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The Speech of Thomas Friedman


The video that we have been required to watch is the speech of Thomas Friedman, the journalist, and writer, who works as a columnist at The New York Times. The speech is well presented and delivered. At first, Friedman seems a bit nervous and constrained; he says “erm” a lot and does not speak very distinctly (MIT OpenCourseWare). It is even hard to listen to him from the very beginning. However, all of that passes when he starts to talk about the content of his book.

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Then, his speech becomes much more eloquent and nice, he emphasizes important points using repetitions, pauses, and slowing down his voice, and he maintains eye contact with the audience. The speech itself is logically organized and well prepared, even though Thomas Friedman does not use any notes. I also like that Friedman uses a lot of humor to keep the audience involved and interested in what he says.

Main body

In his speech, Thom talks about globalization and says that the world is flat since there is a stable connection between people of different countries and nationalities that have never existed before. All of that started with the creation of a PC and continued when the small start-up company, called Netscape, went public. Due to Netscape and its browser, people got an opportunity to send bits and bytes of their own content anywhere in the world, quickly and for almost no money.

We transmit our news and read the news of others. We can be aware of what is going on in China, or Australia, or Brazil by reading someone’s blog, for example. We can learn and teach through the Internet. We can promote ideas. Let us take the Ice Bucket Challenge: people from all over the world contributed to the common cause, collecting money for the research. Now, it is people who make the world flat and enhance globalization.

With all that globalization and flatness of the world, people have to horizontalize and adapt to the flat platform they live in. Otherwise, they will miss opportunities. As an example, Thom talks about Southwest Airlines, which provides their customers with the possibility to download their boarding passes, get better seats, and do not come too early for the check-in. Thom did not know about it and missed the opportunity. Suchlike examples can be seen everywhere: discount coupons for clothing stores that can be found and downloaded from the stores’ accounts in social networks, bonuses for using mobile apps to order the delivery, and so on and so forth. You do not know about those – and you miss the opportunity.

Additionally, we should also be able to mash things together and use everything we have dealt with in our lives. When Steve Jobs dropped out of Reed College, he started attending calligraphy classes, and years later, he managed to use the knowledge he got during that course to make the Mac keyboard more convenient for its users. And that is the right approach. I always try to use literature I read in my education process or during conversations. If I have a chance to learn something new, I do it since I know that I will need that one day.


Thomas Friedman finishes his speech talking about the Green Revolution. He states that no revolution is happening right now, even though people claim otherwise. What is happening now is just a party – the Green Party, which does not change anything. While everyone is green, nothing actually changes. We have to stop deceiving ourselves: there are no revolutions where no one gets hurt. And the Green Revolution should be the real one: change or die. Otherwise, all those possibilities that the flatness of the world brings will not have any value. With this in mind, Thomas Friedman finishes his speech and introduces his new book, which will be devoted to this topic.

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Works Cited

MIT OpenCourseWare. “MIT Milestone Celebration | Keynote Address.” Online video clip. YouTube. 2008. Web.

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