Review of Thank You for Being Late

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  • Bold
  • Concrete Examples
  • Engaging


Thomas L. Friedman, a New York Times columnist who has won three Pulitzer Prizes, offers a dazzling if overlong consideration of how technology, climate change and “acceleration” are changing every aspect of life everywhere. Friedman, the best-selling author of The World Is Flat and other analytical books, leads the reader on detailed tours of the history of a range of technologies, geopolitical forces and climate shifts. He ends each history by explaining how that technology, force or climate trend will further accelerate in the future and what the consequences of that acceleration might be. Friedman likes to tell anecdotes that show how his ignorance turned to knowledge in a flash of revelation. Many of the anecdotes connect him with the reader and help readers understand how the world is changing under their feet. Patient or devoted readers of Friedman’s columns and those seeking a well-informed view of the future will enjoy his tour.

About the Author

Three-time winner of the Pulitzer Prize, Thomas Friedman writes for The New York Times. His six best-selling books include The World Is Flat.


“Thank You for Being Late”  

Today, everyone is so overworked that it’s not surprising when you feel relief if other people are late for a meeting or even dinner. Their tardiness gives you a few extra minutes of “unplanned-for, unscheduled time.” For Friedman, that empty time can feel like a gift.

“Three Climate Changes”

Although ideas have always been crucial to the endurance of “social democracy,” veteran Austrian diplomat Wolfgang Petritsch said that ideas are now in short supply. The dearth of ideas comes at a bad time, Friedman says, as society faces three “climate changes” at once, in technology, geopolitics and climate. Friedman’s main theme is that humanity faces massive disruption with accelerating change in the “climate of technology,” in the “climate of globalization” and in the Earth’s climate. Society must learn to cope with the trauma of change and continue to make progress. This is no time to let fear fuel a retrenchment or reaction. Friedman asserts in the strongest possible terms that now is the time for major industrial nations to “pause and rethink and reimagine politics anew.” 

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