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Tom Friedman Goes Green November 15, 2008

Posted by Brian L. Belen in Books, Reviews.
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Hot, Flat, and Crowded may very well be the most important book of Thomas Friedman’s career, though not necessarily the best.

In the minus column, the book suffers from many of the problems typically identified with materials that dwell on environmental issues, climate change and reducing mankind’s carbon footprint. Because it is fundamentally a treatise espousing concern for the environment, the palpable sense of urgency occasionally comes across as hyperbole, if not outright warnings of doom and gloom. Further, the enthusiasm with which Friedman launches into the discussion tends to border on excess, what with uncharacteristic lengthy prose that where simpler composition (not to mention more watchful editing) would have sufficed. Perhaps there is really something about taking up the cudgels for the environment that takes some shine off the work of even the best among us — and where journalists are concerned, they don’t come much better than Thomas Friedman.

But on the plus side, it is at its core a very good read; more so for those who have followed Tom Friedman’s work through the years. As the title suggests, the book continues with the themes that Friedman has already written lengthily about, this time pointing to the consequences that population growth (to a lesser extent) and climate change (to a greater extent) can have in an increasingly interconnected world. By default, there can be no denying that the substance is there. The analysis is sharp. It skillfully fleshes out what is right and what wrong about today’s green agenda. Most of all, it is a timely piece on issues of great concern to the world going forward, despite — or maybe even because of — one’s personal views about them.

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