Tag Archives: the world is flat

the world is flat

theworldisflatThe World is Flat: a Brief History of the Twenty-First Century, by Thomas L. Friedman

i’ve had this important book on my “to read” pile for four years, i think. i kept meaning to get to it, but didn’t. but when dave gibbons, who i’ve been talking with about doing some writing together, said i needed to read it, i put it at the top of my list, and read it in one long day on a recent silent retreat (it’s really long, so reading it in one day was a big deal!).

i’m sure many of you have read it, so i’ll get right to the point: first half of the book is brilliant, and the second half of the book lost my attention. in the first half, friedman traces the global changes that are changing how we work (and play). he includes tons of great illustrations and interviews with business leaders in the u.s., india, china, and elsewhere. and he breaks it down into ten forces that precipitated this global shift. it was fascinating and inspiring (in a “you better change or you’re going to die” kind of way). in fact, at one point, i put the book down, pulled out my laptop, and whipped up a white paper for an idea for ys, using language from the book.

the second half of the book moves more into implications for business and government. the author gets a little preachy, and i think much of this ground could have been (and likely has been) covered in other books that are move focused on those topics.

and, i had a strange experience reading the book. my copy of the book is the original, published in 2005. i didn’t realize until later that there have been a couple revisions. but when i finally picked up the book to read it, i instantly thought: “shoot, this is going to be totally out of date.” funny, that i thought a book published four years ago would already be totally out of date. but i was right (and this stuff might be corrected/addressed in the later editions). there are all kinds of tweaky little things that are already dated, like lots of references to AOL (who uses them anymore?) and Palm Pilots (really? were they only that short ago?). there’s barely a mention of wikipedia (in the part where you’d expect it you’d expect it to be discussed), and facebook doesn’t show up once. this wasn’t a slam on the book. hardly. in fact, if intensifies the point of the book: that things are changing so fast this book is already more helpful as a historical document than as a suggestion of where things are headed.

all that aside: if you haven’t read this book yet, you should. i wish i’d moved it up my reading stack a few years earlier than i did.

monday morning update, march 16, 2009

the weekend that was: my weekend was mostly re-entry from a week out. i’d been up at forest home camp, NE of LA, all week. the second half of that week was a personal silent retreat, which went through early saturday morning. that morning, i drove back to san diego, straight to my church, where i was part of a parent training morning. our junior high pastor (christina) and high school pastor (brian) talked about what they’re trying to accomplish in the youth ministries, then i talked about adolescence and youth culture from a macro level. i was followed by our church’s teaching pastor (who also happened to be my boss 20 years ago at a church in omaha!), who talked specifically about parenting teenagers. it was a great morning, and i really enjoyed it; but it was a weird way to come off three days of total silence!

saturday afternoon, jeannie and i had a wonderful time of getting caught up and talking about life. one of the things i decided on my silent retreat is that i’ve been watching too much tv lately. the stress of my season was been a little bit of a perfect storm when combined with a television season with so many shows i like to watch. but i’ve been escaping a bit too much. and, with “kings” just starting — which looks like a show i’m going to add to my intake — i’m making a tough choice (for me, it’s tough) to cut four 1-hour shows:
celebrity apprentice
amazing race
hell’s kitchen

i’ve enjoyed all of these, so this is hard; but i think it’s best for me, and certainly better for my marriage and family. in full disclosure, the shows i’m still recording are:
american idol (which we watch as a family)
lost (which, like 24, jeannie and i both watch)
heroes (which i watch with liesl)
the office and 30 rock

saturday night, jeannie and max and i went over to our friends’, joe and beth slevcove, primarily so max could spend some time with their brand new son, akian (the russian word for “ocean”), because they’ve asked max to be akian’s “god brother”. max is taking this all very seriously, and it’s really wonderful to watch.

sunday morning was church, then a few do-dads around the house; followed by a nice catch-up with my friend, john. in the evening, all four of us (me, jeannie, max and liesl) were back at beth and joe slevcove’s for the baby shower for akian. really nice time.

where i am at the moment: at my desk, at ys, in san diego. good to be here.

on my to-do list this week: full week, but no travel. it feels a little bit stressful, though, as i have a lot of things coming to a head right now.

procrastinating about: well, taxes (like i said). i realized i missed a magazine column deadline last week, so i gotsta get that done. i have more revisions coming for the middle school ministry book, and i know i could be working on those now (but i’m waiting for someone to tell me i have to do them, which certainly qualifies as procrastination!).

book i’m in the midst of: woo-hoo! i finished 5 books since last week:
the know it all
are you there, vodka? it’s me chelsea
deep church
the world is flat
same kind of different as me

and i almost finished losing my faculties: a teacher’s story (which is a great non-fiction piece by brendan halpin). not sure what i’ll read next.

music that seemed to catch my attention this past week: really didn’t listen to anything this week!

next trip: a week from today i fly to grand rapids for a 24 hour trip to zondervan. but, otherwise, nothing major ’til my spring break trip with my daughter to paris, in a few weeks!

how i’m feeling about this week: hmm. not sure. lots on my plate, which feels a bit weighty. but i’m glad to be here all week.