Non-fiction

by Thomas L. Friedman
Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2008

I’m going to practice what I’m about to preach.  I’m going to keep this review short.  Because the only real problem with Hot, Flat and Crowded is that it is too long.

Thomas Friedman is good.  We know it.  He knows it.  Whatever he writes is a must read.  And Hot Flat and Crowded is.  Friedman has lots of facts, anecdotes and information we need to know if we aren’t going to overheat,  do in our planet, end life as we know it.  But – I wish someone had cut this book in half.  We DO need the information he provides, but I don’t know how many people will wade all the way through this book.

Think George Lakoff.  He wrote a book entitled Moral Politics.  Massive book.  Excellent book.  But 471 pages.  Moveon.org got hold of him and said, “The public needs to hear what you are saying.  Can you cut this book down to a hundred pages? ” He got it down to 124 pages – gave it an accessible catchy title:  Don’t Think of an Elephant.  Lots more people read it than read Moral Politics.

It’s time for Friedman or his editors to remind him that more people read his short op/ed’s in the New York Times (many of which were collected to form this book) than will read this book in its entirety.  So, thank heavens he’s out there keeping it short in some places.  But do wish he’d offer a second edition of Hot Flat and Crowded, less than this 412 page volume.  Because we need to hear what he has to say.

So buy the book (or get it from the library) and skim.  But do read.  He’s got it right.  And we need to get the word out.  Now.