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Southwest Book Club Online Discussion - The World is Flat by Thomas Friedman

the world is flat.jpgThe Southwest Book Club will be meeting on Tuesday, May 20, 2008 at 7:00 P.M. to discuss the book, The World is Flat by Pulitizer Prize winner and journalist, Thomas Friedman. This is Friedman's account of the great changes taking place in the world as continuous advances in technology and communications put people all over the globe in touch as ever before. It is an essential update on globalization, its successes and discontents; and what it means to countries, companies, communities, and individuals.

If you are unable to attend the meeting or you would like to join our discussion, questions related to the book will be posted to our blog prior to the meeting date each month. Simply click "Comments" located at the bottom of this post. Share your thoughts and comments, then click "post". Comment on one question or all of them. Join the discussion!

Discussion Questions: The World is Flat
1. What does Friedman mean by the book's title?

2. Friedman discusses the many occupations that can now be outsourced or offshored, including his own job as a journalist. Could your job be done by someone in another country? Could you do your job better from home, as the JetBlue telephone agents do? Would you feel comfortable knowing your taxes had been prepared by an overseas accountant, or your CAT scan read by an overseas radiologist? (Chapter One)

3. Discuss the "Indiana versus India" anecdote, recounted in the second section of Chapter Four. Which approach benefits Americans more: offshoring state projects and cutting taxpaper expenditures, or paying higher wages to maintain job security at home?

4. Chapter Seven, "The Quiet Crisis," outlines dirty secrets regarding American dominance: fewer young Americans pursuing careers in math, science, and engineering, and the demise of both ambition and brainpower among American youth. What accounts for this? What would it take to restore academic rigor and the enthusiasm enjoyed during the "man on the moon" days?

5. Friedman contemplates the cultural traits that drive a nation's success. He uses this to illustrate why Mexico, despite NAFTA, has become the tortoise while China has become the hare. Does America fit Friedman's cultural profile as a nation poised for prosperity? (Chapter Nine)

6. What would it take for you to become an "untouchable"? (Chapter Six)

Questions obtained or adapted from http://readinggroupguides.com

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