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The World Is Flat 3.0

A Brief History of the Twenty-first Century

Thomas L. Friedman


The World Is Flat 3.0 Download image

ISBN10: 0312425074
ISBN13: 9780312425074

Trade Paperback

672 Pages



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Winner of the Financial Times/Goldman Sachs Book Award
A New York Times Notable Book
A Christian Science Monitor Best Book of the Year
A Washington Post Best Book of the Year
An Economist Best Book of the Year

When scholars write the history of the world twenty years from now, and they come to the chapter "Y2K to March 2004," what will they say was the most crucial development? The attacks on the World Trade Center on 9/11 and the Iraq war? Or the convergence of technology and events that allowed India, China, and so many other countries to become part of the global supply chain for services and manufacturing, creating an explosion of wealth in the middle classes of the world's two biggest nations, giving them a huge new stake in the success of globalization? And with this "flattening" of the globe, which requires us to run faster in order to stay in place, has the world gotten too small and too fast for human beings and their political systems to adjust in a stable manner?

In this brilliant new book, the award-winning New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman demystifies the brave new world for readers, allowing them to make sense of the often bewildering global scene unfolding before their eyes. With his inimitable ability to translate complex foreign policy and economic issues, Friedman explains how the flattening of the world happened at the dawn of the twenty-first century; what it means to countries, companies, communities, and individuals; and how governments and societies can, and must, adapt. The World Is Flat is the timely and essential update on globalization, its successes and discontents, powerfully illuminated by one of our most respected journalists.

This updated and expanded edition of Friedman's 2005 bestseller features a hundred new pages of fresh reporting, insights, and commentary, drawn both from his 2005 travels (to India, to China, to the Middle East) and from his encounters with readers around the country, who have shared their accounts of the flattening of the world as it is being felt in the American heartland. Among the topics covered are:

• An explanation of Friedman's conviction that the flattening of the world "will be seen in time as one of those fundamental shifts or inflection points, like Gutenberg's invention of the printing press, the rise of the nation-state, or the Industrial Revolution." (Chapter 1)

• A preview of the emerging "Business Web," in which companies "rent" software at websites like and have it customized to their needs instead of developing proprietary software and employing a tech department to install it—a huge savings in cost and effort. (Chapter 2)

• An explanation of "uploading" as one of the ten forces that are flattening the world. Uploading—blogging, open-source software, pooled knowledge projects like Wikipedia, and now podcasting—enables individuals to bring their experiences and opinions to the whole world more quickly, cheaply, and easily than ever before. (Chapter 2)

• A definitive explanation of the "triple convergence," in which the flattening of the world has knocked out first the walls, then the ceilings, and now the floors that defined the world as it was before the Wall came down and the flattening began (Chapter 3); and a deeper, sharper explanation of how the move from a vertically organized world to a horizontally organized one will force a "great sorting out" of our values and priorities. (Chapter 4)

• A mapping of what Friedman calls the "New Middle"—the places and spaces in the flat world where middle-class jobs will be found—and an account of the character types who will thrive as "New Middler": collaboration and orchestrators; synthesizers, who blend knowledge across disciplines; explainers, who interpret the tide of new knowledge; leveragers, who can create value from it; adapters, who can move from one New Middle job to the next in the flat world. (Chapter 6)

• A chapter-long account of "The Right Stuff"—the qualities American parents and teachers need to cultivate in American young people so that they will be able to thrive in the flat world: the right education, passion and curiosity (CQ, or curiosity quotient, will be more important than IQ); and the ability to "play well with others." (Chapter 7)

• The amazing story of how President Bush shunned a meeting of leading "technologists" in the very office building where he was holding a meeting on privatization of Social Security—a story that exemplifies all the misplaced priorities and bungled opportunities of this Administration. (Chapter 8)

• The story of Ireland's swift rise from poverty to prosperity as it made the right moves to adapt to the flattening of the world. (Chapter 9)

• A call for a government-led "geo-green" strategy to preserve the earth's environment and natural resources as the entry of billions of people into the middle class in China and India creates huge increases in demand for cars, fuel, water, and the like.

• A chapter-length explanation of "The Globalization of the Local": of the ways the flattening of the world, and globalization generally, have affected local and regional culture—actually strengthening local and regional identity rather than homogenizing the world American style. (Chapter 13)

And additional topics such as Indians tutoring American students online, of trade pacts being concluded through videoconferencing on flat-screen TVS, and of Google "search engine optimizers" and "versatilists."

Also available on CD as an audiobook, in both abridged and unabridged editions. Please email [email protected] for more information.


Praise for The World Is Flat 3.0

"[An] exciting and very readable account of globalization . . . [Friedman] provides a compelling case that something big is going on . . . One mark of a great book is that it makes you see things in a new way, and Mr. Friedman certainly succeeds in that goal . . . In his provocative account, Mr. Friedman suggests what this brave new world will mean to all of us, in both the developed and the developing worlds."—Joseph E. Stiglitz, The New York Times

"The World Is Flat continues the franchise Friedman has made for himself as a great explicator of and cheerleader for globalization, building upon his 1999 The Lexus and the Olive Tree. Like its predecessor, this book showcases Friedman's gift for lucid dissections of abstruse economic phenomena, his teacher's head, his preacher's heart, his genius for trend-spotting . . . [This book] also shares some of the earlier volume's excitement (mirroring Rajesh Rao's) and hesitations about whether we're still living in an era dominated by old-fashioned states or in a postmodern, globalized era where states matter far less and the principal engine of change is a leveled playing field for international trade."—Warren Bass, The Washington Post

"Nicely sums up the explosion of digital-technology advances during the past 15 years and places the phenomenon in its global context . . . [Friedman] never shrinks from the biggest problems and the thorniest issues . . . Ambitious."—Paul Mangnusson, Business Week

"Excellent . . . [This book's] insight is true and deeply important . . . The metaphor of a flat world, used by Friedman to describe the next phase of globalization, is ingenious . . . The book is done in Friedman's trademark style. You travel with him, meet his wife and kids, learn about his friends and sit in on his interviews . . . [This method] works in making complicated ideas accessible . . . Friedman has a flair for business reporting and finds amusing stories about Wal-Mart, UPS, Dell, and JetBlue, among others, that relate to his basic theme."—Fareed Zakaria, The New York Times Book Review (cover review)

"No one today chronicles global shifts in simple and practical terms quite like Friedman. He plucks insights from his travels and the published press that can leave you spinning like a top."—Clayton Jones, The Christian Science Monitor

"Friedman is such a good reporter and writer that he will keep you turning pages . . . [He] is gifted at reducing big trends into easily digestible bites, providing a readable account of the main forces that have flattened the world."—Peter Hadekel, Montreal Gazette

"Gives us a glimpse of the brave new flat world that is already upon us . . . [Friedman] writes in a playful manner [and] likes to use lists and new expressions [and] while his technique may at times be lighthearted and informal, Friedman's meaning is clear: Accept the new world, adapt to it and prosper, or ignore the new developments at your peril."—Russ L. Juskalian, USA Today

"A brilliant, instantly clarifying metaphor for the latest, arguably the most profound conceptual megashift to rock the world in living memory . . . The World is Flat is well written, a fast read [that] covers all the bases . . . This is an important book."—David Ticoll, The Globe and Mail (Toronto)

"Friedman is a smart guy, a good reporter . . . His best writing [in this book] comes when he acknowledges the problems of globalization."—Kevin Drum, The Washington Monthly

"This is an unusual book to recommend to psychologists. It is not about psychology. It is not written by a psychologist. However, read through the lens of professional psychology, it invites a major inquiry into the future of [the] profession . . . Perhaps one of the most important challenges psychology faces is applying its expertise to human welfare in a flattened and flattening world . . . Psychologists should take time to ponder the relentless and geometric globalization Friedman describes."—Contemporary Psychology

"Before 9/11, New York Times columnist Friedman was best known as the author of The Lexus and the Olive Tree, one of the major popular accounts of globalization and its discontents. Having devoted most of the last four years of his column to the latter as embodied by the Middle East, Friedman picks up where he left off, saving al-Qaeda et al. for the close. For Friedman, cheap, ubiquitous telecommunications have finally obliterated all impediments to international competition, and the dawning 'flat world' is a jungle pitting 'lions' and 'gazelles,' where 'economic stability is not going to be a feature' and 'the weak will fall farther behind.' Rugged, adaptable entrepreneurs, by contrast, will be empowered. The service sector (telemarketing, accounting, computer programming, engineering and scientific research, etc.), will be further outsourced to the English-spoken abroad; manufacturing, meanwhile, will continue to be off-shored to China. As anyone who reads his column knows, Friedman agrees with the transnational business executives who are his main sources that these developments are desirable and unstoppable, and that American workers should be preparing to 'create value through leadership' and 'sell personality' . . . [The book's] last 100 pages on the economic and political roots of global Islamism are filled with the kind of close reporting and intimate yet accessible analysis that have been hard to come by. Add in Friedman's winning first-person interjections and masterful use of strategic wonksterisms, and this book should end up on the front seats of quite a few Lexuses and SUVs of all stripes."—Publishers Weekly

"[Friedman] claims that the most significant events of the 21st century are happening now . . . with technology binding more and more countries together."—Library Journal



The World Is Flat 3.0 by Thomas L. Friedman--Audiobook Excerpt

Listen to this audiobook excerpt from Tom Friedman's book The World Is Flat 3.0: A Brief History of the Twenty-first Century. When scholars write the history of the world twenty years from now, what will they say was the most crucial development in the first few years of the twenty-first century? The attacks on the World Trade Center on 9/11 and the Iraq war?

About the author

Thomas L. Friedman

Thomas L. Friedman has won the Pulitzer Prize three times for his work at The New York Times, where he serves as the foreign affairs columnist. He is the author of three previous books, all of them bestsellers: From Beirut to Jerusalem, winner of the National Book Award for nonfiction; The Lexus and the Olive Tree: Understanding Globalization; and Longitudes and Attitudes: Exploring the World After September 11. In 2005 The World Is Flat was given the first Financial Times and Goldman Sachs Business Book of the Year Award, and Friedman was named one of America's Best Leaders by U.S. News & World Report. He lives in Bethesda, Maryland, with his family.

Ralph Alswang

LinkedIn Forum with Thomas Friedman

Thomas Friedman at The New York Times