Thank You for Being Late:

An Optimist's Guide to Thriving in the Age of Accelerations

  • Read by: Oliver Wyman
  • Runtime: 19.8 Hours
  • Recording: Unabridged
  • Release date: 11.22.2016
  • Publisher: Macmillan Audio
  • Genre: Nonfiction/Political Science
  • 19.79 hrs11/22/2016Unabridged
  • ISBN-13: 9781427274663

A New York Times Bestseller

A Wall Street Journal Great Reads Pick

One of Kirkus Reviews’ Best Books of 2016

A Publishers Weekly Pick for Most Anticipated Books of Fall 2016

Among longlisted titles for Amazon.com Best Books of the Year, 2016

Among longlisted titles for Kirkus Reviews Best Books of the Year, 2016

A field guide to the twenty-first century, written by one of its most celebrated observers

We all sense it—something big is going on. You feel it in your workplace. You feel it when you talk to your kids. You can’t miss it when you read the newspapers or watch the news. Our lives are being transformed in so many realms all at once—and it is dizzying.

In Thank You for Being Late, a work unlike anything he has attempted before, Thomas L. Friedman exposes the tectonic movements that are reshaping the world today and explains how to get the most out of them and cushion their worst impacts. You will never look at the world the same way again after you read this book: how you understand the news, the work you do, the education your kids need, the investments your employer has to make, and the moral and geopolitical choices our country has to navigate will all be refashioned by Friedman’s original analysis.

Friedman begins by taking us into his own way of looking at the world—how he writes a column. After a quick tutorial on that subject, he proceeds to write what could only be called a giant column about the twenty-first century. His thesis: to understand the twenty-first century, you need to understand that the planet’s three largest forces—Moore’s law (technology); the Market (globalization); and Mother Nature (climate change and biodiversity loss)—are accelerating all at once. These accelerations are transforming five key realms: the workplace, politics, geopolitics, ethics, and community.

Why is this happening? As Friedman shows, the exponential increase in computing power defined by Moore’s law has a lot to do with it. The year 2007 was a major inflection point: the release of the iPhone, together with advances in silicon chips, software, storage, sensors, and networking, created a new technology platform. Friedman calls this platform “the supernova”—for it is an extraordinary release of energy that is reshaping everything from how we hail a taxi to the fate of nations to our most intimate relationships. It is creating vast new opportunities for individuals and small groups to save the world—or to destroy it.

Thank You for Being Late is a work of contemporary history that serves as a field manual for how to write and think about this era of accelerations. It’s also an argument for “being late”—for pausing to appreciate this amazing historical epoch we’re passing through and reflecting on its possibilities and dangers. To amplify this point, Friedman revisits his Minnesota hometown in his moving concluding chapters; there, he explores how communities can create a “topsoil of trust” to anchor their increasingly diverse and digital populations.

With his trademark vitality, wit, and optimism, Friedman shows that we can overcome the multiple stresses of an age of accelerations—if we slow down, if we dare to be late and use the time to reimagine work, politics, and community. Thank You for Being Late is Friedman’s most ambitious book—and an essential guide to the present and the future.

Editorial Reviews

Engaging . . . in some senses Thank You For Being Late is an extension of [Friedman's] previous works, woven in with wonderful personal stories (including admirably honest discussions about the nature of being a columnist). What gives Friedman’s book a new twist is his belief that upheaval in 2016 is actually far more dramatic than earlier phases . . . Friedman also argues that Americans need to discover their sense of 'community,' and uses his home town of Minneapolis to demonstrate this. In two of the most engaging chapters, the author returns to the town and explains how it has created a relatively inclusive, harmonious and pragmatic style of government . . . It is a wonderful sentiment. And it injects a badly needed dose of optimism into the modern debate.Gillian Tett, Financial Times
The globe-trotting New York Times columnist’s most famous book was about the world being flat. This one is all about the world being fast . . . His main piece of advice for individuals, corporations, and countries is clear: Take a deep breath and adapt. This world isn’t going to wait for you.Fortune[A] humane and empathetic book.David Henkin, The Washington Post

"[Friedman's] latest engrossingly descriptive analysis of epic trends and their consequences . . . Friedman offers tonic suggestions for fostering 'moral innovation' and a commitment to the common good in this detailed and clarion inquiry, which, like washing dirty windows, allows us to see far more clearly what we’ve been looking at all along . . . his latest must-read.
The three-time Pulitzer winner puts his familiar methodology—extensive travel, thorough reporting, interviews with the high-placed movers and shakers, conversations with the lowly moved and shaken—to especially good use here . . . He prescribes nothing less than a redesign of our workplaces, politics, geopolitics, ethics, and communities . . . Required reading for a generation that's 'going to be asked to dance in a hurricane.'Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

[An] ambitious book . . . In a country torn by a divisive election, technological change and globalization, reconstructing social ties so that people feel respected and welcomed is more important than ever . . . Rather than build walls, [healthy communities] face their problems and solve them. In [Friedman's] telling, this is the way to make America great.Laura Vanderkam, The Wall Street JournalThomas L. Friedman is a self-­confessed 'explanatory journalist'—whose goal is to be a 'translator from English to English.' And he is extremely good at it . . . it is hard to think of any other journalist who has explained as many complicated subjects to so many people . . . Now he has written his most ambitious book—part personal odyssey, part commonsense manifesto . . . As a guide for perplexed Westerners, this book is very hard to beat . . . Thank You for Being Late is a master class in explaining . . . As usual with Friedman, it is all backed up by pages of serious reporting from around the world . . . After your session with Dr. Friedman, you have a much better idea of the forces that are upending your world, how they work together—and what people, companies and governments can do to prosper. You do have a coherent narrative—an honest, cohesive explanation for why the world is the way it is, without miracle cures or scapegoats. And that is why everybody should hope this book does very well indeed.John Micklethwait, The New York Times Book Review

"[A] humane and empathetic book.”

Washington Post

"Wyman keeps to a steady drive and an energetic projection that hold listeners' attentions.AudioFile Magazine

One of The Wall Street Journal's "10 Books to Read Now

“As a guide for perplexed Westerners, this book is very hard to beat…all backed up by pages of serious reporting from around the world…A coherent narrative―an honest, cohesive explanation for why the world is the way it is, without miracle cures or scapegoats.”

New York Times Book Review

“All about the world being fast…His main piece of advice…is clear: Take a deep breath and adapt. This world isn’t going to wait for you.”

Fortune

“Wyman does well with both the stories and the statistics. Friedman’s ideas are fascinating, but without Wyman’s ability to emphasize and to change delivery speed, listeners could easily get tired of the many details. Instead, Wyman keeps to a steady drive and an energetic projection that hold listeners’ attentions.”

AudioFile

Author Biography

Thomas L. Friedman has been awarded the Pulitzer Prize three times for his work with the New York Times as a foreign affairs columnist. Popular with a large range of readers, his book Hot, Flat, and Crowded was an international bestseller. He is also the author of From Beirut to Jerusalem, The Lexus and the Olive Tree, Longitudes and Attitudes, and The World Is Flat. He currently lives in Bethesda, Maryland.

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