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Book Critique of “The World Is Flat” by Thomas Friedman Essay (Book Review)


Written by Thomas L. Friedman, “the world is flat” is an inspiring book that focuses on the impact of globalization. Friedman bases his argument on the economic and social practices of the United States in the contemporary society.

According to him, globalization will lead to the distribution of resources equally, and it will put all the countries at the same level. He also proposes a change in the education system of the US whereby, the learners should concentrate more on creativity and not train as a source of the work force.

He argues that, if the current generation of innovators is not integrated into the industrial world, then there will be a deficit in industries globally. Moreover, he carefully explores the corporate world, Information Technology industry, and governments in the Western world to defend his arguments.

He draws his reference information from India, China, and Japan among others where the countries are competing with the US in a bid to be at the same level. Unfortunately, his book lacks any reference from external sources, an issue that may lead the audience to doubt his message. Therefore, the next discussion analyzes Friedman’s book, which is both easy to read and analyze.

From his discussion, Friedman main audience seems to be the Americans and the world’s economists. He writes the book from the American perspective whereby he compares all other countries and companies with those in the US.

In his discussion Eastern Europe, North America, China, and India are the main areas or countries he uses to discuss the impact of globalization. Intuitively, Friedman main message to his audience is to motivate them to work tirelessly and remain in the competition especially the Americans.

For instance, he draws his example from India where there is an establishment of American companies like Pizza Hut. Furthermore, the Indians who work for the companies strive to relate with Americans through names or speaking accent.

The second audience is the corporate world especially the Information Technology industries like Google, yahoo and Microsoft among others. He calls for the innovators and experts in the industries to train the youths on creative skills.

Eventually there will be more innovations in the future, which will connect the world, as it is the case with the internet service. However, his assertion might also inspire other readers/audiences like the Europeans or Africans (who are barely mentioned) to embrace globalization, which will make sure they are at per with the other countries.

Friedman’s main point is that the world has started feeling the impact of Globalization. Besides the famous businesses, individuals are able to penetrate the corporate world and make an impact because of the advanced technology.

Economically, all countries in the world will have similar systems and none will be superior to the other. All sectors are fighting to be on the same level. However, the American society may lag behind because of the loopholes in the education society.

Historically, the US has the best scientists, mathematicians, and subsequent discoveries, but such attributes may become extinct with the current generation. Consequently, due to globalization, companies and corporate societies will seek labor from other countries like India and China where the education system puts more emphasis on creativity other than passing examination.

Therefore, he calls for the American government to change the education system and prepare the young generation to handle different jobs and not a specified skill. In brief, his main message is that unless the US wakes up and starts investing in the current generation; economically it will not be superior as it is in the contemporary society.

Thomas main argument is that economically, socially, and politically the world will end up being uniform. He supports his argument by citing the past and current changes in the business world including the discoveries and innovations.

Thomas applauds small businesses like the Pizza Hut, an American company, which is running successfully in other countries like India as an example of the world leveling. In addition, he cites at least ten powers that have flattened the world.

The first example is the collapse of the Berlin wall, which ended the cold war motivating other countries to cooperate and run businesses together (Friedman 50). Eventually, cooperation has mainstreamed the world economically.

Secondly, the discovery of the internet services has enhanced businesses without physical interaction. Through connection of machines or computers, people are able to run businesses miles away without physical involvement. Thirdly is the launch of software, which can link different machines to function concurrently. Fourth is the ability to carry out projects through uploading.

Fifth and sixth are the elements of outsourcing and offshoring where companies practice cost-effective ways of promoting their business. Seventh, the application of supply-chain management as a business strategy has connected people from different corners of the world.

Through adaptation of retail and wholesale services, goods can reach in all corners of the world. The eighth force is the insourcing where companies like Toshiba cooperate with other service providers to handle or repair equipments on their behalf.

The use of Google as a source of information for all sectors in the world ranging from scientific to social has made people think and act in a similar way. Lastly, the discovery of communications tools like mobile phones connects the whole world. According, to Friedman, the aforementioned forces have led to competition in industries and market places.

Most people are able to travel freely and seek employment in other countries. For instance, he gives an example of Chinese students whose ambitions are to live and work in the US. However, the free intermingling of the workforce has put the world on the same scale whereby, Indians can work, speak, and behave like Americans without much training.

Furthermore, Friedman puts his argument in a clear way by giving relevant phenomena. He gives an example of political similarities in Asia, the US, and European countries. For instance, Russia and Germany adapted democracy, which was a common practice in the US only.

Therefore, the similarity in the political systems will make the world ‘flat’ both economically and socially. By citing several examples of changes in the world, he supports his argument. He gives the impact of all industrials, technological and political changes in the world.

Analytically, all his arguments and observations are true. Although Friedman’s book has much influence to businessperson and economists, he bases all his facts on personal experiences. The book lacks any form of references or footnotes, which a reader can confirm his facts or arguments.

More over, he does not even cite from any documentary or article from any other writer. Surprisingly, all his examples and assertion refer to stories from the elite people in the business world such as CEOs and personal adventures. Although his arguments seem clear and convincing, there is a possibility that Thomas is misinforming the world.

Therefore, the major weakness in the book is the lack of references; at least an author should draw his or her information from another write that has same views with him/her. The lack of validation in the book leaves the reader with many doubts, a flaw; Thomas should have kept in consideration.

Nevertheless, Friedman’s book is not only easy to read but also understandable. Besides, the application of few elements of writing like figures of speech, a reader can easily point out his message.

For instance, he lists the forces that have brought the world on the same level explaining each point in clear terms. Listing of his main examples ensures that a reader embrace the information quickly without critically thinking or reading in between the lines.

Thomas also uses ordinary language to convey his message to the audience. With a unique but eloquent writing style, Friedman is among the best authors in the business world. He applies a serious tone judging the economies and politics of most of part of countries in the world.

His judgmental tone cautions the American citizens against promoting laziness especially in the young generation. The ability to present solutions to the problems in the American economic system stimulates the audience to read. Economists and businessperson who are outlining strategies to improve the US should use the book as a reference point.

Friedman is a journalist with an experience in writing business articles in the New York Times newspaper. Therefore, he writes everything that he observes from the corporate world and, as frequent column writer; he qualifies to write the book. In his career, Friedman has worked in several publishing companies and has won the Pulitzer award at least three times.

He is also a motivational speaker; therefore, he has the credentials to author the book. The ability to give adequate information, which makes sense, enables the author to qualify to make his assertions. Despite of lacking references from other writers, all his arguments have relevant information, which any reader can understand clearly.

The Internet, computers, phones, and other innovations are the instruments he cites that connect the world in a short instance. The improved infrastructure and the manufacture of the airplanes confirm his assertion that the world is quickly turning into a global village.

On the other hand, Friedman book is unfair because it promotes social and political classes and racism. He sidelines the issue on travel restrictions and bans, which are imposed by some countries. For instance, he barely talks about passports and visas as some of the documents mandatory needed when an individual is travelling abroad.

If the world is becoming equal, why are the travel rules still strict in the 21st century? Secondly, he only concentrates on six continents of the world forgetting all about Africa. In his discussion, Friedman excludes Africa altogether.

If the world is flat, then the world cannot be complete without Africa. The exclusion of Africa in his book or arguments has drawn so many views from economists and political scientists. Thirdly, while discussing his message, Friedman excludes Latin or South America and Western Europe; he only bases his facts on North America, Eastern Europe and some parts of Asia.

He focuses on globalization under three perspectives, country, company, and influential people in the corporate world. He uses stories from his friends who are CEOs and does not consider the common citizen in his discussion. He does not put emphasis on social issues like poverty and discrimination, which are affecting globalization.

Fourth, he discusses on the weaknesses of other countries like India in terms of resources. According to him, the United States of America is so superior to all other countries in the world. He cites the desperation of Indian and Chinese youths to work in the US as not only globalization but also as an achievement. According to him, people from other countries like Indians strive to be Americans.

His assertion is unfair because he portrays that all other countries should abolish their languages and speak English. More over, the use of English names in the Indian society shows that the world will be equal if all people behave like Americans. Why is it not the other way round?

In addition, the main aim of the book is to motivate Americans to remain at the top of the world. Sincerely, how can the world achieve equality if one country presents itself as superior to others? All the countries, governments, and people have to come at the same level for the world to become flat.

Lastly, Friedman forgets to discuss the issue of races as one of the factors preventing equality in the world. On one hand, he calls for unity among all countries while, on the other hand, he portrays the white as superior. All his discussion, argument, and examples put in consideration the governments from the European countries, companies from the US and Chief Executive Officers in American companies.

Therefore, for equality to be achieved racial and social discrimination should not prevail. Ironically, racism and social discrimination are the issues Friedman indirectly or silently promotes.

Authentically, the world can never be flat because of violence in the middle East countries, the lack of democracy in the African countries, the difference in traditional believes and practices and the separation of continents by large masses of water. Thus, Friedman book is not fair in terms of equal representation and so it will be difficult to achieve his assertion.

In summary, Friedman book only motivates four continents to work together because he forgets about South America and Africa. Nevertheless, his main point technological advancement has turned the world into a global village.

The transport, communication industries, and other infrastructures have played a hand in globalization. His vision is that the world will be one without boundaries. Although his information and facts seem relevant, he fails to provide reference information for his work.

The book is a retell of observations, personal experiences, and interaction with senior people in the business sector. However, his ability to give solutions and ways forward for globalization lies within management strategy for businessperson.

He uses stories from CEOs to argue out his points; therefore, any young person who wants to venture into business can draw out points from this book. Therefore, Friedman book is relevant to students in management courses, manager, and political leader. Personally, I would recommend anybody who aspires to be in a management position to read the book and apply Friedman’s insights.

Works Cited

Friedman, Thomas. The world is flat. United States: Farrar, Strauss, and Giroux Publisher, 2005.

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IvyPanda. (2019, March 26). Book Critique of "The World Is Flat" by Thomas Friedman. Retrieved from https://ivypanda.com/essays/book-critique-of-the-world-is-flat-by-thomas-friedman/

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"Book Critique of "The World Is Flat" by Thomas Friedman." IvyPanda, 26 Mar. 2019, ivypanda.com/essays/book-critique-of-the-world-is-flat-by-thomas-friedman/.

1. IvyPanda. "Book Critique of "The World Is Flat" by Thomas Friedman." March 26, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/book-critique-of-the-world-is-flat-by-thomas-friedman/.


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IvyPanda. "Book Critique of "The World Is Flat" by Thomas Friedman." March 26, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/book-critique-of-the-world-is-flat-by-thomas-friedman/.

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IvyPanda. 2019. "Book Critique of "The World Is Flat" by Thomas Friedman." March 26, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/book-critique-of-the-world-is-flat-by-thomas-friedman/.

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IvyPanda. (2019) 'Book Critique of "The World Is Flat" by Thomas Friedman'. 26 March.

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