| May 2000
Published by Anchor Books
paperback; 490 pages
Originally published in
Read an excerpt
from the Introduction,
Read an excerpt
from Chapter 1: Tourist
with an Attitude
As the Foreign Affairs columnist for
The New York
Times, Thomas L. Friedman
has traveled to the four corners of the globe, interviewing
people from all walks of contemporary life -- Brazilian
peasants in the Amazon rain forest, new entrepreneurs
in Indonesia, Islamic students in Teheran, and the
financial wizards on Wall Street and in Silicon Valley.
Now Friedman has drawn on his years on the road to
produce an engrossing and original look at the new
international system that, more than anything else,
is shaping world affairs today: globalization.
His argument can be summarized quite simply. Globalization
is not just a phenomenon and not just a passing trend.
It is the international system that replaced the Cold
War system. Globalization is the integration of capital,
technology, and information across national borders,
in a way that is creating a single global market and,
to some degree, a global village.
You cannot understand the morning news or know where
to invest your money or think about where the world
is going unless you understand this new system, which
is influencing the domestic policies and international
relations of virtually every country in the world
today. And once you do understand the world as Friedman
explains it, you'll never look at it quite the same
With vivid stories and a set of original terms and
concepts, Friedman shows us how to see this new system.
He dramatizes the conflict of "the Lexus and
the olive tree" -- the tension between the globalization
system and ancient forces of culture, geography, tradition,
and community. He also details the powerful backlash
that globalization produces among those who feel brutalized
by it, and he spells out what we all need to do to
keep this system in balance.
Finding the proper balance between the Lexus and
the olive tree is the great drama of the globalization
era, and the ultimate theme of Friedman's challenging,
provocative book -- essential reading for all who
care about how the world really works.
knows how to cut through the arcana of high tech and
high finance with vivid images and compelling analogies. . . a delightfully readable book.
--The New York Times Book Review, Josef Joffe
"He has a born reporter's
inextinguishable interest in everything, and a great
sense of the telling detail. His experience of the
world's societies may be broad and thin, yet he quite
often finds a fresh, memorable nugget in service of
his view that globalization is the "One Big Thing"
in the world today."
--The New Yorker, Nicholas Lemann
". . .
a spirited and imaginative exploration of our
new order of economic globalization
. . . The author uses his skills as reporter
and analyst to conduct a breathtaking tour, one that
possesses the exhilarating qualities of flight and
the stomach-hollowing ones of free fall."
--The New York Times, Richard Eder
is a card-carrying global optimist, and he excels
when analyzing how a new international system is replacing
the old cold-war system. His book contains a stinging
rebuke to protectionists, isolationists, and others
who want to stop the process of globalization for
their own benefit--and to the detriment of most of
the populace.... The global economy is still evolving,
and Friedman's work in progress is a timely read."
--Business Week, Christopher Farrell
"A wellspring of economic common sense that
will inoculate its readers against the 'globaloney'
so prevalent in popular discussions of the subject.
. . . Readers in search of a window onto the problems
of the cyberspace-driven 'virtual world economy' of
the twenty-first century are unlikely to find a better
place to start."
"All of us are groping to understand what's going
on. For a useful first pass on history, consult Thomas
"Required reading for anyone who still thinks
of the Internet as little more than a gimmick for
computer nerds -- deftly accomplishes the impressive
task of encapsulating the complex economic, cultural,
and environmental challenges of globalization with
the sort of hindsight that future historians will
bring to bear upon the subject."
--The Christian Science Monitor
"Friedman writes in straightforward language
that should make globalization's complexities comprehensible.
There's a great deal of wisdom in this book. Friedman
reminds us that the world has grappled with this phenomenon
before . . . At his best, Friedman represent a direct,
and enjoyable, challenge to the white-shoed Council
on Foreign Relations types who treat international
affairs as inherently the province of 'gentlemen'
rather than lay-people . . . This really is an owner's
manual for a globalized world."
--David Lynch, USA Today
"This is an important book; not since Nicholas
Negroponte's Being Digital has a volume come
along that so well explains the technical and financial
ether we are all swimming through . . . There is hardly
a page in the book without an underlineable passage
. . . [Friedman] has used his remarkable vantage point
to provide a readable overview that no academic or
narrow-beat reporter could have given us . . . [A]
genuinely important book."
--Scott Whitney, Salon
"In the Cold War, the most frequently asked
question was 'How big is your missile?' In globalization,
the most frequently asked question is 'How fast is
your modem?'" So writes New York Times Foreign
Affairs columnist Friedman (author of the NBA-winning
From Beirut to Jerusalem),
who here looks at geopolitics through the lens of
the international economy and boils the complexities
of globalization down to pithy essentials. Sometimes
his pithiness slips into simplicity. There's a jaunty
innocence in the way he observes that "no two
countries that both had a McDonald's had fought a
war against each other, since each got its McDonald's."
For the most part, however, Friedman is a terrific
explainer. He presents a clear picture of how the
investment decisions of what he calls the "Electronic
Herd" -- a combination of institutions, such
as mutual funds, and individuals, whether George Soros
or your uncle Max trading on his PC--affect the fortunes
of nations. The book's title, in its reference to
both the global economy (the Lexus) and specific national
aspirations and cultural identity (the olive tree),
echoes Benjamin Barber's Jihad
Vs. McWorld. Like Barber, Friedman takes
note of what may be lost, as well as gained, in the
brave new world: "globalization enriches the
consumer in us, but it can also shrink the citizen
and the space for individual cultural and political
expression." The animating spirit of his book,
however, is one of excitement rather than fear. Some
of the excitement is the joy a good lecturer feels
in making the complex digestible. Writing with great
clarity and broad understanding, Friedman has set
the standard for books purporting to teach Globalization
--Publishers Weekly (starred review)
the benefits and pitfalls of globalization in a text
so clearly written and with so many examples that
one easily forgets that this is a book about economics.
Reader's of Friedman's column will recognize many
of these concepts. Well written, cogently argued,
thought-provoking, and very highly recommended."
--Patrick J. Brunet, Library Journal.
"A brilliant guidebook
to the new world of "globalization'' by Pulitzer-winning
New York Times columnist Friedman (From Beirut
to Jerusalem, 1988). In simplest terms, Friedman
defines globalization as the world integration of
finance markets, nation states, and technologies within
a free market capitalism on a scale never before experienced.
Friedman's discussion is wonderfully accessible, clarifying
the complex with enlightening stories that simplify
but are never simplistic. Artful and opinionated,
complex and cantankerous; simply the best book yet
written on globalization."
--Kirkus Associates, LP.
in wonderfully clear language just what globalization
is, how it is affecting people and nations, and why
a backlash is both inevitable and healthy. He uses
great anecdotes from street vendors in Asia to bankers
in Europe to crisply explain each point."
News Guide | About.com
"INSIGHT AND ELOQUENCE
characterize Freedman's foreign affairs columns in
the New York Times and they elevate this book.
He has exceptionally good judgment and the energy
of an intrepid traveler, so there is a street-truth
to his arguments, illuminated with vivid stories."
--Global Business Network.