Highly recommended: The World is Flat

Highly recommended: The World is Flat

: I’m only a third of the way through Tom Friedman‘s new book, The World is Flat, but I have no hesitation in recommending it highly, even urgently. In fact, I bought it twice: on old, dead paper and on my iPod so I could use my commute to gobble it up faster.

What’s surprising about the book is how tech-savvy it is. Friedman shows the respect and curiosity of a true journalist in understanding the world-flattening significance of open-source software, of technology that enables outsourcing, of citizens’ media. And on that topic, yes, he reads and quotes blogs and bloggers. He says he has not read the paper version of The Times, his paper, in two years. He says news should be free and so he won’t pay for The Wall Street Journal Online. But he’s also honest enough to admit that he’s not crazy about Amazon selling used copies of his books.

Well, Tom, here’s a suggestion: Take giant swaths of your book and put them up online — using Dan Gillmor and Cory Doctorow as your models — and I guarantee that you will find your theses and writing and name spread farther faster than the best damned publishing PR campaign in the world. And you’ll sell more books (and audio downloads).

That is especially true of this book, for it speaks to the very online audience that is finding new ways to flatten this world of ours.

But don’t wait for Friedman and his publisher to wake up and put the book online. Don’t wait to buy a used copy off of Amazon. Go buy the book now. You’ll thank me for the advice. (And I’ll tell you if I change my mind after the next two-thirds.)