Tom Friedman Checks into Five Star Hotel, Gets Idea for New Book

Posted on December 16, 2009


Friedman contemplates the Beijing skyline from his Hilton hotel room and conjures up his next book.

EP: Beijing – Staring out the window of his deluxe presidential suite on the 25th floor of the Hilton in downtown Beijing, Thomas Friedman, the Pulitzer Prize winning author and New York Times columnist, found the inspiration for his next book. ” ‘ The World is Getting Smoky,’ ” he remarked to himself as he quickly scribbled the idea for a title on a hotel napkin. “When I look out this window I see a lot of smog. You know what that means? It means the world is getting smoky and if we don’t get our collective acts together, its going to get a heck of a lot smokier.” Friedman is widely regarded as one of the most influential public thinkers in the world today, his thoughts and insights regularly shape the public debate on some of the most pressing issues of our time. “What we really need to understand is what we are doing right now is like stepping off an airplane while it is going full speed under water” explained Friedman, “once our lungs fill with water we wont have a chance to talk about these issues and it will be too late, the world will be too smoky. ” Friedman’s ability to explain complex problems in simple terms so that his readers feel they are smart for buying his books has been critical in shaping how many view our rapidly changing globalized world. “If these people in these smoky countries don’t do anything about it I think we will have no choice buy to invade and kill a few of them until they get it right” he added demonstrating how he can not only explain things, but also come up with practical solutions.

“Imagine a world where everyone is a sea lion, and then imagine that world if the only way  sea lions can get around is on a bicycle. You see where we are headed? Sea lions don’t have feet, so we cant peddle the bicycles. If we don’t solve this smokiness problem, we are all in for a tough bike ride.” Friedman confirmed his observations of the world during a late dinner on the 2nd floor of the Hilton: “Why does everyone here look Chinese?” he asked himself. “I thought I was in Dubai.”