Thank You for Being Late | Thomas L. Friedman

Summary of: Thank You for Being Late: An Optimist’s Guide to Thriving in the Age of Accelerations (Version 2.0, With a New Afterword)
By: Thomas L. Friedman


In the book ‘Thank You for Being Late,’ Thomas L. Friedman explores the age of accelerations marked by three forces – technology, markets, and climate change – that reached a tipping point in 2007. These forces have created a world that requires continuous adaptation, pushing humans to remain agile and adopt a dynamic form of stability. The summary explains how technological advancements have disrupted industries, with Moore’s Law exemplifying the astounding growth of processing power. Simultaneously, the globalized market has made information sharing, financial transactions, and products available at an unprecedented scale. Lastly, the intensification of climate change, caused by human activities, threatens the stability of planetary ecosystems.

Human History’s Turning Point

The year 2007 marked a great disruption in human history due to the simultaneous acceleration of three forces: technology, markets and climate change. The exponential growth described by Moore’s Law contributed to market acceleration and an information tsunami. This acceleration means that humans must consistently adapt to a rapidly changing world characterized by an ecosystem that requires constant reevaluation. However, if one remains agile, they can attain dynamic stability in this constantly destabilizing world.

The Accelerating Evolution of Technology

The rapid advancement of technology is disrupting industries and eliminating jobs, according to the author. He cites examples such as the digitization of dairy farms and the risk of automation to 47% of American jobs. The author notes that technology is evolving so quickly that it becomes obsolete every five to seven years. The changes are not always visible in day-to-day life, but a few years back can illustrate how rapidly technology is developing.

The Power of Global Digital Flows

The world has become highly dependent on global digital flows, from exchanging information to financial transactions. Social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter have made this interconnectivity possible with more than a billion users worldwide. These digital flows have also allowed products to become viral at scales previously unfathomable. The economic implications of this change are massive. Previously, money was earned through valuable skills, but now global flows of information and commerce are of utmost importance. This rapid shift has brought about new ways of thinking, including for long-established companies like General Electric, who now run contests and invite ideas from around the world. The world is rapidly changing, and the power of global digital flows is driving it forward.

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