Friedman’s books are always an interesting read, throwing thought-provoking ideas into the public domain. Often resulting in controversy, which Friedman considers his feat, a job well done, to get the public talking about issues ranging from the economic future, sustainability, corporate responsibility, social change, a changing global balance of power, America in decline, the rise of China and India (and all the other BRICS… perhaps minus one or two initials, replaced or added by countries like Indonesia and Turkey)… and the list goes on.
The way you get big change is by getting the big players to do the right things for the wrong reasons. If you wait for everyone to do the right thing for the right reason, you’re going to be waiting a long, long time. ~ Thomas Friedman, author “Hot, Flat, and Crowded”
I enjoyed reading the book excerpt by Tom Doepker, a Web Developer and Social Media Consultant, where he points out three main lessons from the book:
Here are three things I’d like to share from the book:
Leadership should point the way and make the job easy, but it cannot do the job itself. Nor should it.
Friedman takes this viewpoint when addressing the government’s role in what he feels the energy policy of the future should be. What he would like to see are a minimal amount of laws and regulations that encourage development of sustainable products.
The broader implication here is more along the lines of the carrot and stick argument, that the “leaders” in whatever sense ought to use their power and influence where it can be most effective: by cutting away restrictions and allowing creativity and innovation to lead the way.
It’s okay to fail, as long as we keep trying.
Using the technology rise (and resulting bubble) as a precedent, Friedman suggests that the best way to fail is to not try. He encourages “throwing crazy dollars at every idea, in every garage, that we have 100,000 people trying 100,000 things, five of which might work, and two might be the next green Google.”
Yes, there are plenty of great examples of failures from the dot com bubble, but look at how companies like Google and Amazon have changed the world. We know what the right direction is, so why not use the shotgun approach instead of becoming gun shy?
Our enemies can be defeated when we use our positive, creative energies to do the right thing.
Friedman devotes an entire section to “petrodictatorships”, citing the power of countries like Venezuela and Iran. … and discovered that there is a direct relationship between the price of gas and the amount of power wielded by Hugo Chavez and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Higher gas prices mean more power for them.
Photo credit: picture of Thomas Friedman (Jennifer Altman)