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The World is Flat

For Thomas 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. 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 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. This book should end up on the front seats of quite a few Lexuses and SUVs of all stripes.