The world is flat: A brief history of the twenty-first century. Friedman, T.

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Friedman, T. (2005).  The world is flat: A brief history of the twenty-first century.  New York, NY: Farrar, Straus and Giroux.

An Annotation

This is a book about globalization and how world economies, networks, and technology have converged to level the playing field of knowledge and power, creating huge shifts in the standards of living throughout the world.  His early chapters describe ten forces that have flattened the world:

•    11/9/89—Tearing down of the Berlin Wall
•    8/9/89—Netscape went public (launching the free internet revolution)
•    Work Flow Software
•    Open-Sourcing
•    Outsourcing
•    Offshoring
•    Supply Chaining
•    Insourcing
•    In-forming
•    The Steroids

He then goes on to sort out what all of this means for individuals, countries, economies, companies, and explains how this unprecedented historical change that sort of snuck up on everyone changes the whole landscape of values and skills needed to survive and compete in a global economy.  The bottom line is that if you are unwilling or unable to continue to learn new skills, your standard of living will suffer.  But he also describes a segment of skill sets that he calls, “The Untouchables—people whose jobs cannot be outsourced.”  He describes these types of workers as: special, specialized, anchored or really adaptable.

Friedman’s final chapter is titled Imagination, and he leads with a quote by Albert Einstein: “Imagination is more important than knowledge.”  From where I’m standing, that about says it all when it comes to what’s important in education.

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