Beau Johnson's Reviews > The Lexus and the Olive Tree

The Lexus and the Olive Tree by Thomas L. Friedman
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Sep 06, 2009

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bookshelves: journalism
Read in January, 2002

"Half the world seemed to be emerging from the Cold War intent on building a better Lexus...And half the world - sometimes half the same country, sometimes half the same person - was still caught up in the fight over who owns which olive tree."

This book is a great pre-cursor to "The World is Flat" which outdoes Friedman's more recent book "Hot, Flat, and Crowded." This book is a good introduction to globalization, but not as good (or as interesting) as The World is Flat. But, where as The World is Flat relies more on storytelling and ten examples to make Friedman's point, the Lexus and the Olive tree gives us a historical and cultural context for how and why globalization is happening (or, more accurately, has happened). It's stories are still interesting, but as is the case with so many "contemporary" books - the more contemporary are, the more quickly they become out of date.

A favorite quote (p. 305):

"It is O.K. for Disney World to have a Chinese pavilion and a French pavilion and a Mexican pavilion. But God save us from a world where the Chinese pavilion at Disney World is our only remembrance of what China was, and where the Animal Kingdom at Disney World is our only remembrance of what the jungle once was, and where the Rain Forest Cafe is the only rain forest you or your kids will ever see."
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