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

3.68  ·  Rating details ·  11,705 Ratings  ·  1,427 Reviews
Thomas L. Friedman's phenomenal number-one bestseller The World is Flat has helped millions of readers to see the world in a new way. In his brilliant, essential new book, Friedman takes a fresh and provocative look at two of the biggest challenges we face today: America's surprising loss of focus and national purpose since 9/11; and the global environmental crisis, which ...more
Kindle Edition, 528 pages
Published November 24th 2009 by Picador (first published January 1st 2008)
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Oct 22, 2008 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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 19, 2008 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
Nov 24, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 t ...more
Aug 18, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Oct 11, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Nov 06, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
brian tanabe
Sep 19, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Sep 08, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Valerie Curtis
"In what free market would you find the U.S. government slapping a 54-cent-a-gallon tariff on sugarcane ethanol imported from Brazil, a democratic ally of the United States, while imposing only a 1.25-cent-a-gallon tariff on crude oil imported from Saudi Arabia, the home of most of the 9/11 hijackers?" This and a few other juicy quotes have me cringing and ready to protest.

So much has changed in the 19 years since this book came out, but so much has stayed the same. Mr. Friedman has a unique wa
Oct 15, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Dec 23, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
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
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
May 14, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fuckingawesome
"Cuốn sách không thể thiếu trong thời đại của chúng ta."

Mind = blown
Jennifer Baldy
Jul 03, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Excellent points in this book. I wish I'd read it when it first came out. Many predictions coming to pass now, proving these situations were avoidable. I feel unable to do much about it other than vote for policy makers that will take these points to heart, and I hope as many as possible government officials read this book. I recommend reading text, (rather than audio) as I did. I would have absorbed some of the intricacies better in that form. I'd have given 5 stars if it had held my attention ...more
Listened to this audiobook after my 18-month old son grabbed it off the shelf. He has yielded some good finds (haha). Overall, I enjoyed it. I found Friedman repetitive at times but it seemed to lessen as the book progressed. Global warming has always been of interest to me, although superficially, and I appreciated consuming something that discussed it comprehensively. The book has energized me to get a better sense of the policies being enacted across the globe as this book is nearly 9 years o ...more
Feb 16, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

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
Adriaan Jansen
''The decisions [we] make about sustainable development are not technical decisions about peripheral matters, and they are not simply decisions about the environment. They are decisions about who we are, what we value, what kind of world we want to live in, and how we want to be remembered'' (John Dernbach on page 412).

Hot, Flat and Crowded is a book full of good ideas, important information and interesting stories. All this would probably have resulted in a great book, had it not been for Fried
Mar 17, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 12, 2010 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'
Dec 08, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Jan 16, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 NYTi ...more
Oct 01, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Clif Hostetler
Hot, Flat and Crowded can be translated as climate change, globalization, and population growth. This book is a followup to the author's best-selling The World Is Flat, a book about globalization of business. This book examines how globalization can continue in a way that doesn't doom the world due to climate change or population growth. It quickly explains that the problem with population isn't so much that there's too many people. But rather it is that in a flat world everyone aspires to gain ...more
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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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“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.” 36 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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