The World Is Flat: A Brief History of the Twenty-First Century (Updated and Expanded)

Version: Unabridged (Abridged version available here)
Author: Thomas L. Friedman
Narrator: Oliver Wyman
Genres: Politics, World
Publisher: Audio Renaissance
Published In: April 2006
# of Units: 20 CDs
Length: 25 hours
Tell Your Friends:


The Pulitzer Prize-winning "New York Times" columnist gives a bold, timely, and surprising picture of the state of globalization in the twenty-first century
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 work, the award-winning New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman demystifies the brave new world, allowing listeners 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.

Reviews (37)

you dont even have to pay attention

Written by Anonymous from Pace, FL on April 16th, 2013

  • Book Rating: 3/5

I appreciated the gist of it, and barely stuck it out... I was so bummed to see that the next blue box in the mail... was the other half! The narrator was fine and I dont usually appreciate male voices because they are invarying, compared to female voices. The material was interesting, but its as if the author approached every section like a 5 paragraph essay- Im gonna tell you what I'll tell you. I'm gonna tell you I'm gonna tell you what I told you. I get looking at the track number to see if it repeated. Im not kidding several points were made over and over. The book would have been a whole lot shorter, and more enjoyable, if he just "told me". I didnt even listen to the second half, just retuned it. Lost interest. The first 10 cds were PLENTY.

The World is Flat

Written by Anonymous on April 19th, 2012

  • Book Rating: 1/5

A little outdated, the whole book is kind of, well--Flat...

The World is Flat

Written by Granbury DEb from Granbury, TX on February 7th, 2011

  • Book Rating: 4/5

This unabridged version was a facinating IN DEPTH detail of what has happened since I read the first and original book by Thomas Friedman. Yes, the unabridged version got at bit 'tedious' but I asked for it! If you can wrap your mind around what Mr. Friedman has researched you will be equally enthralled with where our business world is heading.


Written by Blaine on March 18th, 2010

  • Book Rating: 2/5

I'd agree with some of the other reviewers that the general ideas and ways that we need to approach the challenges of today's world expressed by the author are legitimate and should be considered. However, these ideas could have been expressed much more concisely. Even the Abridged version was way too long. Additionally, he has an annoying way of telling us over and over about his high-placed friends and neighbors, which unfortunately, lessens the impact of his book. I found myself envisioning him patting himself on the back for how great he is as he wrote the book. Pity.

The World Is Flat

Written by Maria on January 12th, 2010

  • Book Rating: 1/5

While the subject and theories are very interesting -- and I agree with the premise and the challenges we now face as a result, the "I am so fabulous"-laden delivery by the author made me thankful when I was done with CD 10.

Great Read!

Written by Aaron from Lancaster, CA on February 18th, 2009

  • Book Rating: 5/5

I think this is a highly informative read and a great eye opener. There is some truth to other reviews in regards to the bad impersonations and the wordy content. With that being said, I believe that is the only turn-off. The people who didn't even give the book a chance, and the software developer who had the negative comments, probably should stick with being closed minded since it got them this far. This book is full of interviews and real world examples that have been compiled in a single source that is truly enlightening. Great job Friedman!


Written by Anonymous from Mentor, OH on February 7th, 2009

  • Book Rating: 1/5

On outsourcing and globalization, some good information but the author takes only the side advantageous to cost cutting. Those of us that have had to deal with customer support centers in india and elsewhere know that its not that great. The rest of it goes through the capabilities of new technologies. As a software engineer, this was just brutal to sit through. I hate when people who don't really know technology try to come off sounding like they do. I didn't finish it and I sent part 2 back without even opening it

The World is flat

Written by MC on August 1st, 2008

  • Book Rating: 2/5

A very long read. This book could have been done in half of the time, I wish I would have rented the abridged version. Many of the factual details were good, but the author really expressed foolish views of the world and how this country fits into the big picture. Especially when discussing politics and our role as the world leader in fighting for freedom and democracy for all.

global = flat

Written by pcguy74 from Oshkosh, WI on July 24th, 2008

  • Book Rating: 4/5

This is an excellent "book". Both the first and the last half are fantastic. There is some repeated information throughout the book but basically that just drives the point home. The world is truly a global marketplace and we certainly can gain or lose from that as individuals. We just need to learn how to shape our thinking and we can prosper in this flat world. I wish it weren't so long of a book, but it is worth the time.

Some interesting content - but too long!

Written by Julia on June 16th, 2008

  • Book Rating: 2/5

Thomas Friedman makes some interesting points in this book, but I agree with previous reviewers that an abridged version would be better! Also, the narrator of this CD had a dreadful habit of using a fake Indian accent when reading quotes from many Indian IT professionals interviewed for this book - this made me cringe everytime he did this. How patronizing! Interestingly he did not attempt a French accent for the French man interviewed!

Author Details

Author Details

Friedman, Thomas L.

Thomas L. Friedman, a world-renowned author and journalist, joined The New York Times in 1981 as a financial reporter specializing in OPEC- and oil-related news and later served as the chief diplomatic, chief White House, and international economics correspondents. A three-time Pulitzer Prize winner, he has traveled hundreds of thousands of miles reporting the Middle East conflict, the end of the cold war, U.S. domestic politics and foreign policy, international economics, and the worldwide impact of the terrorist threat. His foreign affairs column, which appears twice a week in the Times, is syndicated to one hundred other newspapers worldwide.

Friedman is the author of From Beirut to Jerusalem (FSG, 1989), which won both the National Book Award and the Overseas Press Club Award in 1989 and was on the New York Times bestseller list for nearly twelve months. From Beirut to Jerusalem has been published in more than twenty-seven languages, including Chinese and Japanese, and is now used as a basic textbook on the Middle East in many high schools and universities. Friedman also wrote The Lexus and the Olive Tree (FSG, 1999), one of the best selling business books in 1999, and the winner of the 2000 Overseas Press Club Award for best nonfiction book on foreign policy. It is now available in twenty languages. His last book, Longitudes and Attitudes: Exploring the World After September 11, issued by FSG in 2002, consists of columns Friedman published about September 11 as well as a diary of his private experiences and reflections during his reporting on the post-September world as he traveled from Afghanistan to Israel to Europe to Indonesia to Saudi Arabia. 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.

Friedman graduated summa cum laude from Brandeis University with a degree in Mediterranean studies and received a master's degree in modern Middle East studies from Oxford. He has served as a visiting professor at Harvard University and has been awarded honorary degrees from several U.S. universities. He lives in Bethesda, Maryland, with his wife, Ann, and their two daughters.