Synopsis (Goodreads): We all sense it – something big is going on. You feel it in your workplace. You feel it when you talk to your children. You can’t miss it when you read the newspapers or watch the news. Our lives are speeding up – and it is dizzying.
In Thank You for Being Late, a work unlike any he has attempted before, Thomas L. Friedman exposes the tectonic movements that are reshaping the world today and explains how to get the most out of them.
Friedman’s thesis is that to understand the twenty-first century, you need to understand that the planet’s three largest forces – Moore’s law (technology), the market (globalization) and Mother Nature (climate change and biodiversity loss) – are all accelerating at once, transforming the workplace, politics, geopolitics, ethics and community. An extraordinary release of energy is reshaping everything from how we hail a taxi to the fate of nations to our most intimate relationships. It is creating vast new opportunities for individuals and small groups to save the world – or perhaps to destroy it.
Reviewing non-fiction books is hard! Now that I have that confession out of the way, I was first introduced to Thomas Friedman when I picked up The World is Flat around 10 years ago and I loved the way he broke down the complexities of globalization into an enjoyable, story-like reading experience.
As with The World is Flat, Friedman’s journalistic and inherently optimistic writing style drew me into Thank You For Being Late straight away. The author devotes much of the first half of the book to discussing how accelerations in rates of change in technology, globalization and in Mother Nature are impacting each other and transforming every aspect of modern life – how these accelerations are dramatically reshaping the world as we know it, as well as the mismatch that has arisen between this rate of change and our ability to make the most of these accelerations or mitigate their more negative impacts.
Technologically speaking, you could probably call me an ostrich with my head stuck in the sand. So when Friedman dived straight into his argument with Moore’s Law a part of me went “Eeeeeeeek!” (As an FYI – Moore’s law refers to an observation made by Intel co-founder Gordon Moore in 1965. He noticed that the number of transistors per square inch on integrated circuits had doubled every year since their invention. Moore’s law predicts that this trend will continue into the foreseeable future – thank you Investopedia!). However, I quickly realized….1) Technology is fascinating (or is it just Friedman that makes it so?), and its use in both positive and negative ways can have far-reaching consequences that stretch way beyond imagination; and 2) I appreciate my boyfriend’s techno-geekiness so much more!
What I loved about this book was how the author once again managed to deconstruct a massive global phenomenon with three main forces and present it to the layman reader in an immaculately researched and thought provoking reading experience.
It’s clear that Thomas Friedman feels strongly about the subjects covered. Technology, the global market and Mother Nature can be all be pretty dry if poorly tackled, but with his journalistic reporting style, references to human stories, and quirky facts (I now know that 60% of South Koreans surveyed in 2015 would rather give up sex than personal use of their mobile phones…it’s funny what sticks around in your mind), the author has delivered a timely and essential read for anyone who wants to understand the major forces affecting us today and what it would take to survive and thrive in this exponentially changing world.