I just finished reading Thomas Friedman's latest work The World is Flat. I bought the book galvanized slightly by the buzz the book has creating, the past few weeks and not to mention its #2 on amazon.
In his book Friedman's plays the part of a chronicler, traveling the world observing the ever flattening [or in some cases not] of the world. By 'flattening' he would mean the world coming together and the dissolution of trade and political barriers. The 'flat world' being Friedman's word for a 'globalized world'.
Underneath the sprawling examples, testimonials, personal quips, case studies the books gives us an isometric view on phenomenons such as Globalization & Glocalization.
As the review on Amazon says
Thomas L. Friedman is not so much a futurist, which he is sometimes called, as a presentist. His aim, in his new book, The World Is Flat, as in his earlier, influential Lexus and the Olive Tree, is not to give you a speculative preview of the wonders that are sure to come in your lifetime, but rather to get you caught up on the wonders that are already here.
Some people have criticized Friedman for his oversimplifying his subject here's a article called Flathead in the NYPress which those just that.
To be honest I quiet liked the book even though Friedman sometimes has a habit floating away, giving it the an imperfect feel of a blog post but all and all it put certain things about globalization into perspective for me.
On an ideological level, Friedman's new book is the worst, most boring kind of middlebrow horseshit. If its literary peculiarities could somehow be removed from the equation, The World Is Flat would appear as no more than an unusually long pamphlet replete with the kind of plug-filled, free-trader leg-humping that passes for thought in this country. It is a tale of a man who walks 10 feet in front of his house armed with a late-model Blackberry and comes back home five minutes later to gush to his wife that hospitals now use the internet to outsource the reading of CAT scans. Man flies on planes, observes the wonders of capitalism, says we're not in Kansas anymore. (He actually says we're not in Kansas anymore.) That's the whole plot right there. If the underlying message is all that interests you, read no further, because that's all there is.
I'll end with a quip from the book
Every morning in Africa, a gazelle wakes up.
It knows it must run faster than the fastest lion or it will be killed.
Every morning a lion wake up.
It knows it must outrun the slowest gazelle or it will starve to death.
It doesn't matter if you're a lion or a gazelle.
When the sun comes up, you better start running.