Apr 27 2006

The World Is Flat

Published by at 8:05 am under Books

by Thomas Friedman

This book was a best seller last year and I’ve been ‘reading’ it since last fall. Actually, I read something like the first half (on the ten ‘flatteners’) last fall and then it was put into a pile of half read books and I’ve just gotten back to it. But along the way, I’ve picked it up and put it down many times. Sometimes interesting and sometimes irritating

You’ve likely heard the premise it explores: the world has been ‘flattened’ by globalization enabled by process and technological changes: primarily digital technology based and communications enabled by the internet. Most of the book is about the effect on business and commerce and stresses that any work that can be digitized and transmitted can be done anywhere in the world with the results retransmitted back to where they are needed. Similarly transportation aided and coordinated by electronic information flows has facilitated movement of physical labor to lower wage regions of the world. In its favor, there is some discussion of the dark side of the internet and of globalization, the unevenness of the the flattening and possible reversals (e.g. terrorist or war).

Caveats aside, the book is a pretty one sided telling of the tale that introduces and roughs out the phenomena. However, it doesn’t go very deep into it and doesn’t explore countervailing trends or reactions which will affect its development. I guess the aspect that kept arising and making me want to put the book down was the interminable interviews, conversations and meetings featuring the author and his influential ‘friends’. Too many with the author too central for a book that aspires to describe important aspects of world business, culture and politics.

Worth a skim, but too chatty and personalized for me to be enthusiastic. It is very easily read, but seemed to me to be too long for its content. Overall, worth a skim and dips here and there. Not worth study or even reading every word.

No responses yet

Trackback URI | Comments RSS

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.