Tag Archives: thomas l. friedman

The World is Flat by Thomas L. Friedman

The World is Flat by Thomas L. Friedman (unabridged audiobook read by Oliver Wyman): This book, while a reasonably interesting discussion of globalization, is way too long and repetitive. I can summarize it in a few bullet points:

* Outsourcing grunt work saves money and frees up Americans to be innovative and specialized. It also improves the standard of living in the countries receiving the new jobs.
* The internet = teh awesome.
* Collaboration benefits everyone.
* OMG they have computers in Asia!
* Americans need to buckle down in science and math education or they will be left behind.
* Change is difficult but inevitable.
* Knowledge-based work is like an ice cream sundae.
* Sometimes companies in one country have employees in other countries, or they work with companies in other countries.
* Terrorists have access to the same technologies we do.
* The world is flat. The world is flat. The world is flat.

Okay, so maybe I’m being a tad flip. This was probably far more groundbreaking when it came out in 2004 and the off-shoring/outsourcing panic really started picking up speed. Though I didn’t come away with any major new insights, I did enjoy a lot of the little nuggets of information, like the Indian school for untouchables and JetBlue’s housewives in Utah. And there was certainly no shortage of anecdotes.

Basically, if you’re new to the globalization game and want a general overview with lots of specific examples, this is a good book for you. However, if you’re already reasonably familiar with just how multinational your average multinational corporation is, you might want to look for something more in depth.

One final note: the narrator was okay, but it was a little strange how he gave everyone he quoted a subtle Indian accent.

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