Monday, February 09, 2009

Hot, Flat and Crowded

One of my new favourite books is "Hot, Flat and Crowded: Why We Need a Green Revolution --and How it can Renew America" by Thomas L. Friedman. I loved his first book - "The World is Flat" but like this one even more.

Friedman is a first rate researcher, futurist and writer. This book is a classic. A must read for anyone who wants to be informed about the world.

The Hot part is the environment. He used the term "global weirding" as opposed to "global warming". Using that term brings it into focus better for most people. In Guelph, we have had more snow and cold than anytime in recent memory this year. Katrina, storms, etc. He issues dire warnings.

The Flat part is what he spoke about in his first book - The World is Flat. Basically, technology allows jobs to be shifted anywhere in the world.

The Crowded is the population growth which adds to the stress on the environment and also encourages the "flat" part.

As the title implies, much of the book is about the environment. He points out that this has become a political issue but green really should not be. It is a common goal.

Friedman is a studied academic and very knowledgeable about the middle east. Part of his frame of reference comes from that background. Dependence on middle east oil is much of the problem in his view.

The book nicely ties together economics and the green movement. To be perfectly crass, if people can save money, they will be green and this is the main way to make a difference. So he fights for policies which support this.

The thesis of the book is we can thrive economically if we focus on getting green. This is an encouraging message despite the doom he cites in the statistics at the start of the book.

My enviro brothers, Glen and Lyle should love this one. I know my son, David, did - he loaned it to me.

And after reading it, I feel guilty for not walking to work today (and the weather was beautiful)- doing my part for the environment.


At 2:19 PM, Blogger Ivan said...

I will have to get around to reading this book! I bought it a little while back and have been behind in my reading.

I also enjoyed "The World is Flat", as well as his previous book "The Lexus and the Olive Tree". The Lexus and the Olive Tree is getting a little old now, but it definitely helped me understand how the world works in a much clearer way and I thank Friedman for that!

Thanks for giving me a synopsis and reminding me to catch up on my reading/understanding the state of the world!

- Ivan

At 3:06 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

Dear Jim,

I aspire to make it big in life and reading your posts have been quite helpful in developing some ideas. I get inspired by the speed of your reading as the reviews are posted in close gaps. I would appreciate if you could share some tips on reading?


At 7:38 PM, Blogger Ruth said...

This is the second good review I've seen of this book so far today. I'll have to pay a visit to Chapters tomorrow and pick up a copy.

Another that I've also enjoyed reading is Agenda for a Sustainable America, a collection of essays by several environmental experts and edited by John Dernbach. It offers both excellent policy analysis and practical recommendations for dealing with most of the issues facing America and the rest of the world.


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