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The Lexus and the Olive Tree by Thomas L. Friedman Review

Title: The Lexus and the Olive Tree

Author: Thomas L. Friedman

First published January 1, 1997

490 pages, Paperback

ISBN: 9780385499347 (ISBN10: 0385499345)

Rating: 3.6


Thomas L. Friedman’s The Lexus and the Olive Tree is a must-read for anyone seeking to understand the complexities of the modern international system.

With globalization as the driving force of change, Friedman explores how capital, technology, and information are breaking down national borders and bringing together people from all corners of the globe. Through his extensive travels, Friedman paints a vivid picture of the conflict between the forces of globalization and those of tradition, culture, and community.

He also delves into the powerful backlash that globalization can produce and what we can do to maintain balance in this new world. This updated edition of The Lexus and the Olive Tree is essential reading for anyone who wants to stay informed about the forces shaping our world today.

About the Author

Thomas Loren Friedman is a renowned author and journalist who has received three Pulitzer Prizes and has written six best-selling books, including From Beirut to Jerusalem and The World Is Flat.

Friedman was born on July 20, 1953, in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and grew up in a middle-class suburb called St. Louis Park. His parents were Harold and Margaret Friedman, and he has two older sisters, Shelley and Jane.

In 1995, Friedman became the Foreign Affairs columnist. He had always aspired to this role and loved reading columns and op-ed articles ever since he was in high school.

His favorite columnist was Peter Lisagor, whose articles he would eagerly read on the living room floor.

As a Foreign Affairs columnist, Friedman has traveled extensively to report on the ground and anchor his opinions in reality. He broadened the definition of foreign affairs to include issues like finance, globalization, environmentalism, biodiversity, and technology, in addition to traditional topics like conflict, diplomacy, and arms control.

His goal was to make foreign policy accessible to a general audience, beyond the usual State Department policy wonks. This approach was somewhat controversial at the time, so he decided to write a book that explained his framework for understanding the world.

His framework emphasized the tension between old concepts like nationalism, ethnicity, religion, geography, and culture, and new concepts like technology, the Internet, and global markets and finance. According to Friedman, understanding the world requires considering both of these angles, as they intersect to shape international relations.

Editoral Review

Thomas L. Friedman’s The Lexus and the Olive Tree is a magnificent work that offers a comprehensive and informative exploration of globalization in the modern world.

As an author and journalist, Friedman’s mastery of language is evident in this work, making it a compelling read for anyone interested in understanding the concept of globalization. The book begins by introducing the two metaphors that make up the title of the book, the Lexus and the olive tree.

The Lexus represents the dominant force of globalization, epitomizing the relentless pursuit of economic progress, while the olive tree stands for the traditional values and cultures of the world. Through these two metaphors, Friedman illustrates the complexities of globalization and the tensions that exist between traditional values and the forces of globalization.

The book presents a captivating account of the forces that drive globalization, the challenges it poses to the world’s cultures and economies, and how they are coping with them. Friedman provides a comprehensive overview of the various players in this global movement, including multinational corporations, governments, institutions, and individuals, and how they interact with each other.

Friedman is an expert storyteller, able to weave together historical and current events to provide a vivid picture of globalization. From the Asia financial crisis to the growth of Silicon Valley, from the rise of Chinese state capitalism to the Arab Spring, this book provides a broad view of globalization, its impact on the world, and how people have responded to it.

The book provides thoughtful insights into a complex and often misunderstood phenomenon, tackling issues like economic growth, cultural clash, and the impact of technology on our lives. The book is full of interesting and informative anecdotes, which make it easy to read and understand.

The book’s depth and breadth of historical and cultural knowledge is impressive, and Friedman presents his arguments with clarity and precision. However, the book at times can appear somewhat political, and some readers may find it overly simplistic in its treatment of the issues it addresses.

Overall, The Lexus and the Olive Tree is a must-read for anyone looking to understand the impact of globalization. Its engaging style and comprehensive coverage make it an enjoyable and informative read.

I would recommend this book to readers who want an in-depth understanding of the global economy and how it shapes our world.

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