I am 100 pages short of finishing Tom Friedman’s and Michael Mandelbaum’s new book That Used To Be Us. How America Fell Behind In The World It Invented and How We Can Come Back. However, after reading Tom’s opinion column in today’s ( October 9, 2011 New York Times) I feel compelled to get the word to you right away. 

 The column title Where Have You Gone Joe DiMaggio? poses the conundrum  that Friedman and Mandelbaum answer in their carefully crafted and researched book.  Anyone who is vested in figuring out what is wrong with America  ( aren’t we all?), and what we need to do to fix it, is encouraged to read this book now.  THAT USED TO BE US  is  about the important national dialogue being played out in print, over the air, in Washington DC  and now in the streets!  It will not go away. The book is not about philosophy but rather solutions! This quote from Friedman’s  New York Times Op-Ed  truly sets the agenda for That Used To Be Us.

“We cannot bail or tax-cut our way to prosperity. We can only, as  ( Steve) Jobs understood, invent our way there. That is why America needs to be for the world in the 21st century what Cape Canaveral was to American the 1960s: the place where everyone everywhere should want to come to start-up and make something — something that makes people’s lives more productive, healthy, comfortable, entertained, educated or secure. To do that, we need to reinvigorate our traditional formula for success — quality education and infrastructure, open immigration, the right rules to incentivize risk-taking and government-financed scientific research.”

That Used  To Be Us is worthy as a stand alone Tom Friedman read but it is even more compelling if you have read his The World is Flat (2005) and Hot Flat and Crowded. (2008)

All of Friedman’s work is a reasoned approach to identifying problems and pointing to proven and in many cases obvious solutions.  Michael Mandelbaum adds to the excellence in this new volume. Both authors  spare no individual, political party or company in bringing issues to the feet of those responsible for our problems and giving due credit  in recognition of wisdom.

When I have finished the last 100-pages I will be even more impressed  but having completed 256 and today reading Tom’s Op Ed  I am compelled to post this blog today!


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