Review: Thomas Friedman, “The World is Flat”

Layout 1“The World is Flat” by Thomas Friedman, first published 2006.

Review by Matthew Boyle:

Readability: Easy at first, then drags, then easy (honestly)

Summary:  Friedman has produced a stunning tour de force of data and analysis describing the way the world is changing in terms of its global economy and in terms of what we have to learn to be able to cope! He analyses the factors that have made the world global as a workplace, and describes his visits to businesses in India, China and elsewhere that are using the net and various special tools to do work for many of the already industrialised nations. This is happening at a pace that you will not believe, and Friedman has ample facts to support his argument. His big thesis is that a new kind of learning approach to shift our work in the west to “high value” people centred work will be required and that we don’t have decades to do it. The internet has just turned 15, and already Indian call centres have “stolen” our traditional low wage work; what is less obvious is that they are beginning to do our high paid work as well.

Comments: This is a life changing read. I put this book down with a real sense that we need to radically shift our approach to learning; every politician should be made to read this book. Friedman’s wife is a teacher and that may have helped focus him on these learning challenges. The book flies by for the first half, and then I have to warn you, it gets a bit dull. The final 75 pages really fly by again as he analyses the role of culture in a nations suitability for winning on the playing fields of the new flat earth. A MUST READ……Really!




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