Monday, January 02, 2006

"The world is flat" by Thomas Friedman

I started this book tentativley, after the critical comments of Siddharth Varadarajan from The Hindu. But once I started reading, it became absorbing. Of course i do not subscribe to all the theories and conclusions of Friedman.

In 2005 this was the second non-fiction i read with unstoppable enthusiasm after Pawan varma's " Being Indian".

Friedman has given a graphic account of the supply chain which works seamlessly between countries, companies and individuals. He has highlighted the erosion of the vertical command and control system giving way to the horizontal world in which there is need to connect and collaborate.

For an average Indian, who is at the lower end of the globalisation which has opened unlimited opportunities , the book gives an overview and surprisingly balanced one coming from an American.

It celebrates the new spirit of enterpreunership unleashed among Indian geeks and bzmen.It highlights the emergence of a new Indian who has the confidence and courage to transcend frontiers and connect and collaborate,converge and synergise with the innovators and reasearchers besides the customers through call centres. The inexorable march of technology demolishing barriers, frictions and restrictions has become a tool for the Indian brain to explore its full potential and plug and play from anywhere. Anything which is digitisable is game for the new Indian hunters.

It is , of course true that this march is through the urban middle class streets and millions are left behind in the rural india. But the society cannot wait to collect all the passengers and in that waiting, miss the bus. Those who take the first bus are going to inspire and motivate the others to follow. With its massive problems of overpopulation and underdevelopment, India needs to tap into every source and exploit every opportunity.

What India has got so far in the shrinking world is a small fraction at the lower end. Not to worry. That is how the Japanese, Koreans , Taiwanese and now the Chinese moved up the value chain. Today China exports more high tech goods than USA. Lenova has taken over the flesh of IBM, which has turned into a ghost calling itself the "other IBM". Look at Iflex which has one of the best- seller banking solution product which has been exported to over 100 countries.

I was surprised to see so many pages of this 473- page book has India stories and Indian names. This coming from the other side which feels threatened, shows the arrival of Brand Indian..who commands respect because of the knowledge power.

I like Friedman's easy and conversational style of telling stories.

I would strongly recommend this book for all the Indians to reinforce their new found pride and self esteem and to get inspiration to aspire more. I hope an Indian would write the view from our side.

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