Review of “Hot, Flat and Crowded” by Thomas Friedman

This month we feature Hot, Flat, and Crowded by multi-Pulitzer-winning journalist Thomas Friedman.

hot_flat_and_crowded2 About the Author

Thomas Friedman has been a major voice in the politics of globalization for many   years and in various capacities.  Born in Minneapolis, USA in 1953, his resume includes three Pulitzer prizes – twice for International Reporting (1983, 1988) and the third for Commentary (2002) – for his work with The New York Times. His extensive writing on foreign affairs – specifically on global trade, the Middle East and environmental issues – has been informed through assignments and postings worldwide.

Friedman’s most well-known work as an author is The World is Flat: A Brief History of the 21st Century (2005), a #1 bestseller that dealt with the changing global landscape that is still in the process of emerging due to political developments, new technology, and a shift in the global balance of power.  One of his most appealing points as an author and commentator is that he is constantly searching for new perspectives and knowledge; he remains grounded enough to accept challenges to his positions and to adapt them based on emerging information

About the Book

In Hot, Flat, and Crowded, Friedman makes his most concerted forray into the climate change debate and what we can do to avoid the type of catastrophe that Thomas Malthus predicted in the mid-19th century. Friedman calls for America to take the lead in what he describes as Geo-Greenism, a revolution that will not only avert the potentially disastrous effects of climate change, but will also make the world a safer, healthier, and more innovative place.  He believes that it is not too late for human ingenuity to save us, but emphasizes that for this to happen we need to act now, and on a large, top-to-bottom, across-the-board and united scale.  “We need 100,000 people in 100,000 garages trying 100,000 things — in the hope that five of them break through”, says Friedman.

Hot, Flat, and Crowded clearly shows that Friedman understands climate change as a deadly threat to society, yet he balances out doomsday rhetoric with a palpable sense of energy and optimism that inspires action rather than despondency.  While his writing at times is too heavy on buzz-words, Friedman also offers complex and highly-informed solutions that apply to government and the private sector  right down to the level of the individual.

If you are looking for a dense and comprehensive yet energetic and readable insight into both the scale of the climate change problem and the scale of the necessary solutions, look no further.  You might not agree with everything that Friedman says, but you will certainly find his arguments well-researched and thought-provoking.

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