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Thank You for Being Late
Cover of Thank You for Being Late
Thank You for Being Late
An Optimist's Guide to Thriving in the Age of Accelerations

A field guide to the twenty-first century, written by one of its most celebrated observers

We all sense it—something big is going on. You feel it in your workplace. You feel it when you talk to your kids. You can't miss it when you read the newspapers or watch the news. Our lives are being transformed in so many realms all at once—and it is dizzying.

In Thank You for Being Late, a work unlike anything he has attempted before, Thomas L. Friedman exposes the tectonic movements that are reshaping the world today and explains how to get the most out of them and cushion their worst impacts. You will never look at the world the same way again after you read this book: how you understand the news, the work you do, the education your kids need, the investments your employer has to make, and the moral and geopolitical choices our country has to navigate will all be refashioned by Friedman's original analysis.

Friedman begins by taking us into his own way of looking at the world—how he writes a column. After a quick tutorial on that subject, he proceeds to write what could only be called a giant column about the twenty-first century. His thesis: to understand the twenty-first century, you need to understand that the planet's three largest forces—Moore's law (technology); the Market (globalization); and Mother Nature (climate change and biodiversity loss)—are accelerating all at once. These accelerations are transforming five key realms: the workplace, politics, geopolitics, ethics, and community.

Why is this happening? As Friedman shows, the exponential increase in computing power defined by Moore's law has a lot to do with it. The year 2007 was a major inflection point: the release of the iPhone, together with advances in silicon chips, software, storage, sensors, and networking, created a new technology platform. Friedman calls this platform "the supernova"—for it is an extraordinary release of energy that is reshaping everything from how we hail a taxi to the fate of nations to our most intimate relationships. It is creating vast new opportunities for individuals and small groups to save the world—or to destroy it.

Thank You for Being Late is a work of contemporary history that serves as a field manual for how to write and think about this era of accelerations. It's also an argument for "being late"—for pausing to appreciate this amazing historical epoch we're passing through and reflecting on its possibilities and dangers. To amplify this point, Friedman revisits his Minnesota hometown in his moving concluding chapters; there, he explores how communities can create a "topsoil of trust" to anchor their increasingly diverse and digital populations.

With his trademark vitality, wit, and optimism, Friedman shows that we can overcome the multiple stresses of an age of accelerations—if we slow down, if we dare to be late and use the time to reimagine work, politics, and community. Thank You for Being Late is Friedman's most ambitious book—and an essential guide to the present and the future.

A field guide to the twenty-first century, written by one of its most celebrated observers

We all sense it—something big is going on. You feel it in your workplace. You feel it when you talk to your kids. You can't miss it when you read the newspapers or watch the news. Our lives are being transformed in so many realms all at once—and it is dizzying.

In Thank You for Being Late, a work unlike anything he has attempted before, Thomas L. Friedman exposes the tectonic movements that are reshaping the world today and explains how to get the most out of them and cushion their worst impacts. You will never look at the world the same way again after you read this book: how you understand the news, the work you do, the education your kids need, the investments your employer has to make, and the moral and geopolitical choices our country has to navigate will all be refashioned by Friedman's original analysis.

Friedman begins by taking us into his own way of looking at the world—how he writes a column. After a quick tutorial on that subject, he proceeds to write what could only be called a giant column about the twenty-first century. His thesis: to understand the twenty-first century, you need to understand that the planet's three largest forces—Moore's law (technology); the Market (globalization); and Mother Nature (climate change and biodiversity loss)—are accelerating all at once. These accelerations are transforming five key realms: the workplace, politics, geopolitics, ethics, and community.

Why is this happening? As Friedman shows, the exponential increase in computing power defined by Moore's law has a lot to do with it. The year 2007 was a major inflection point: the release of the iPhone, together with advances in silicon chips, software, storage, sensors, and networking, created a new technology platform. Friedman calls this platform "the supernova"—for it is an extraordinary release of energy that is reshaping everything from how we hail a taxi to the fate of nations to our most intimate relationships. It is creating vast new opportunities for individuals and small groups to save the world—or to destroy it.

Thank You for Being Late is a work of contemporary history that serves as a field manual for how to write and think about this era of accelerations. It's also an argument for "being late"—for pausing to appreciate this amazing historical epoch we're passing through and reflecting on its possibilities and dangers. To amplify this point, Friedman revisits his Minnesota hometown in his moving concluding chapters; there, he explores how communities can create a "topsoil of trust" to anchor their increasingly diverse and digital populations.

With his trademark vitality, wit, and optimism, Friedman shows that we can overcome the multiple stresses of an age of accelerations—if we slow down, if we dare to be late and use the time to reimagine work, politics, and community. Thank You for Being Late is Friedman's most ambitious book—and an essential guide to the present and the future.

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  • Publisher's Weekly

    October 10, 2016
    Friedman (coauthor of That Used to Be Us), a three-time Pulitzer Prize winner for his work as a reporter with the New York Times, engages in an intelligent but overlong discussion of the faster paces of change in technology, globalization, and climate around the world. His core argument is that “simultaneous accelerations in the Market, Mother Nature and Moore’s law” (the principle that the power of microchips doubles every two years) constitute an “Age of Accelerations,” in which people who feel “fearful or unmoored” must “pause and reflect” rather than panic. Friedman opens with slow-paced, wordy, and at times highly technical discussions of each of his accelerations, with examples that include solar-powered waste compactors, pedometer-wearing cows, the Watson computer’s wrong answer on Jeopardy!, and geopolitics. He then offers personal and policy recommendations for coping with accelerations, such as self-motivation, a single-payer health care system, lifelong learning, and encouraging more people to follow the Golden Rule. Unfortunately, Friedman’s intriguing facts and ideas are all but buried under too many autobiographical anecdotes and lengthy recollections about the circumstances of interviews he conducted and research he completed, giving readers the recipe and history of all the ingredients along with the meal. Agent: Esther Newberg, ICM.

  • AudioFile Magazine In this audiobook, Friedman moves beyond his "flat" metaphor to consider how aspects of modern society are supernovas. He posits that the intersecting of Moore's Law on integrated circuits, the rate of human-created climate change, and the increasing spread of political instability offer up many challenges for societies, but also an opportunity for people and government to change society into something never seen before. As Friedman uses many personal anecdotes to make his points, Wyman does well with both the stories and the statistics. Friedman's ideas are fascinating, but without Wyman's ability to emphasize and to change delivery speed, listeners could easily get tired of the many details. Instead, Wyman keeps to a steady drive and an energetic projection that hold listeners' attention. L.E. � AudioFile 2016, Portland, Maine
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Thank You for Being Late
Thank You for Being Late
An Optimist's Guide to Thriving in the Age of Accelerations
Thomas L. Friedman
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