So, when I started this, my goal was to write something about once a week, and then, life happened. I’m sure you all know what that’s like. The good news is I have still been getting some reading done. In fact, one of my goals this year is to have more balance in my life and do things like leave school by 3 at least twice a week. Anyone want to take bets on how long that lasts? Anyway, I’m going to do a brief review of some of the books I’ve recently finished: The World is Flat and Thursday Next: First Among Sequels.
The World is Flat
I don’t know how many of you have heard of this, but frankly, I was ready to roll my eyes at every opportunity as I was pretty sure it was nothing more than the latest conspiracy theory craze that Americans so love to latch on to in order to have something to complain about. However, I was pleasantly surprised when I started to read the book and found that it wasn’t conspiratorial at all. Rather, Friedman explains much of the history of the internet and technology as we know it today. He shows, historically, the progression the world has made in order to get to this point where the world is actually flattening as countries are positioned to have more equal opportunities for jobs and advancement. He also gets into the progression of organizations like Wallmart, Fedex, and UPS, explaining how each of these have adapted to more effectively meet the changing needs of society and thus be a successful business in a flat world.
I really enjoyed this book. Friedman engages his reader with interesting facts and information so that it seems, almost, that he is weaving a story. He includes enough examples without going into overkill. In some cases, I found his claims, especially about the future, to not be totally believable in that he claims that as China and India continue to grow in the goods and services they offer and become more in line with the prices companies would pay in America other countries will come up to take their places. However, I’m not totally sure this is the case as most other countries wouldn’t be in a position to do this as they have not put into place the educational systems and infrastructures needed. Basically, Friedman seems sure of where this flattening will take the world, but I’m not convinced that it will continue in the same way; I think there are other variables and conditions to consider.
Rating: Stinking Good!
Thursday Next: First Among Sequels
Nothing like The World is Flat, this latest book from Jasper Fforde has much of the wit and clever literary allusion of his other Thursday Next books, and his writing has definitely improved from the first in the series, but I found the story of this book to be choppy and disconnected. This installment stars an older Thursday, wife of Landon and mother of three–Friday (teenager now), Tuesday (math genius daughter), and Jenny (a mind worm planted by Ms. Hades). Honestly, I felt that beginning the book about halfway through would have netted the same results as I didn’t feel that the beginning and end of the book were really connected. I also felt that Thursday’s character was a very washed out version of her earlier character. I did still enjoy the book, but I didn’t think it was up to the level of his other works.