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Hot, Flat, and Crowded: Why We Need a Green Revolution--and How It Can Renew America

3.67  ·  Rating Details ·  11,154 Ratings  ·  1,392 Reviews
In this brilliant, essential book, Pulitzer Prize-winningauthor Thomas L. Friedman speaks to America's urgent need for national renewal and explains how a green revolution can bring about both a sustainable environment and a sustainable America.

Friedman explains how global warming, rapidly growing populations, and the expansion of the world’s middle class through globaliz
Hardcover, 438 pages
Published September 8th 2008 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (first published January 1st 2008)
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Silent Spring by Rachel CarsonA Sand County Almanac and Sketches Here and There by Aldo LeopoldThe Lorax by Dr. SeussThe Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael PollanDesert Solitaire by Edward Abbey
Best Environmental Books
31st out of 580 books — 746 voters
The Devil in the White City by Erik LarsonFreakonomics by Steven D. LevittIn Cold Blood by Truman CapoteA Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill BrysonGuns, Germs, and Steel by Jared Diamond
Best Non-Fiction (non biography)
219th out of 4,001 books — 5,781 voters

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Community Reviews

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Feb 19, 2009 Ian rated it did not like it
Shelves: own, non-fiction
I haven't finished this book, but I feel like there are a few examples that if I don't get down, I will forget, and they illustrate how I feel about this book well.

First off, I'd like to mention that if this was a fiction book, it would get one star. Having recently ventured into the nonfiction category more and more, and having been so pleased with Naomi Klein, Noam Chomsky, and Bob Woodward, I took a recommendation and bought this hefty little bugger.

What I wasn't expecting is that the style w
Oct 26, 2008 Ray rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: concerned citizens
Not a quick read to take to the beach on a summer afternoon, but the topic and ideas presented are too important to ignore. People sometimes quickly dismiss books about environmental issues, assuming it will lead to the condemning of science, technology, and societal advances, instead proposing a regression toward a simpler 1800's style lifestyle. What makes the book different to me is that Friedman has researched and described solutions which exist, have been proven, make both environmental as ...more
Dec 05, 2008 Darrick rated it really liked it
Shelves: audio, 2008
In two words; we're screwed.

I had a feeling this was the case but this book really paints a vivid picture of our screw'dness. According to Friedman all the stars really need to align, and fast, in order for us (humans) to reverse global warming and not go extinct. Here's what needs to happen:

1.) The US needs to get our heads out of our pants and start pumping tons of money (both private and public) into green energy.

2.) The US needs to enstate a gas floor so that gas prices cannot go below say
If you know a fair amount already about the current ecological/environmental situation of our world, I recommend skimming if not skipping the entire first half of the book. As for the second half, Friedman has good points about how to change policy, encourage technology, etc. to solve our problems. However, my biggest issue with this book is how talky it was. 100 pages easily could have been trimmed off the four-hundred pages. Friedman likes examples and anectdotes, LOTS of them. I often found ...more
Oct 11, 2008 Erik rated it really liked it
Much as Michael Pollan’s In the Defense of Food was a logical sequel to The Omnivore’s Dilemma, this latest current affairs book by Friedman is the logical next-step after reading The World is Flat, Friedman’s last treatise on the nature of a post-industrial world in which brain-power and a better educated populace will define the future of the world. In this passionately articulated follow-up, Friedman details and argues for a green revolution that needs to take hold of America if it hopes to ...more
Aug 18, 2013 Joseph rated it really liked it
After half a dozen false starts, I've figured out that I don't have a clever way to summarize Friedman's environmental opus; Hot, Flat and crowded. But I did find that in my read-through I'd marked ten sections I found particularly illuminating and so with apologies to David Letterman I'd like to present my review using Friedman's own words, with some editing.

The top ten quotes that indicate Hot, Flat, and Crowded is worth a read.

#10. "15 to 20 percent of all primates have been described by scie
K.D. Absolutely
My second time to read a book by Thomas L. Friedman (born 1953). He is an American columnist (New York Times Foreign Affairs), journalist and author. The first book I read by him was The World Is Flat: A Brief History of the Twenty-first Century (tbr) but I was not able to finish it because a former colleague borrowed and did not return it. But since the world is flat, I hope the book will find its way back to me. Hah.

Anyway, Friedman still discusses globalization (main theme of The World is Fla
Dec 05, 2012 Arminius rated it really liked it
This book states what is wrong with the energy world and ways to fix it. Mr. Friedman correctly addresses the energy issues as problematic. The best information in this book is his terrorist causing theory. He states that Saudi Arabian extremely wealthy oil barrens are responsible for funding Al-Qaeda and other anti-western terrorist organizations while Americans are paying the salaries of these wealthy Saudi’s through high oil prices. He argues that when oil prices are low there are far less ...more
brian tanabe
Mar 16, 2009 brian tanabe rated it really liked it
I thought I would have questions about a journalist's ability to effectively write on the subject of sustainability (given that he cut his teeth on the Middle East) -- but that presupposition proved false. I thought perhaps Friedman's attempt would get bogged down by anecdote, too encumbered with trying to prove his point -- but here too he did not fail. And yet in the end I fear the warning bell he wishes to ring will not be heard by enough... or rather will not move enough of us, create enough ...more
Aug 01, 2009 Donna rated it it was amazing
I finished this book a couple of days ago, and I would have reported on it sooner, but I've been busy becoming a more responsible citizen. A quick inventory revealed that I still had a few incandescent bulbs around the house, which I've now changed out for energy-efficient CFLs. I've been pricing hybrid cars, and by this time next week, will have traded in both our family Tauruses for cars that get twice the mileage.

If only every adult in America would read Hot, Flat, and Crowded. The author, wh
Oct 23, 2008 Michel rated it liked it
Shelves: pol
Ever since 'From Beirut to Jerusalem' (the best book, bar none, on the Middle East), I have read Tom Friedman's books ('Longitudes and Attitudes', 'Lexus and Olive Tree', 'The World is Flat') and I felt the same: he basically rewrites his NYT column, in a somewhat diluted and less focussed way, adds a few examples and boom: new book.
This one does not escape this think-lite approach (and BTW most of the ideas come straight out of Obama's New Energy program, published online last year. The sincere
Oct 19, 2008 Cheri rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Anyone who cares about America's Economy
Shelves: science
Every time I hear Thomas Friedman speak, I feel energized and excited. He always has an interesting take on innovation and change, and something of a positive attitude, while never resembling a Dr. Pangloss.
Friedman advocates America dedicating itself to solving environmental problems not just for reasons of stewardship or global warming, but because he fervently believes that environmental innovation can renew the American economy and it's standing in the world. It is a reasonable hypothesis a
Aug 09, 2009 David rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: everyone should read it
Hot, Flat, and Crowded by Thomas L. Friedman

This book alternately scares the hell out of me and gives me hope for the possibilities in innovation and science that could one day stem the tide of carbon emissions that are hurting our planet and killing my friends the polar bears.

At the risk of giving it too much credit, this is a book that everyone should read. From the title, “hot” refers to global warming, which, Friedman suggests, is really more like “global weirding”, giving rise to droughts i
Theresa Leone Davidson
May 27, 2013 Theresa Leone Davidson rated it it was amazing
I'm not sure why I read books like this as they are scarier than any horror novel, and if I'd ever wanted children, I sure could NOT read them, as the future for the world's children is, indeed, a bleak one. Friedman makes the argument that species loss, deforestation, economic growth around the world, energy use, petropolitics, and global warming are all interconnected, and while he lays down in very specific terms a way we can deal with it all, the backbone it will take for the world's leaders ...more
May 26, 2015 Crank rated it really liked it
Tom Friedman applies his knowledge of the IT revolution and Middle Eastern petropolitics to the emerging world of cleantech, or, as he likes to call it, Energy Technology (ET). If you've been reading his columns since "The World is Flat" there isn't much new here, but he does synthesize it all very well. Each chapter is like a very long, well-reasoned op-ed, full of name dropping, matter-of-fact observation and trend spotting, which can really be read in any order.
Oct 27, 2013 Keertana rated it liked it
A little verbose and definitely repetitive at times, but a very solid argument nevertheless. I enjoyed reading this one and am curious to see if America will embrace the "greener" political path outlined in this novel. If you're interested in the future of our world, particularly pertaining to global warming, biodiversity, or just alternate forms of energy, then this is a must-read.
Preston Kutney
Sep 23, 2015 Preston Kutney rated it it was amazing
I didn't agree with everything in this book, however I think it is an excellent, engaging primer for a lot of important issues facing the country. I think that every informed person should read this book or at least be familiar with topics such as energy independence, alternative energy sources and environmental leadership and innovation, which are covered in this book.
Tuệ Trần
Mar 03, 2016 Tuệ Trần rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fucking-awesome
"Cuốn sách không thể thiếu trong thời đại của chúng ta."

Mind = blown
Mar 05, 2009 Matt rated it it was amazing

I just finished reading Flat, Hot and Crowded by Thomas Friedman. It is an excellent book and is an eye opener when it comes to environmental and conservation issues. Friedman's concept of a flat world comes from his last book The World is Flat which explores how the technological age has leveled the playing field for industry and competition across international borders. This book explores how the world is moving towards more of a monoculture when it comes to consumption of energy. One of his m
Mar 17, 2009 Catherine rated it really liked it
I've always liked Thomas Friedman's articles in the New York Times, and I loved his last two books, The Lexus and the Olive Tree, and The World is Flat. This book, if anything, covers even more, and more urgently if a little less optimistically than the last two. Its a very thoughtful and yet panoramic view of how climate and energy use are linked, and the implications for education, investment, jobs, and the economy now and in the future.

One of the most compelling chapters was on Energy Poverty
Mar 22, 2010 Anna rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I started reading this book, and then had to go back and start again because I found so many things that I wanted to underline. Which is saying something because, as a general rule, I hate hate hate underlining in my own books. But with this book, I couldn't not do so.

This edition has been substantially edited, especially in the first few chapters, because of events happening since the book was first published - the Great Recession, Obama's election. This book, along with others (Michael Pollan'
Jan 31, 2010 Cerissa rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Beth Borman
I finished this book right before President Obama's State of the Union address. I don't think I could have timed it any better! This book should be mandatory reading for every elected official.

Some excerpts:

“I am convinced that if America becomes the example of a country that takes the lead in developing clean power, energy efficiency, and conservation systems, and grows more productive, healthy, respected, prosperous, competitive, innovative, and secure as a result, many more countries and man
Mar 08, 2010 Heather rated it it was amazing
I read Version 2.0, which appears to be heavily updated from the original. I've read several books by Friedman (including The World is Flat), and this is decidedly his best work to date. I don't necessarily agree with him 100% of the time, but he has an amazing ability to take a complex subject and put it in layman's terms that anyone can understand. I personally cringe any time I watch him on tv because I think he does an awful job defending his views verbally (especially riffing), but his ...more
Chris Demer
Jan 26, 2014 Chris Demer rated it liked it
Shelves: politics, environment
An interesting book, but written several years ago and the problems of an overheated, overpopulated planet are only exacerbated in the meantime. I totally agree with him that we have little time to control global warming, and his ideas for this are sound. But it is clear that the political will is not there.Congress is unable to move on any of the important issues related to energy because of the massive amounts of dollars available to the energy companies and their lobbyists.
He is disappointed
Feb 25, 2009 John rated it really liked it
This book is very frustrating because really everything he proposes is a really good idea, and probably very necessary, and definitely won't get done because no politician will ever go for it because the benefits come in a few years as opposed to right now. You can basically sum up the most important argument this way: Everybody basically knows that the next big industrial boom is going to be in wind turbines and solar panels, because we don't have enough oil for everyone in the world. So would ...more
Aug 25, 2009 Joseph rated it it was amazing
This is required reading for EVERYONE. I'm serious.

Friedman brilliantly and comprehensively lays out the case for (1) why our current carbon-intensive energy system is the biggest issue facing America and the planet--not just because of climate change, but also for dealing with population growth and poverty, combating fundamentalist militants funded by petro-dictators, preventing the loss of biodiversity, and more--(2) why rallying America to really embrace a fundamental change to our energy sy
May 13, 2009 King rated it really liked it
Im ambivalent when it comes to this books approach to China. Its depiction of China's economic growth as a problem can be seen as inflammatory. Its makes it understandable that the developing countries would see the green movement as Western propaganda, aimed to circumvent their progress. Ironically, it would seem China's government is already ahead of the curve when it comes to green policies. As Friedman himself points out. it's 11th 5 year plan includes a 20 percent reduction of energy ...more
Michael Fortner
Jan 12, 2010 Michael Fortner rated it it was amazing
Thomas Friedman's books keep building on each other and this one is the columniation of all the concepts he explored in Lexus and the Olive Tree and The World is Flat. Both of these books profoundly influenced the way I view the world and America’s economy. (His book Longitudes and Latitudes is a collection of his New York Times columns directly before and after 9/11, and I find it to be his weakest book.) Hot, Flat, and Crowded focuses on the environment, and most specifically on global ...more
Mar 13, 2010 Raghu rated it it was ok
This book by Friedman is disappointing because of its stale content. The book is written in 2008 but it has nothing new to add to all that has been said and said again on the subject of Global warming, the increasing world population and the advance of technology in the era of Globalization and its positive effect on populations of the world. Friedman laments that America has lost its way since 9/11 and hasn't come to terms with the necessity of acting decisively and positively towards dealing ...more
Mar 30, 2010 Tim rated it it was amazing
Whew, this was a monumental read. So much data to absorb, I took my time and took a couple breaks with other books to let the message soak in.

This is definitely a worthwhile read to understand all sides of the climate/energy dilemma that is facing our generation. I'm sure many conservatives will and have worked hard to debunk the ideas and theories in the book related to climate change, but the key message of the book is not necessarily to push Al Gore's agenda. The key message is that if the U.
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You can get an excerpt of this online right now... 3 64 Sep 04, 2012 04:48PM  
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Thomas Lauren Friedman is an American journalist. He is an op-ed contributor to The New York Times, whose column appears twice weekly and mainly addresses topics on foreign affairs. Friedman is known for supporting a compromise resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, modernization of the Arab world, environmentalism and globalization. He is considered to be a pluralist and most of his ...more
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“At the end of the day, no amount of investing, no amount of clean electrons, no amount of energy efficiency will save the natural world if we are not paying attention to it - if we are not paying attention to all the things that nature give us for free: clean air, clean water, breathtaking vistas, mountains for skiing, rivers for fishing, oceans for sailing, sunsets for poets, and landscapes for painters. What good is it to have wind-powered lights to brighten the night if you can't see anything green during the day? Just because we can't sell shares in nature doesn't mean it has no value.” 34 likes
“So what am I? I guess I would call myself a sober optimist...If you are not sober about the scale of the challenge, then you are not paying attention. But if you are not an optimist, you have no chance of generating the kind of mass movement needed to achieve the needed scale.” 13 likes
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