Cleokatra's Reviews > Hot, Flat, and Crowded: Why We Need a Green Revolution--and How It Can Renew America

Hot, Flat, and Crowded by Thomas L. Friedman
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's review
Apr 11, 2011

did not like it
bookshelves: 2011
Read from May 19 to September 06, 2011

When I was in graduate school, I was introduced to an approach to public speaking that says that, in order for your audience to understand your points, you need to say them three times. The instructor who delivered these words of wisdom said to tell people what you are going to tell them, then tell it to them, and then tell them what you just said. (Then, of course, she repeated that two more times.)

I always hated that formula because it is based on the insulting assumption that your audience is a bunch of idiots. I don’t need to hear (or read) something over and over for it to penetrate my brain and I am willing to give other people the benefit of the doubt that they don’t either.

Unfortunately, the author of this book has no qualms about insulting the intelligence of his readers. He spends pages repeating the same facile points and making up stories about them and inventing cute, little abbreviations, which he then spends several paragraphs explaining, in case you missed how clever they are. It was annoying. I am not an idiot and I’m willing to bet, in the absence of evidence to the contrary, that you are not either.

The sad thing is that the writing style renders the book unreadable. I made it to page 250 and just couldn’t bear to read another word of it. Why is that sad? Because the author actually makes some good points (over and over) and has some great ideas (which he is happy to beat us over the heads with). Unfortunately, those points and ideas are buried under mountains of self-congratulatory garbage.

I’m left in the position of saying that people should be exposed to the ideas in this book, but the presentation is so horrible that I wouldn’t wish this book on my worst enemy. So, my recommendation? Read it if you want, but don’t say you weren’t warned. ;)

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Reading Progress

05/22/2011 page 65
06/19/2011 page 111
25.0% 2 comments
08/07/2011 page 186
42.0% "This book was published in 2008 and it shows. A lot of the author's ideas involve huge investments of US capital to develop "green" fuels and, while it might be a nice idea, it doesn't exactly reflect the current economic and political reality."
08/29/2011 page 207
47.0% "I've been working on this book for months. I need to either finish it or give up completely."
09/06/2011 page 250
57.0% "Holy crap, this book is boring! There is an approach to public speaking that says that people need to hear things 3 times before they get it. That is wrong, but it seems to be the approach that the author of this book is following. ::yawn::"
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