Thomas Friedman is famed for his 2005 novel, The World is Flat: A Brief History of the Twenty-First Century, an international bestseller that looks at the role of globalization in the world. The book’s title is a reference both to the leveled global playing field of the current world and the perceptual shift that must happen for organizations to remain competitive in the modern global market where historical and geographical divisions have become largely irrelevant. At the heart of Friedman’s book is a narration of his experiences in Bangalore, India, during a trip in which he realized that globalization has changed the core economic concepts that once ruled the world. Friedman accounts for this shift through the advent of the personal computer, fiber-optic micro cable, and workflow software. This new stage is dubbed Globalization 3.0, differentiating it from globalization propelled by government (Globalization 1.0) and globalization propelled by multinational companies (Globalization 2.0).One of the products of this new globalization and flattened world was the need for a new business model that focuses on horizontal rather than vertical collaboration. Previously, innovation in the business world came from the top, meaning that it came from management. Now, however, businesses collaborate inter-departmentally and, more importantly, with each other to achieve innovation. As a result, individuals are becoming highly specialized, focusing on the accomplishment of one task rather than being able to work skillfully in a number of different industries. This is also paired with a decrease in the number of Americans that are becoming leading scientists, mathematicians, and engineers. Thomas Friedman uses The World is Flat as a warning about the flattening of the world that has come with a new form of globalization and as an encouragement to the American work force to continually update its skill set across industries, making it more adaptable. Friedman also hopes to inspire more American children to become scientists, mathematicians, and engineers, lessening the United States’ reliance on intellectual outsourcing and offshoring.
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