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The World is Flat: A Brief History of the Globalized World in the Twenty-first Century Hardcover – 28 Apr 2005

3.8 out of 5 stars 20 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 496 pages
  • Publisher: Allen Lane; Underlining edition (28 April 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0713998784
  • ISBN-13: 978-0713998788
  • Product Dimensions: 15.6 x 4.3 x 24.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 922,175 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

3.8 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
The World is Flat by Thomas Friedman describes how the world is becoming flatter and flatter and how it affects, and will continue to affect, each and everyone of us. Friedman uses the term 'flat' as a metaphor for the fact that "the global playing field is being leveled". In other words, he believes that with today's technology, physical boundaries such as geographical distance are becoming less and less restrictive in the way business is done. Businesses no longer only have to compete with businesses located in their own geographical vicinity, but they have to compete with businesses all over the world.
The beginning of the book deals with how Friedman believed the world became 'flat' in the first place. He does this using his so called "10 Flatteners". These are world events ranging from the fall of the Berlin wall, to the emergence of the internet as a new medium of communication. He describes how in he feels that each of these '10 flatteners' had a major impact on the 'flattening' of the world. I feel that this part of the book is quite tedious to read, since much what Friedman states is just common knowledge. He doesn't charter any territory and anyone who follows the news once in a while will have heard of these ten 'flattening' forces.
The second part of the book is called "America and the Flat World". As you might have guessed this is about how America (and other Western countries) are affected by the 'flattening' of the world, and how they can take advantage of it. Firstly it describes the worrying trend that a lot of jobs previously done in the Western world can today be outsourced more cheaply and efficiently to countries such as China and India.
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Format: Hardcover
A member of the U.S. Congess donated a photograph to a local shop in Cape Town. He wrote across the bottom: "God bless America." Little did he understand what these words would mean in Cape Town: "America? Should God not bless the world?" The photograph would seem an appropriate metaphor for this book. The idea for the book was born when author Tom Friedman, a celebrated journalist, investigated outsourcing to India -- proof that "intellectual capital" may be delivered "from anywhere". As a result, he considered that "the global competitive playing field was being leveled" -- and decided to pursue the trend.

Is the world really flat (or flattening)? Is it flattening competitively, as Friedman suggests? Early on in the book, Friedman alluded to the dark side of such "flattening". He wrote: "But contemplating the flat world also filled me with dread . . ." My own first thoughts were: "Perhaps he thinks of the avarice of the West, or the deceitfulness and destruction of empire?" Yet he was thinking exclusively of "Al-Qaeda and other terrorist networks". This seemed bound to be a one-dimensional book. Did his attitude change as he developed his theme? Essentially, no. Some four hundred pages later, his main concern was "a fundamental interest in keeping the American dream alive".

Friedman considers that there have been "ten forces that flattened the world". #1. The "balance of power across the world" has tipped towards democracy. #2. "The computer and its connectivity [has become] inherently more useful for millions of people". #3. Connectivity has enabled "work flow" to be distributed worldwide. These flatteners, in turn, have empowered "new forms of collaboration", which represent Flatteners #4 to #9.
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By Donald Mitchell HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 29 May 2005
Format: Hardcover
The World Is Flat is an easy, if long, read about the nature of global competition among countries, companies and individuals as circumstances stood in 2004.
Let me describe his key points. Mr. Friedman begins by describing ten forces that were powerful in creating today's extreme business competition on a global scale (the fall of the Berlin Wall, advances in computer communications and software, reductions in cost to connect organizations together by computer-directed instructions, new ways of partnering and the rise of portable, real-time information access over the Internet). He then describes a triple convergence that has accelerated change: World-wide, real-time, flexible collaboration that allows more horizontal ways to provide value; companies learning how to use the new technologies to create new types of organizations, services and structures; and the entry of several billion new people into global business competition.
Mr. Friedman goes on to describe the implications of the 2004 world for the future. He sees a need for more education, greater specialization, learning new skills and moving up the ladder of adding more value . . . or a job, a company or a country will see its position degraded or even replaced by a more effective competitor elsewhere. For the United States, he sees a "quiet crisis" as other nations outrace its citizens for advanced education and work harder to compete. Today's lead can soon become tomorrow's obsolescence. In the meantime, consumers will benefit from cheaper imported goods and offshore services.
For developing countries, the challenge is greater. They were behind to start with. Mexico finds itself being displaced by China in serving the U.S. market, even though Mexico is right next door.
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