Rebecca's Reviews > The World Is Flat: A Brief History of the Twenty-first Century

The World Is Flat by Thomas L. Friedman
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's review
Apr 01, 2009

did not like it
bookshelves: history, abandoned-ship
Read in May, 2009

Why did no one tell me Friedman is a blowhard BEFORE I waded through 300 pages of this nonsense? Now to track down something resembling a thoughtful take on globalization.


Revisiting my review because this book turned up on an optional reading list for a course *shudder*. Turns out I buried my choicest comments in status updates. Moving it here for reference. From May 2009:

I'm not sure I'll ever get through this book. I liked it better when he was just ignoring social issues and the developing world in favor of pro-business rhetoric. But in the later sections he devolves into unbearable cultural proscriptions. It's taken me an hour to read the last 13 pages because of the increasingly high screaming to reading ratio... he's already cheerily informed me that McDonald's is a role model for multinational environmentalism and shamed American parents for not teaching kids to be "responsible consumers." (Kids, remember that civilization-as-we-know-it depends on buying that latest generation ipod! Now turn it off and get your lazy ass to math class so that you can compete with the Chinese! I barely paraphrase here.)

The latest brilliant advice? " country today can afford to be less than brutally honest with itself. To that end, I believe that what the world needs today is a club that would be modeled after Alcoholics Anonymous... so that at Developing Countries Anonymous, countries would have to stand up at the first meeting and say, 'My name is Syria and I'm underdeveloped.' Or 'My name is Argentina and I'm underachieving. I have not lived up to my potential.'"

Wow. I propose a New York Times Anonymous. "Hello, my name is Thomas Friedman. I'm a NYT columnist. I specialize in making white liberal elites feel better about themselves and their privilege. Secretly I'm being paid by Al Qaeda and Hugo Chavez to supply enough newsprint to keep their eternal American-flag-fire burning."

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Reading Progress

04/05/2009 page 120
04/05/2009 page 120
19.48% "Good, GOD this is business friendly. But the clarification of recent history is so excellent. I'm still reading."
04/06/2009 page 297
48.21% "Ugh, "compassionate flatness." This is such BS." 2 comments
08/07/2009 "back from the library... this is ony the 3rd time I've requested it... heh"
01/17/2016 marked as: abandoned-ship
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