the other firms in our own country for that order that we need so badly; we are now competing with people on the far side of the world, who often can do our jobs better, faster and cheaper than we can. Sobering stuff.Read more ›
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