The World Is Flat: A Brief History of the Twenty-First Century

Version: Unabridged (Abridged version available here)
Author: Thomas L. Friedman
Narrator: Oliver Wyman
Genres: History
Publisher: Audio Renaissance
Published In: April 2005
# of Units: 15 CDs
Length: 19 hours
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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 (21)

Old News

Written by fstony on December 9th, 2008

  • Book Rating: 2/5

If you can sign on to a social networking site, this book will say little that seems new to you. I wonder if I would have found this book passe if I had read it immediately upon its publication. To Friedman's credit, he managed to interview an astonishing list of famous, powerful, or wealthy individuals. However, he often seems gullible: he likes to make a claim and back it up with a self-serving quote by some celebrity executive.

The world is flat a brief history

Written by Jon from Battle Ground, WA on August 19th, 2008

  • Book Rating: 0/5

VERY VERY boring I couldn't even get past the first CD.

The World is Flat

Written by Jason on May 29th, 2008

  • Book Rating: 2/5

I think that the information in this book has become dated. The "flattening" elements are no longer as monumental as when the book was written, but accepted ways of life today. Every year this book becomes more obsolete. The book gets worse the longer it goes. I completely disagreed with many of the "solutions" posed by the author on how America can continue to dominate in the future. The thinly veiled soapbox of liberalism the author ascends in disc 4 detracts value from the book overall. Finally, the pseudo Indian accent from the reader is ridiculous!

The World is Flat

Written by Cheryl Sattler on May 20th, 2008

  • Book Rating: 5/5

WOW. I listened to this book, which gives a very compelling argument FOR off-shoring jobs, as Clinton and Obama argued against NAFTA and CAFTA while campaigning. It's an enlightening, frightening, highly compelling book. Friedman is now on my must-read list. He is worth listening to.

great stuff - needs better narrator

Written by Anonymous on July 25th, 2007

  • Book Rating: 4/5

I read and enjoyed this authors previous work "Lexus and the Olive Tree" - so I was excited to read this. It is excellent - full of good, thought provoking ideas. The reader, however, is reading for the hard of thinking, and is slow and ponderous. He does a good job with all the voices of the different people interviewed, the delivery is bloodless and without passion. Still, worth listening to in spite of that if you are wondering how to stay afloat with the threat of global competition lapping at your toes.

World's worst reader

Written by Scott Wilson on July 24th, 2007

  • Book Rating: 2/5

The guy who read this book (not the author) had this incredibly irritating habit of slipping into a faux-Indian accent when he was quoting a foreigner. Think "Casey Casum meets the Dell helpdesk."

Good, but repetitive

Written by Judy Stokes on July 4th, 2007

  • Book Rating: 3/5

This was an ambitious book and I learned quite a bit, but I felt the author was a tad too repetitive. I actually packed it up and returned it before I finished the final few discs. I already had the picture: globalization has changed everything, and we must adapt.

The World is Flat

Written by Sandra Oliver on April 22nd, 2007

  • Book Rating: 4/5

This is a very informative book. It is not my normal read; but, I found it very interesting. I now understand why the accented gentleman answers when I call my telephone company and why the jobs are going overseas.

Great Read

Written by ML on January 7th, 2007

  • Book Rating: 4/5

Although the 1st 1/2 of the book almost lost me due to boredum, it would be good information for someone who is not in the high-tech industry. That being said, the second 1/2 of the book was worth every word. If you want a fresh, honest view of what globalization has in store of us, including how it relates to terrorism, this is a must read.

World is Flat: A Brief History of the Twenty-First Century

Written by DAS on December 7th, 2006

  • Book Rating: 4/5

Very informative. Mr. Friedman almost ruins his book by spending the last chapter or so giving his political opinions instead of sticking to facts as he did for most of the book. Seriously, saying that three Palestinian male militants are actually "good boys" and excusing their want for violence goes just a little too far for me. Even so, the preceding 95% of the book is worth the read. Just eject the last CD when there's still about 30 minutes to go.

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.