The World is Flat by Thomas L. Friedman

“Yes, the consumer in us wants Wal-Mart prices, with all the fat gone. But the employee in us wants a little fat left on the bone, the way Costco does it, so that it can offer health care to almost all its employee, rather than just less than half of them, as Wal-Mart does. But the shareholder in us wants Wal-Mart’s profit margins, not Costco’s. Yet the citizen in us wants Costco’s benefits, rather than Wal-Mart’s, because the different ultimately may have to be paid for by society.”

The world has changed and it continues to change and not in the notable, transforming ways history has seen before. Governments are not being toppled. Political revolutions are not exploding. But the power is shifting, it is shifting to the people.

With the rapid rise of consumer technology, more people are connected than ever before. The world has become much smaller, or as Thomas L. Friedman says, “The world is flat.”

Consumers do not have to rely on the restricted knowledge of real estate agents to find the perfect home, as countless internet sites can show you the entire market. No longer do we have to go from car lot to car lot to find a great deal on a used car, and no longer do you have to throw on a suit and walk up and down an office building looking for a job. The information has come to the people and the people have changed the game.

Now small company with little or no capital can become a global player over night. Established companies must learn to adapt and quickly.

The World is Flat by Thomas L. Friedman is a very interesting read on the changing times. The latest edition of this book was written in 2007, right before the start of the great recession, so it would be interesting to see if Friedman’s thoughts were changed by this major market malfunction.

This book is good but a little long. Friedman includes a lot of interviews and anecdotes, however his stories do not have the power or sharpness of Malcolm Gladwell or the Freakonomics authors.

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