Book Review: Hot, Flat, and Crowded

Thomas L. Friedman

Review by: Stan Skalka, President, Victor Stanley, Inc.

hot flat and crowdedThomas L. Friedman is an acknowledged expert on the Middle East, energy, and the environment. He lectures and writes prolifically and pens a frequent column on the op-ed page of the New York Times. This carefully researched book guides the reader through the pressing threats to the world environment. Friedman carefully explores the effect on the environment by the rapidly growing middle class in China and India to the point where even rising clean energy production cannot keep pace with the growing worldwide demand for energy. After all, a rapidly expanding middle class needs dramatically increased supplies of energy to heat and/or cool their homes, power their automobiles, etc. Friedman catalogs the negative effects of a polluted environment, from contaminated air all the way to the massive numbers of animal species that are being lost forever at an astonishing rate. Even with well-publicized advances in the production of "clean energy" (i.e. wind, solar, etc.), the demands of the rapidly expanding middle class mean that the need for coal and oil is not going away. How to handle the expanding worldwide need for energy and simultaneously halt the harm to the environment is one of the pressing problems that Friedman addresses. This book will leave you pensive, determined, and asking "where are all of the politicians? Don't they see what is happening?"