Meg - A Bookish Affair's Reviews > That Used to Be Us: How America Fell Behind in the World It Invented and How We Can Come Back

That Used to Be Us by Thomas L. Friedman
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's review
Dec 16, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: 2011, non-fiction, politics-history

Full disclosure: I'm a big Thomas Friedman fan. I think he has a lot of interesting things to say and a lot of good ideas. I'm less familiar with Michael Mandelbaum although some of his books are now on my TBR based on what he discussed in this book.

Anyhow, I really liked this book. The authors start out with talking about how we've kind of lost our way as a country. We've had a lot of things (such as the recession) thrust upon us but we've sort of gotten lazy too. The book opens with a story about the Washington, DC Metro (something I know a little bit about having ridden it every weekday for the past couple years) and how it's sort of a metaphor for all of the ills that we're feeling and how we've sort of gotten used to it and are at a loss to change things. Friedman and Mandelbaum start out by talking about several challenges that the United States is currently facing. They use lots of examples to illustrate what they're talking about and they brought up a lot of things that I've never thought about before.

One thing that I like about Friedman's books is that I think they're accessible to those that don't have a lot of background in things like economics and foreign relations. On the other hand, I think even those like myself who are sort of economics and poli sci nerds (guilty!), can get something new to think about out of these books. Even though I don't agree with every single thing in this book, it definitely made me think a little bit, something good in any book like this!
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