Thomas Friedman

(Thomas Loren Friedman)

Thomas Friedman
Thomas Friedman
  • Born: July 20, 1953
  • Nationality: American
  • Profession: Author, Columnist









Thomas Loren Friedman is an American activist for globalism and political commentator and author. He is a three-time Pulitzer Prize winner. Friedman currently writes a weekly column for The New York Times. He has written extensively on foreign affairs, global trade, the Middle East, globalization, and environmental issues. He has been criticized for his staunch advocacy of the Iraq War and unregulated trade, his early support of Saudi Royal Prince Mohammed bin Salman, as well as his use of graphs that lack properly defined terms.

Quotes About
Author Quote
Quote Topics Cited
… the existence of bad guys in these countries doesn’t mean that their opponents are all good guys Rebellion, Revolution, Insurgency & Resistance
Change America—Change the World Reform, Change, Transformation & Reformers
Congress has become the center of legalized bribery/ Corruption
Do you want to make a point or do you want to make a difference? Oratory, Discussion & Debate
Elections alone will never be enough to ensure good governance. Voters, Voting & Elections
Every country has a part that is undeveloped. Development & Growth
For traditional societies … the collective, the group, is more important than the individual, and empowering the individual is equated with dividing the society. Development & Growth
Globalization tends to turn all friends and enemies into competitors. Foreign Trade
Hamas feeds off the failures of secular governments. Terrorism
If America wins they win together; if it fails the President fails alone. Presidency, Vice Presidency & Prime Ministership ;Foreign Policy, World & International Affairs
If you are willing to be a lifelong learner, you can be a lifelong employee. Work, Workers & The Labor Force
If you’re a Chinese mayor and have to choose between growing jobs and cutting pollution, you will invariably choose jobs: Coughing workers are much less politically dangerous than unemployed workers. Environment & Environmentalism
In a world where we are all so much more interconnected, the ability to read the connections, and to connect the dots, is the real value added provided by a journalist. Media, Journalism & The Press
In Washington the politicians lie on the record and tell the truth off the record. In the Middle East, it’s the opposite. They lie off the record, and tell the truth on the record. Oratory, Discussion & Debate
It is never easy to play "chicken" when you face a driver alone in his car while you have passengers in the front and back seats who tend to grab for the steering wheel whenever a collision appears imminent. Foreign Policy, World & International Affairs
It’s much easier to have an attitude … than a policy. Policy & Policy Making ;Foreign Policy, World & International Affairs
Listening is a sign of respect. Diplomacy & Diplomats ;Miscellaneous
Maniacal self-promoter …. Makes Machiavelli look like a simple, straightforward kinda guy. Compliments, Insults & Rebukes
Nation’s that don’t invest in the future tend not to do well there. Science, Mathematics, Engineering & Technology
Nine times out of ten your two smartest policy advisors disagree. Policy & Policy Making ;Foreign Policy, World & International Affairs
Ninety percent of foreign policy is reacting to whatever's happening out there. Policy & Policy Making ;Foreign Policy, World & International Affairs
One thing you can say in favor of the globalization system is that it doesn’t discriminate—it leaves both the weak and the powerful feeling a loss of control and under the thumb of elected and at times uncontrollable forces. Discrimination & Prejudice
Our president and secretary of state speak with great moral clarity but have no moral authority. Compliments, Insults & Rebukes ;Foreign Policy, World & International Affairs
People change when they have to – not when we tell them to. Human Nature
People change when they tell themselves they have to change. People do not change when you tell them they have to change. Human Nature
People don't seem to want vision anymore, in large part because they sense that no one has a vision that can encompass a contradictory world. Miscellaneous
Presidents, under the pressure of events, especially war, find themselves needing to articulate new and persuasive rationales for their policies—especially when great sacrifices are involved. Presidency, Vice Presidency & Prime Ministership
Romney is pretending to be something he is not. He is renting the Republican party in order to fulfill his ambition of being President. The Republican party is renting Romney in order to fulfill its ambition of beating Barack Obama. Compliments, Insults & Rebukes
So moderates of the world unite! We have nothing to lose but our pessimism. Either we make the future bury the past, or the bad guys will ensure that the past buries the future. History
So much of our foreign policy is based on other people’s weakness. Foreign Policy, World & International Affairs
Sociology almost always dominates technology. Ideas often lie unused because people do not want to use them. Science, Mathematics, Engineering & Technology ;Social Sciences
Steve Jobs and Bill Gates did as much to win the Cold War as anyone…. The idea that Ronald Reagan won the Cold War is ludicrous. War & Peace
The [Republican] party has no future. It can’t win with a base that is at war with math, physics, human biology, economics, and common-sense gun laws all at the same time. Political Parties & Machines
The Arab Press is a deeply distorted lens. Media, Journalism & The Press
The cheapest, cleanest, nonemitting power plant in the world is the one you don’t build. Environment & Environmentalism
The First Law of Petropolitics: The price of oil and the pace of freedom always move in opposite directions in states that are highly dependent on oil exports for their income and have weak institutions or outright authoritarian governments. Energy ;Politics, Politicians & Political Campaigning & Fund Raising
The first line of the U. S. Constitution is “We the people” … in thriving democracies any time that any player takes a key decision that ignores or evades “We the people” he violates the spirit of democracy and condemns himself to illegitimacy. Corruption
The Internet is an open sewer of unfiltered, untreated information. The Internet can make you smarter, faster than anything else in the world. It can also make you dumber faster. Science, Mathematics, Engineering & Technology
The main challenge for American foreign policy in many places is not to influence relations between states but rather to influence events within states. Foreign Policy, World & International Affairs
The Middle East is a region where extremists go all the way and moderates just go away. Miscellaneous
The need to incorporate longer term time scales into our societal choices is very real—and right in the lap of our generation. Policy & Policy Making
The next President's National Security Advisor ought to be an economist, instead of the usual military officer or arms control expert. Defense & National Security
The oldest civil war on the planet is that between Sunni and Shiite Moslems. Religion & God
The oldest civil war on the planet is the one between the Sunni and Shiites over who is the proper successor to the Prophet Muhammad. War & Peace
The price of oil and the pace of freedom always move in opposite directions. It’s the First Law of Petropolitics. Business, Commerce & Finance
The price of oil and the price of freedom always move in opposite directions in oil rich ‘petrolist’ states. The higher the average global crude oil prices rises, the more free speech, free press, free and fair elections, an independent judiciary, the rule of law, and independent political parties are eroded. Business, Commerce & Finance
The thing about climate change is that you’ll never know for sure until it’s way too late. Environment & Environmentalism
The traditional boundaries between politics, culture, technology, finance, national security, and ecology are disappearing. You cannot explain one without referring to them all. Politics, Politicians & Political Campaigning & Fund Raising
The war on terrorism is a war of ideas. Terrorism
The worst kind of decline is a slow decline—slow enough not to notice that you are in decline. Development & Growth
There are no employees without employers. Work, Workers & The Labor Force ;Capitalism
There are two superpowers in the world today in my opinion. There’s the United States and there’s Moody’s Bond Rating Service. The United States can destroy you by dropping bombs and Moody’s can destroy you by downgrading your bonds. And believe me, it’s not clear sometimes who’s the more powerful. Power
There is no better constraint on the leader of a developing country than telling him that he has to pay cash for his weapons. Development & Growth
This is … a time when there is increasingly no such thing as a high-wage, middle-skilled job — the thing that sustained the middle class in the last generation. Now there is only a high-wage, high-skilled job. Every middle-class job today is being pulled up, out or down faster than ever. That is, it either requires more skill or can be done by more people around the world or is being buried — made obsolete — faster than ever Welfare
Too many leaders in … countries turned out to be more interested in using their freedom to loot rather than liberate. Corruption
Turkey is either going to be a bridge between Europe and the Middle East or it is going to be a ditch. Foreign Policy, World & International Affairs
Turning politics into a spectator sport is one of the subtle processes which supports globalization. It converts or transforms the citizen from an actor to a spectator, with illusions of participation. Politics, Politicians & Political Campaigning & Fund Raising
Unlike more traditional conquerors, we are not content merely to subdue others: We insist that they be like us. Expansionism, Colonialism & Imperialism
Walking into a Kentucky Fried Chicken in the rural area of Malaysia is the cheapest trip to America many Malaysians will ever be able to take. Expansionism, Colonialism & Imperialism
We are funding both sides in the War on Terrorism. That’s what happens when you leave it to the market. Terrorism
We can either have a hard decade or a bad century. Economics, The Economy & Fiscal Affairs
We have an industrial-age presidency, catering to a pre-industrial ideological base, in a post-industrial era. Compliments, Insults & Rebukes
We have this civil war at home between our own version of Shiites and Sunnis called Republicans and Democrats… Political Parties & Machines
We keep looking at democratization as an event—like the fall of the Berlin Wall—but it’s actually a process. Democracies & Republics
What is most unsettling to Americans about China is not their Communism but their Capitalism. Foreign Policy, World & International Affairs ;Capitalism
Whatever can be done in this world will be done. The only question is whether it will be done by you or to you. Science, Mathematics, Engineering & Technology
Whenever they tell you there's no change in policy, that's the surest sign that something's up. Public Relations & Image
You need more education to get any job. Education, Learning, Knowledge & Training
Your friends, through economic mismanagement (see Greece), can harm you faster than your enemies. And your rivals falling (see Russia and China) can be more dangerous than your rivals rising. If Russia, an economy spanning nine time zones, goes into recession and cannot pay foreign lenders with its lower oil revenues — and all this leads to political turmoil and defaults to Western banks — that crash will be felt globally Foreign Policy, World & International Affairs
A golf course should aspire to generate as much energy as it consumes - golf should be leading the way toward energy net zero.
Al Qaeda is nothing more than a mutant supply chain. They're playing off the same platform as Wal-Mart and Dell. They're just not restrained by it. What is al Qaeda? It's an open source religious political movement that works off the global supply chain.
Al Qaeda is nothing more than a mutant supply chain. They're playing off the same platform as Wal-Mart and Dell. They're just not restrained by it. What is al Qaeda? It's an open source religious political movement that works off the global supply chain. That's what we're up against in Iraq. We're up against a suicide supply chain.
America needs rebooting.
America still has the right stuff to thrive. We still have the most creative, diverse, innovative culture and open society - in a world where the ability to imagine and generate new ideas with speed and to implement them through global collaboration is the most important competitive advantage. Society
Basically all the world's computer parts come from the same supply chain that runs from Korea, down through coastal China, over to Taiwan, and down to Malaysia.
Being one of my sources is exhausting. It's not one interview and you're done. I keep going back until I feel like I understand everything.
Being really good at 'learning how to learn,' as President Bill Brody of Johns Hopkins put it, will be an enormous asset in an era of rapid change and innovation, when new jobs will be phased in and old ones phased out faster than ever. Education, Learning, Knowledge & Training
By 'flat' I did not mean that the world is getting equal. I said that more people in more places can now compete, connect and collaborate with equal power and equal tools than ever before. That's why an Indian in Bangalore can take care of the office work of American doctors or read the X-rays of German hospitals. Power ;Work, Workers & The Labor Force
Capitalism and political systems - like companies - must constantly evolve to stay vital.
Do you know what my favorite renewable fuel is? An ecosystem for innovation.
Entrepreneurs don't write a 100-page business plan and execute it one time; they're always experimenting and adapting based on what they learn. Time ;Business, Commerce & Finance
Every golf course should have its carbon rating on the scorecard, alongside its Course Rating, Slope, par and yardage.
Every sport needs its temple, its cathedral. Sports & Athletics
Golf has an ambivalent relationship with the environment. On one hand, it's a great preserver of open spaces. Golf doesn't pave the world - it helps to green the world. But the downside is, it uses a lot of fertilizer, pesticides and water.
Google attracts so much talent, it can afford to look beyond traditional metrics, like G.P.A. For most young people, though, going to college and doing well is still the best way to master the tools needed for many careers.
I am hoping, though, that many of them have kids, who, when they have a moment to take a break from their iPods, Internet, or Google, will explain to their parents running the country just how the world is being flattened.
I attended public school with the same group of kids from K through 12.
I basically did all the library research for this book on Google, and it not only saved me enormous amounts of time but actually gave me a much richer offering of research in a shorter time. Time
I can see a day soon where you'll create your own college degree by taking the best online courses from the best professors from around the world - some computing from Stanford, some entrepreneurship from Wharton, some ethics from Brandeis, some literature from Edinburgh - paying only the nominal fee for the certificates of completion.
I firmly believe that the next great breakthrough in bioscience could come from a 15-year-old who downloads the human genome in Egypt.
I have a daughter who is a sophomore in college and another who is in the 11th grade of high school.
I love America. I think it's the best country in the world. But I also think we're not tending to our sauce. Love, Romance, Marriage & Sex
I said that more people in more places can now compete, connect and collaborate with equal power and equal tools than ever before. Power
I think we have lost our groove as a country. One of the reasons was the attack on 9/11. We got knocked off our game. From a country that always exported hope we went into the business of exporting fear. Hope ;Business, Commerce & Finance
I was in Bangalore, India, the Silicon Valley of India, when I realized that the world was flat.
If the Republican Party continues to take the view that there must be no tax increases, we're stuck. Capitalism can't work without safety nets or fiscal prudence, and we need both in a sustainable balance. Work, Workers & The Labor Force
If you don't have an ethic of conservation, you basically have a license to drive a Hummer through the Amazon.
If you don't visit the bad neighborhoods, the bad neighborhoods are going to visit you.
If you followed this economic crisis and you do not think that the world is getting flatter, you are not paying attention. We saw the entire global economy at one time acting totally in sync. The real truth is the world is even flatter than I thought. Our mortgage crisis is killing Deutsche Bank. You still don't think the world is flat? Truth ;Time
I'm a capitalist. I believe in capitalism. But capitalism only works if you have safety nets to deal with people who are naturally left behind and brutalized by it.
I'm from Minnesota. I'm optimistic. I mean, that's just who I am.
In Globalization 1.0, which began around 1492, the world went from size large to size medium. In Globalization 2.0, the era that introduced us to multinational companies, it went from size medium to size small. And then around 2000 came Globalization 3.0, in which the world went from being small to tiny.
Inspiring conduct has so much more of an impact than coercing it.
It created a global platform that allowed more people to plug and play, collaborate and compete, share knowledge and share work, than anything we have ever seen in the history of the world. Education, Learning, Knowledge & Training ;History ;Work, Workers & The Labor Force
I've always enjoyed the communal side of Jewish life. Life
I've been a critic of the antiglobalization movement, and they've been a critic of me, but the one thing I respect about the movement is their authentic energy. These are not people who don't care about the world. Respect
John Kennedy led us on a journey to discover the moon. Obama needs to lead us on a journey to rediscover, rebuild and reinvent our own backyard.
Lord knows there's a lot of bad news in the world today to get you down, but there is one big thing happening that leaves me incredibly hopeful about the future, and that is the budding revolution in global online higher education. Education, Learning, Knowledge & Training ;Future
Many authors hate to go on grinding book tours. But I've always found it a useful way to be a foreign correspondent in America and take the pulse of the country.
Many jobs at Google require math, computing, and coding skills, so if your good grades truly reflect skills in those areas that you can apply, it would be an advantage. But Google has its eyes on much more.
McDonald's cannot flourish without McDonnell Douglas, the designer of the F-15.
My mom enlisted in the U.S. Navy in World War II, and my parents actually bought our home thanks to the loan she got through the GI Bill. War & Peace
Natural gas emits only half the carbon dioxide of coal when burned, but if methane leaks when oil companies extract it from the ground in a sloppy manner - methane is far more potent a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide - it can wipe out all the advantages of natural gas over coal.
Nature is regulating our climate for free. Mother Nature, she's been doing that for free, for a long, long time. Now do you really want to get in there and do geo-engineering and all this kind of stuff? Time ;Nature ;Environment & Environmentalism
Netscape brought the Internet alive with the browser. They made the Internet so that Grandma could use it, and her grandchildren could use it. The second thing that Netscape did was commercialize a set of open transmission protocols so that no company could own the Net.
No matter where I go - London, Beirut, Jerusalem, Washington, Beijing, or Bangalore - I'm always looking to rediscover that land of ten thousand lakes where politics actually worked to make people's lives better, not pull them apart. Politics, Politicians & Political Campaigning & Fund Raising
No, most of our political elite has not realized that the world is flat.
Optimists are usually wrong. But all the great change in history, positive change, was done by optimists. History
Presidents grow up in the White House. The times shape the man.
Rock stars get room keys, I get business cards. Business, Commerce & Finance
Rock stars get room keys, I get business cards. Wherever I go I meet innovators of wind power equipment, solar energy operators. Power ;Business, Commerce & Finance
Several technological and political forces have converged, and that has produced a global, Web-enabled playing field that allows for multiple forms of collaboration without regard to geography or distance - or soon, even language.
Sometimes, when my wife and I were going out to dinner, I would take my laptop with me and work in the car, so as to take advantage of the half hour going and coming. Work, Workers & The Labor Force
Supply chains cannot tolerate even 24 hours of disruption. So if you lose your place in the supply chain because of wild behavior you could lose a lot. It would be like pouring cement down one of your oil wells.
The country that owns green, that dominates that industry, is going to have the most energy security, national security, economic security, competitive companies, healthy population and, most of all, global respect. Respect
The Dell Theory of Conflict Prevention argues that no two countries that are both part of the same global supply chain will ever fight a war as long as they are each part of that supply chain. War & Peace
The hidden hand of the market will never work without a hidden fist. Work, Workers & The Labor Force
The historical debate is over. The answer is free-market capitalism.
The merger of globalization and the I.T. revolution means new products are being phased in and out so fast that companies cannot afford to wait until the end of the year to figure out whether a team leader is doing a good job.
The more Israel sinks into the West Bank, the more it is delegitimized and isolated, the more the world focuses on Israel's colonialism rather than Iran's nuclear enrichment, the more people call for a single democratic state in all of historic Palestine.
There is no substitute for face-to-face reporting and research.
There is nothing more valuable than great classroom instruction. But let's stop putting the whole burden on teachers. We also need better parents. Better parents can make every teacher more effective. Education, Learning, Knowledge & Training
There's a difference between being able to make long distance phone calls cheaper on the Internet and walking around Riyadh with a PDA where you can have all of Google in your pocket. It's a difference in degree that's so enormous it becomes a difference in kind.
There's no question that a great teacher can make a huge difference in a student's achievement, and we need to recruit, train and reward more such teachers. But here's what some new studies are also showing: We need better parents. Parents more focused on their children's education can also make a huge difference in a student's achievement. Education, Learning, Knowledge & Training
There's nothing like living a little close to the edge that gets you motivated to ensure that you get the credentials you need to succeed.
Two things are going on at the same time with the flattening of the world: The relentless quest for efficiency is squeezing some of the fat out of life. Life ;Time
We are led by lawyers who do not understand either technology or balance sheets. Science, Mathematics, Engineering & Technology ;Law, Courts, Jails, Crime & Law Enforcement
We need a proper balance between government spending on nursing homes and nursery schools - on the last six months of life and the first six months of life. Life ;Government
We need better neighbors, neighbors that care about the schools in their neighborhood whether they have kids in them or not, because they know that the health and vitality of that neighborhood depends on it. Health, Healthcare & Medicine
We need to become energy independent or at least aspire to that.
We say that necessity is the mother of invention, and no country has more of a necessity to develop clean power than China. Power
We've gone from thinking the fuels that powered our growth were inexpensive, inexhaustible and benign to understanding they are exhaustible, expensive and toxic. Once you frame the problem that way, people will look at solutions differently.
What is al Qaeda? It's an open source religious political movement that works off the global supply chain.
Whatever you may be thinking when you apply for a job today, you can be sure the employer is asking this: Can this person add value every hour, every day - more than a worker in India, a robot or a computer? Can he or she help my company adapt by not only doing the job today but also reinventing the job for tomorrow?
When I think back on my favorite teachers, I don't remember anymore much of what they taught me, but I sure remember being excited about learning it. What has stayed with me are not the facts they imparted, but the excitement about learning they inspired. Education, Learning, Knowledge & Training
When I was growing up, my parents told me, 'Finish your dinner. People in China and India are starving.' I tell my daughters, 'Finish your homework. People in India and China are starving for your job.'
When I wrote 'The World Is Flat,' I said the world is flat. Yeah, we're all connected. Facebook didn't exist; Twitter was a sound; the cloud was in the sky; 4G was a parking place; LinkedIn was a prison; applications were what you sent to college; and Skype, for most people, was a typo.
When it comes to dealing with the world's climate and energy challenges, I have a simple rule: change America, change the world.
When you go along in life and develop whatever notoriety you do, people begin to relate to you differently, and I'm just always most comfortable with the people I grew up with. Life
Yes, the world is now flat for publishing as well.
You take one bomber and deploy him in Baghdad, and another is manufactured in Riyadh the next day. It's exactly like when you take the toy off the shelf at Wal-Mart and another is made in Shen Zhen the next day.
You win the presidency by connecting with the American people's gut insecurities and aspirations. You win with a concept.
You'll know the green revolution has been won when the word 'green' disappears.