“What Tom Friedman Means by ‘Flat’,” by Dan, tdaxp, 1 May 2005, http://www.tdaxp.com/archive/2005/05/01/what_tom_friedman_means_by_flat.html.
“The Book Is Flatulent: A Brief Review of Thomas L. Friedman’s “The World Is Flat” Op-Ed,” by Thomas Barnett, The Newsletter from Thomas P.M. Barnett, 20 June 2005, http://www.newrulesets.com/journals/barnett_20jun2005.pdf.
Dr. Barnett is confused by Mr. Friedman’s new book, The World is Flat
The book is mind-numbing in its repetition. It seems like every third page there is a CEO named Jerry or Craig from a high-tech company ready with some self-enforcing quote (“Tom, let me tell you why I think the world is becoming flatter by the day!”). In fact, using the word “flat” (or “flatter,” “flattening,” “flatist,” “flattest,” “flattener,” and so on) seemed to be a prerequisite for getting your quote (and there are oh so many quotes and snippets of “flat” conversations) in the book (you can almost hear Friedman prompting everyone, “Now be sure to use the word ‘flat’ somewhere in your response or I can’t use it!”).
Hey, it’s no worse than bleating “sock it to me!” to get on Laugh-In. A cameo’s a cameo.
Friedman is stupefying in his efforts to interpret everything in terms of flatness (Southwest lets you print your boarding tickets online? “Yet another brilliant example that the world is getting flat!”; You can eat sushi in a small Midwestern town? “OMYGOD the world is sooooo flat!”) that by the end of the book you have no idea what the terms means anymore. Flatness is a euphemism for everything from “cool” to “new” to “high-tech” to “competitive” to “innovative” to “globalization” to “flat” (no, wait a minute, that last one doesn’t work . . . or does it?) am not kidding you, as you read this book you’re so trained, almost in a Pavlovian sort of way, to see the word “flat” that when you go more than a paragraph or two without seeing it, you start to get anxious.
Tom Barnett doesn’t know what Tom Friedman means by “flat.” Maybe he should google what does tom friedman mean by flat? and read the first result
The red lines symbolize vertical power, so someone has police authority. Yet everyone is on the same level, so there are not leaders or followers. This is Friedman’s idealized school system — it is a flat vertical network
Friedman is not an anarchist or a libertarian. He believes in the importance of government. He also believes that the “top-down there are experts who know better” approach is now out of date. In Friedman’s philosophy, people should no longer “act steep” (externalize leadership to others) but should “act flat” (internalize leadership to themselves).
Tom Barnett sees that flat is applied to many different domains, but he doesn’t see the big picture. The good doctor instead mocks Friedman for thinking horizontally, calls the book “Orwellian,” and writes
But I am not optimistic. Friedman’s career is on autopilot now. His editor obviously can’t tame him (Warren would have axed so much of this book it’s not funny; and whenever I get close to using Core-Gap like that in a paragraph, he is merciless in his criticism). The man lives in a bubble where he speaks to the adoring crowds at all times, and they’re mostly CEOs looking for product placements in his next piece (the whole book is one big product placement).