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

3.66 of 5 stars 3.66  ·  rating details  ·  8,817 ratings  ·  1,278 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...more
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 with Other Essays on Conservation from ... by Aldo LeopoldThe Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael PollanThe Lorax by Dr. SeussDesert Solitaire by Edward Abbey
Best Environmental Books
30th out of 498 books — 553 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)
208th out of 2,819 books — 4,769 voters


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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Ian
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...more
Ray
Oct 26, 2008 Ray rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  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
Darrick
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...more
Erik
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 r...more
Marit
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 t...more
Arminius
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 te...more
Joseph
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...more
brian tanabe
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
Michel
Oct 23, 2008 Michel rated it 3 of 5 stars
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...more
Cheri
Oct 19, 2008 Cheri rated it 4 of 5 stars
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...more
Theresa Leone Davidson
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
David
Aug 09, 2009 David rated it 5 of 5 stars
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...more
Keertana
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.
Chris Demer
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...more
Andrea
One of the most profound books on the environment I've ever read... maybe because I'm at a weird juncture trying to figure out what I'm doing in my career, where I am/can make a difference. Poor Colby had to sit through many, "let me read this to you" moments. Friedman is a fabulous writer, who particularly with this book, weaves together very complicated notions of science and politics into a fabulous story of fear, disappointment and finally optimism. I found in reading that I am a "political...more
Catherine
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...more
getAbstract
Friedman explains global warming

On the whole, this book resembles a televangelist’s Sunday morning sermon. It is full of passion, action and emotion. The “preacher,” The New York Times columnist Thomas L. Friedman, exhorts a congregation of true believers with a rousing endorsement of their shared faith, hitting all the familiar themes, stories and touchstones, plus a heartfelt environmental alert. Even for nonbelievers, the spectacle is impressive. Friedman is a skilled coiner of phrases and h...more
Andri
Friedman kembali memukau. Kali ini, fokus bahasannya pada isu lingkungan. Sering pasti kita merasakan siang hari yang panasnya terasa sangat menyengat. Beda dengan beberapa tahun silam. Di sini lah asal muasal uraian Friedman tentang ... betapa pentingnya bagi Amerika Serikat saat ini untuk memelopori revolusi hijau. Ya, AS, dibanding buku sebelumnya yang mengulik tentang globalisasi, kali ini Friedman banyak menggedor bangsa Amerika untuk memulai suatu hal yang sudah saatnya dilakukan. Dan itu...more
Anna
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'...more
Deanna
True confessions -- I usually read novels. I read primariy for entertainment, unless I am reading for my professional education, and so I rarely read non-fiction. However, I must tell you, that I think I have just finished the most important book I have read outside scripture. Thomas Friedman is the author of "The World is Flat," about the globalization of the economy and the rising world-wide standard of living. In this new book, he discusses the impact of that world-flattening as it coincides...more
King
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 consum...more
Adam McCain
I only read half of this book.

Easily the worst non fiction book I have read.

The first portion of the book devotes itself to describing the laundry list of Friedman's fears; the link between oil money and radical Islam, Chinese and Indian growth, global warming, and America's stagnant relationship with green energy. Instead of focusing on any one of these topics that some authors spend careers focusing on Friedman decided to take all of them on at once. The effect of this being that he fails to g...more
Tim
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....more
Katrina
Aug 10, 2009 Katrina rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Concerned Citizens and Everyone Else
Recommended to Katrina by: Aram Book Discussion
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
Dave Litzen
Friedman made some good points in his book regarding the difficulty of fundamentally changing the way we look at our growing world, but his political leanings (liberals versus Neanderthals) and his reference to my (and his) generation as the 'Grasshopper Generation' was a big turnoff. In addition, he strongly suggests that the US government should incentivize even more some of the alternative energy forms (a big solar and wind fan, as am I), but in the same breath lambasts ethanol as a complete...more
Kristianne
With over half of the book dedicated to “How We Move Forward,” we want to believe Thomas Friedman’s newest meta-analysis of the modern world will finally offer up the illusive key to solving the global climate and energy crisis.
Friedman’s vision opposes the fatalism of Huxley and Orwell, insisting that the answer to our predicament is technological innovation. He believes change is possible and should be embraced as a political and economic public relations tactic. This is our opportunity to sh...more
Chandra
GREAT book!! A fantastic overview of environmental issues (mainly global warming) in the context of social, political and economic developments. Friedman's usual quirk of 'coining' phrases and quoting throughout the book are not to be missed in this one either, but his research is thorough, and his assessment is dead on. Even in his disappointment about the role America especially has played in contributing to global warming and it's failure to admit to it (let alone do anything bold about it),...more
Joseph
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...more
Matt

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...more
Raghu
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 w...more
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You can get an excerpt of this online right now... 3 63 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 comm...more
More about Thomas L. Friedman...
The World Is Flat: A Brief History of the Twenty-first Century From Beirut to Jerusalem The Lexus and the Olive Tree That Used to Be Us: How America Fell Behind in the World It Invented and How We Can Come Back Longitudes and Attitudes: The World in the Age of Terrorism

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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.” 23 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.” 10 likes
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