The World Is Flat

The World Is Flat

A Brief History of the Twenty-first Century

Book - 2005 | First edition.
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When scholars write the history of the world twenty years from now, and they come to the chapter "Y2K to March 2004," what will they say was the most crucial development? The attacks on the World Trade Center on 9/11 and the Iraq war? Or the convergence of technology and events that allowed India, China, and so many other countries to become part of the global supply chain for services and manufacturing, creating an explosion of wealth in the middle classes of the world's two biggest nations, giving them a huge new stake in the success of globalization? And with this "flattening" of the globe, which requires us to run faster in order to stay in place, has the world gotten too small and too fast for human beings and their political systems to adjust in a stable manner?In this brilliant new book, the award-winning New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman demystifies the brave new world for readers, allowing them to make sense of the often bewildering global scene unfolding before their eyes. With his inimitable ability to translate complex foreign policy and economic issues, Friedman explains how the flattening of the world happened at the dawn of the twenty-first century; what it means to countries, companies, communities, and individuals; and how governments and societies can, and must, adapt. The World Is Flat is the timely and essential update on globalization, its successes and discontents, powerfully illuminated by one of our most respected journalists.
Publisher: New York : Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2005.
Edition: First edition.
ISBN: 9780374292881
Branch Call Number: 303.4833 Fri
Characteristics: viii, 488 pages ; 24 cm


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Dec 27, 2019

I have been a fan of Thomas Friedman because of his generally optimistic-capitalistic views (and also things like his support for Aadhar, his rare praise for the Chinese one-party autocracy etc) and this book - The World is Flat simply seemed to be an obvious extension of that theme. The book was brimming with capitalistic thoughts and ideas, and it appealed to my inner self.

The first half of the book was even more relatable because it was all about outsourcing and offshoring, not just in software but also other areas like accounting, manufacturing etc, something I've seen happening in my close circles. As I was doing a small project for Intuit at the time (part of their interview process), the accounting outsourcing really piqued my curiosity.

Loved the case-study of UPS as an example of insourcing - employees doing everything needed beyond just shipping.

The book, unsurprisingly, is teeming with historical trivia of all sorts. From Wikipedia's origins as's baby Nupedia which was eventually outgrown by Wikipedia (it's surprising how Nupedia was a wiki written by pros and experts, and then Wikipedia opened it up for everyone, and then Google did a Know which was Wikipedia written by pros and experts :)) to tit-bits about Walmart's innovative use of technology in handling supply chain, the book never ceases to amaze with its trifles.

Like the Golden Arches Theory in his previous book The Lexus and the Olive Tree, this book has a rather upgraded version of that theory called Dell's Theory of Conflict Prevention. While I'm not sure who valid it is with the ongoing Trade War between the US and China, it has fared well in almost all the examples given in the book, at least with Dell.

Finally, would like to say that this book is a great read if you fiercely love or ardently hate capitalism.

Jul 21, 2018

I found this book to be good read on the current economy of the world and the forces that brought about the changes and would definitely recommend it.

Aug 14, 2016

I made it to pg 52 where Mr Friedman expounds on the awesomeness of TRICKLE DOWN ECONOMICS as being what makes Capitalism such a wonderful system.

Apr 18, 2014

Only the most profound idiot could take anything Friedman writes seriously. And where do those multiple chins of his come from? Glad his father-in-law lost his fortune in the economic meltdown; couldn't have happened to a more deserving slumlord.

Jul 02, 2012

Good history reading but working with international teams have many obstacles in real life and book does not mention the down sides of international business.

May 21, 2012

Long read but pretty good intro into today's economy.

Jul 04, 2011

Authored by the Pulitzer prize-winning journalist, Friedman argues that ten business forces have leveled or flattened the global competitive playing field. Computers, the internet, collaboration among worldwide communities and new players challenge America's domination. His solution is rebuilding our scientific and engineering base, thereby making us the world's leading innovator. As an aside, he summarizes the impact on the Arab-Muslim world, why they are in conflict with America, and what we can do to resolve the conflict. Although twenty percent could be edited to tighten the argument, this is a VIB (Very Important Book) and a must read.

Sep 26, 2009

This book is preachy, boring and not a quarter as profound as I think the author wants it to be. You'll get as much reading the back cover as you will trudging through the whole thing.

Mar 27, 2009

This is one of those books where, about halfway through, I began to wish I'd been taking notes. Thomas Friedman argues that due to universal increases in access to technology, the earth -- if not physically -- is flattening with respect to growth and opportunity, becoming a much more level playing field.

It took a few chapters for Friedman to really engage me, but I was soon both engrossed and alarmed. It becomes crystal clear that in order for the US to maintain its powerhouse economic leadership in the world community, it must adopt a much more active, rather than complacent, attitude or eventually be trampled by any of several other rapidly growing economies currently nipping at its heels.

Oct 20, 2008

what internet has wrought

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