Jan 2009: The World is Flat

The World is Flat: A Brief History of the 21st Century, by Thomas Friedman, Farrar, Strous & Giroux, 2005.

This book, written by an award-winning New York Times columnist, is one of my all-time favorites. It’s filled with great stories and examples of what’s going on in our world. It’s also an enjoyable read, with a captivating, story-telling style.

He explains the complex economic, political and foreign policy issues that have worked since about the year 2000 to “flatten” our world. He tells us what he means by this and then helps us tackle the questions that affect us as business owners and managers: how do we adapt to this new, flatter world?

Chapter 10 delves into how companies cope in the new world. Friedman gives us seven rules for changing and adapting, so we can flourish. Although all seven rules are intriguing, I picked out these two to incorporate into my business strategy and growth for 2009. I like them!

  • Following the Starbucks model, allow your customers to customize the services they purchase from you.
  • Collaboration is essential. You can’t be an expert in everything; partner with other professionals to offer maximum value to your customers.

And finally, Friedman talks about the emerging “social entrepreneur”. These people burn with a desire to make a positive social impact on the world. The flattening of our world has been their perfect platform to launch very innovative projects. Could you be one of them?

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