The World is Flat

October 3, 2008

So I finally got around to reading The World is Flat. My cousin who I’m staying with (and whose usual reading is self-help books) had MED for it and in a moment of weakness I succumbed.

I didn’t find it as terrible as Prof. Ed Leamer’s scathing review (so scathing, he takes no less than 51 pages to scathe through) makes it out to be. The difference drawn between wholesale reform and retail reform was one of the better parts of the book, and the first time I’ve actually seen it drawn outside of a one-off newspaper op-ed or blogpost. On the other hand, the breast beating about declining standards in American education and what should be done about them, are entertaining to read but manage to contradict the rest of the book stunningly.

The overall impression I got of the book is that Thomas Friedman is to business journalism what Navjot Singh Sidhu is to cricket commentary. While there is an actual concept at the bottom of everything they talk about, these guys fall in love with their metaphors, to the point where the metaphor takes on a life of itself, and it becomes impossible to find the funda. Such is life.

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