While it seems a little early to write a “history of the 21st century,” The World Is Flat is full of amazing insights that reshape the way we look at our world. What do the fall of the Berlin Wall, the Netscape IPO, and 9/11 all have in common? Thomas L. Friedman shows how these and other events are both causes and effects of the flattening of the world that has been on a fast track from 1989 to today.
There is no aspect of our lives that isn’t affected by the flattening trend. Most of these effects are good for us, but only if we understand them. 9/11 is an example of what happens when one group of people takes advantage of the flattening world for destructive purposes while another is unimaginative about its possibilities. The rise of eBay is an example of how a simple technology-based platform can open the business world to people who had previously been held back by geography, age, prejudice, or disability.
This book is an absolute must-read for every global citizen, whether they hold a political office, invest in emerging markets, or work on an assembly line. So many non-fiction books I read start off interesting and then become dull, as if the author had a great idea, but had trouble filling a few hundred pages with it. TWIF gets more and more interesting as you go, building up to a final chapter where Friedman offers a viable solution to create global peace, while simultaneously predicting the populist revolution that is happening today. It is clear that this book has not been read by enough people, and that needs to change!