Wednesday, February 07, 2007

The World is Flat: Book Review

Thomas Friedman's The world is Flat is a compelling read and inarguably the best pick of the season. It is indeed a brief history of the 21st century with Information Technology (IT) in focus.

People in the IT have come across broadly two types of books - one with all technical information relating with a domain/ platform or the management books which least deals with techie stuff. Not many attempts have across the third segment striking a fine balance between these two. Friedman's work is more of the third category which essentially traces the evolution of IT. With the advent of modern communication (like Fiber Optics, Internet and associated technologies), the world has started becoming a Level Playing Field for all the countries that are in the IT race. And it is in this context, Friedman describes the World is Flat. In fact, the title is also inspired by the Infosys’ CEO Nandan Nilikeni, who makes the author understand that the world is indeed flat during his conversation with him.

Friedman takes you on an exciting journey covering the phases of Globalisation 1.0, 2.0 and 3.0. It has also links to historical references such as Collapse of Berlin Wall, Disintegration of Soviet Union, India's Abolition of License Raj etc. He poignantly describes the ten flattening forces which made a Flat World i.e. level playing field. The ten flatteners which he listed are: 1. Fall of Berlin Wall 8/9/95, 2. Netscape goes public, 3. Work Flow Software, 4. Uploading, 5. Outsourcing, 6. Offshoring, 7.Supply-Chaining, 8. Insourcing, 9. In-forming and 10. The Steroids: digital, mobile, personal, virtual. He writes in depth about the emergence and impact on these ten flatteners to the world and in lots of ways to our lives as well. The author delves into the emergence of India and China into the IT market and praises the indomitable spirit of Indians and Chinese' entrepreneurial spirit. Towards the end, he discusses in depth about the future of IT in America, the threatening forces and the sustainability issues.

The book is sure gonna make you more enlightened on your perspectives in IT and globalisation. The book is not for only those IT geeks, which you might mistake otherwise, but is addressed to a large and diverse audience. Rich with anecdotes, The World is Flat has an encyclopedic assortment of Who's who in the IT world and the companies. The language is vivid and more of a conversational type. The explanation is so clear and lucid that even a lay man could easily comprehend.

Finally, I would say, go and grab your copy if you haven’t read.
Note: This post has also been crossposted in

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