That Used to Be Us by Thomas L. Friedman

That Used to Be Us

America is in trouble. We face four major challenges on which our future depends, and we are failing to meet them—and if we delay any longer, soon it will be too late for us to pass along the American dream to future generations. In That Used to Be Us, Thomas L. Friedman, one of our most influential columnists, and Michael Mandelbaum, one of our leading foreign policy thinkers, offer both a wake-up call and a call to collective action. They an...

Details That Used to Be Us

TitleThat Used to Be Us
Release DateSep 5th, 2011
PublisherMacmillan Audio
GenreNonfiction, Politics, Economics, History, Business, Education

Reviews That Used to Be Us

  • Villate
    Some good thoughts about what is and is not working in America, but an awful lot of "kids these days" sort of talk, too. The authors' fetishization of Asia is also troubling. Having worked closely with Asian students for more than 10 years now, I would say that a large proportion of their vaunted higher educational attainment is either purchased or cheated, not earned. That is not to say that we have nothing to learn from Asian methods of pedagog...
  • Fei Fei
    "Unscathed by the great disruptions, unburdened by the necessity of great sacrifice, unpressured by the daily effort of confronting a huge global predator... the baby boom generation has in too many cases displayed too little fiscal prudence, too much political partisanship, and too short a sense of history to engage in the collective nation-building at home that America badly needs today."In summary, the message is clear: Dear Baby Boomers, you ...
  • J.D.
    Let me start by saying that, as a moderate/centrist, I really loved this book! I believe, as the authors do, that neither Democrats are right thinking that the government is the solution to every problem, or that Republicans are right thinking the government is the cause to every problem. The authors are correct in their assertion that we must come together and act collectively, taking the best ideas of both philosophies, if we intend to improve ...
  • Delway Burton
    A perceptive and informative book, while at the same time frightening. Tom Friedman (forget his liberal bent) is a rational and broad-based writer. His access to sources is unique and he is a keen observer, mixing both statistics and anecdotes. If anything he should be faulted for what he leaves out. The book is an analysis of how the good old USA got into this mess. Firstly this is not the first time the nation has been threatened. The analysis ...
  • Donald Crane
    Really compelling book. The first 80% of it is a damning exploration of how the US has lost its way - educationally and politically, primarily. This part of the book highlights how America has failed to keep up with the rest of the world in science and math education, and how politicians - left and right - insist on making up their own facts to suit their ideology, science and research notwithstanding. (One of my favorite observations: in one stu...
  • Steve Schlutow
    This was a very good book; I agree 100% with their arguments.. I disagree with some of the approaches to resolving their arguments, but many times I do disagree with these author(s) being a conservative.. That said the authors' books are always informative good reads, thus I read enjoy reading them.. This book continuous the authors trend of good books, it is a very interesting book, and I enjoyed the read very much..The part of the book that I e...
  • Loyola University Chicago Libraries
    While reading this book, it's very hard not to feel overwhelmed. It's not just that the United States faces a single, all-consuming problem; it faces dozens, if not hundreds of them. There's not very much that's going right in America these days; from our failing schools to dismal unemployment rate to crumbling infrastructure, we barely resemble the global super power that confidently dominated world events after WWII. And even if these problems ...
  • J.L. Sutton
    Thomas Friedman and Michael Mandelbaum’s That Used to Be Us: How America Fell Behind in the World It Invented and How We Can Come Back is an engaging if not always (despite the title) optimistic view of where we are as a country. What do we need to do, what investments do we need to make, to become the dreamers and innovators we’d been in previous decades? Friedman and Mandelbaum analyze the economic and social conditions (as well as legal co...
  • Maria
    Friedman and Mandelbaum believe that we, as Americans, are failing to meet the 4 major challenges of our time: 1. globalization, 2. information technology revolution, 3. national deficits and 4. energy consumption. The tragedy they say, is that we used to lead the world in all of these areas. They point out the historical trends that lead us to our current path and the what decisions we have to make to turn it around.Why I started it: I have a hi...
  • Book
    That Used to Be Us: How America Fell Behind in the World it Invented and How We Can Come Back by Thomas L. Friedman and Michael Mandelbaum“That Used to Be Us” is the thought-provoking and topical book about the steep economical challenges that America faces. The authors take a systematic approach on what ails America and what can be done to cure it. This 400-page book is broken out in five parts: Part I. The Diagnosis, Part II. The Education ...
  • Keith Swenson
    For me, four stars means it is an excellent book I completely enjoyed. Five stars mean it is not only excellent, but that it is a rare and important book that everyone should read. I want to give this book 6 stars that means not only excellent because this is important and urgent -- drop whatever you are doing now and read this book NOW!Tom Friedman's "The World Is Flat" (2005) book had a tremendous impact on our culture, but it presents a defeat...
  • Ben
    Thomas Friedman has been pushing a consistent thesis for the past several years. Beginning in 1999 with The Lexus and the Olive Tree, Friedman has concluded that a convergence of the IT revolution, global warming, and the clash of ancient and modern cultures has brought about a sort of “tipping point” in modern history – a point in which nations and individuals either get control of globalization or lose control altogether. That Used to Be ...
  • Chris
    Once you get past all the cliches and bumper sticker slogans, Tom again has a good book. I was a huge fan of world is flat but only kinda liked hot flat and crowded. This book is kind of the love child of both (but not exactly). Although I don't agree with a lot of his politics, he hits the nail on the head with education and business. For some reason people just don't seem to get that the world and business has shifted for good. You don't need l...
  • Paul
    An important book for anyone who cares about America. The book was written before the 2012 election, and we were already falling behind much of the rest of the world. The authors give their formula for making America great again, and--surprise!--it's the polar opposite of Trump's: invest heavily in education, infrastructure, and R&D; lessen our dependence on foreign oil; reduce carbon emissions and invest in clean energy; welcome immigrants; redu...
  • Nancy Mills
    A very good summary of some of the things that have gone wrong in our country, and how they can be remedied. Author is somewhat more big-government oriented than I, but his points are cogently expressed and valid, especially his concerns about the expanding national debt and the need to reduce spending.
  • thewestchestarian
    Back in the early 1990's America became obsessed with its rapidly diminishing lead against an Asian country which seemed to be leagues better at business, education, manufacturing and government. Because it would soon become the number one global economy, it's "Theory Z" management practices received our deep study and admiration. The U.S.'s management practices and slack relative educational standards became a source of national shame compared t...
  • Alicia
    I thought that this was a very intriguing book. I thought that the picking and pulling a part of the left and the right was fantastic. I enjoyed that it didn’t play the blame game with one side, but put the fault where it should be, with everyone. If we just keep letting party lines get in the way of progress to make out country better, we will not succeed and we will therein create more issues in the future with education, jobs, and overall su...
  • Kkraemer
    Every American should read this book, all 377 pages of it. They should read it, think about it, talk about it with their friends, and consider world, national, and personal events through the lenses that are framed in these pages. They should spend time. It's important: America can serve this world as a stabilizer that offers people opportunity, education, and the right to be visionaries. America can serve this world as a place where all live in ...
  • Ellen Christian
    That Used To Be Us was written by Thomas L. Friedman (a New York Times columnist) and Michael Mandelbaum (Director of Foreign Policy at Johns Hopkins). That Used To Be Us is a call to action. It's a bucket of cold water meant to wake up Americans and get them to see what's really happened to our country. Friedman and Mandelbaum take a look at four challenges that our country is facing: globalization, the revolution in information technology, the ...
  • Meg - A Bookish Affair
    Full disclosure: I'm a big Thomas Friedman fan. I think he has a lot of interesting things to say and a lot of good ideas. I'm less familiar with Michael Mandelbaum although some of his books are now on my TBR based on what he discussed in this book. Anyhow, I really liked this book. The authors start out with talking about how we've kind of lost our way as a country. We've had a lot of things (such as the recession) thrust upon us but we've sort...
  • Jason Walker
    I'm not sure it is fair to compare US education scores with other countries, I've never been convinced that it isn't the apple and oranges game. Reading this book I think there are many apples and oranges brought to the front. The United States is not at this time the captain of industry and energy production; it will no longer be the captain of space exploration; and it will certainly never again be the leader in anything other than video games ...
  • Scott Lupo
    Thank you to Mindy Kittay for suggesting this book. Overall, this is a really great book that outlines the challenges this nation faces along with solutions that the authors consider the pillars of American society. The four challenges the US faces, in the author's opinion, are globalization, the revolution in IT, our deficit, and our energy consumption. The solutions that the authors posit are investment in education, investment in R&D, building...
  • Reiden
    The beginning and ending were a bit overly-patriotic for my taste, but the main portion of the book made up for that. I've listened to the last couple books by Friedman. I love how his books are up to date, giving a good view on how the world is currently changing. While this book's theme was based around changes in America, there were just as many pieces of the book devoted to other parts of the world besides the US. A few of the cases made in t...
  • Jerry
    This book talks about four Major Challenges:How to adapt to globalizationHow to adjust to the Information Technology (IT) revolutionHow to cope with the large and soaring budget deficits stemming from the growing demands on government at every levelHow to manage a world of both rising energy consumption and rising climate threatsThe authors at times are balanced in their analysis but tend to lean left of center favoring progressive solutions. The...
  • Shaun
    I found this book quite interesting. We all know that our country (the USA) is messed up and our politicians on many levels would rather spend money we don't have to continue along the path of the status quo, rather than make the hard decisions to implement policies to fix our long term problems, because they are more worried about staying in office than making our country better. The authors provide many ideas to fix our problems, but many of th...
  • John
    An excellent look at the America of the future. Like several other books written by Thomas Friedman this particular book looks at the things America needs to correct and soon if we want to remain a prosperous and free nation. Although like many reviewers I think the author's bent towards liberal views to solve most of these problems are sometimes off base; he is correct in noting that none of this can get done with strict party partisanship and t...
  • Dana Stabenow
    I finally skimmed through to the end. If you've never read one of Friedman's books, this one is probably the one you want to read first (although my personal favorite of his is still From Beirut to Jerusalem). If you have read all of his books already, you have read most of this before somewhere else. Essentially the message is: Stop spending money on waging war and start spending it on supporting the peace, especially in infrastructure and educa...
  • Michael
    I will be the first to admit that I am a fan of Friedman. The authors did a good job of trying to stay in the center of the aisle, but believe that they ultimately are a little to the left. To be honest, I don't really care what one's political views are, but rather that we are working together to better America in general.The authors brought to light the four following issues that are discussed in further detail consistently throughout the book:...
  • Tony Canas
    I've read several books about the financial crisis, the fall of enron, the US deficit, globalization and what's wrong with the world, but none provide as succinct an answer as Thomas Friedman's latest. While his last 2 books "The World is Flat" and "Hot, Flat and Crowded" are all about the issues of globalization and climate change, this one is about how we can fix our position in the world and get the US back in track to remain the superpower th...
  • Zach Olsen
    This book is fantastic just like all of Thomas Friedman's books. Most of the book paints a pretty dismal picture of the current state of America. Nearly all facets of America are slipping or have slipped behind - education, innovation, infrastructure. The most discouraging aspect is that these problems require big and difficult changes that our current political atmosphere aren't ready or willing to handle like both increasing taxes and decreasin...