The World is Flat.

May 31, 2008

by Thomas L. Friedman.

When I first heard about this book it was not amongst my priorities (for me, economics == boring). But after hearing recommendations from two different sources, I decided to give it a try. I ended up listening to the audio version instead.

What I liked:

  • Good answers to questions like:
    • Why does India have some of the best programmers?
    • Why are most of my gadgets made in China / Taiwan / Malaysia?
    • Why does Amazon.com not ship electronics to Moldova?
    • Why do I find it strange that my parents expect their employer to keep them hired for life?
  • The author really did his homework. You wouldn’t expect to be finding Linux references in an economics book, would you? (That’s just an example.)
  • Good thoughts to consider about the positive side of globalisation. The few globalisation critics I have asked couldn’t give me a good answer to what’s so BAD about it.
  • Although written from an American point of view, the book contains enough ideas for people in the third world to be worth the read.

What I liked less:

  • It is written in a very repetitive (self-help-like) style. To avoid falling asleep I listened to it at 1.3x speed
  • This is not the author’s fault, but there doesn’t seem to be a definite way for countries like Moldova to really get into the “flat world”. India made it, but it seems like we have neither their optimism nor their hard-work genes…

This book has convinced me (yet again) that this is the perfect era to live in, and that technology and globalisation are solving more problems than they are creating. The world is moving in the right direction, and there is no point turning towards the past and swimming against the current.

A quotation from the final chapter:

When memories exceed dreams, the end is near.

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