Saturday, June 23, 2012

The World Is Flat by Thomas L. Friedman

"I think today that the rule is about efficiency, it’s about collaboration and it is about competitiveness and it is about being a team player. It is about staying sharp and competing in the game…"-Rajesh (p. 222)

And, according to Friedman, Americans are not in the game, which is the reason that businesses are outsourcing jobs to India and China. To be productive in the "flat world," the claims that we need to embrace technology that leads to healthy competition for jobs because that is the nature of globalization. Oh, yeah, the world is flat. Did I mention that it was flat. It is flat, I say! That about sums up Friedman's book.

Someone needs to take a scapel to this book and carve out the excessive repetition. Friedman takes 639 pages to say what he could say in 200. As a result, the reader gets bogged down in his personal narratives and name dropping, which really have no point. Also, he is decidedly pro-outsourcing, so if readers are anti-outsourcing, they probably don't want to pick this book up.

I read this book because several "big names" in teacher research quote him for the New Literacies push in curriculum. Although I agree that the Internet is here to stay and that multiple literacies are a way of life, I was disappointed at the lack of empiracle evidence cited throughout this book. Instead, it relied heavily on narratives and interviews with workers and company owners overseas. That's fine, but the view is skewed, and I want REAL data.

All in all, this book isn't terrible, but it doesn't tell us anything new. In fact, it was late jumping on the technology bandwagon in 2005 when it's first publication came out. Also, it seems more interested in pushing the out-sourcing agenda than talking about the new literacies that encompass society.

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