I am in the midst of reading the book Hot, Flat, and Crowded 2.0 by Thomas L. Friedman. Within five pages of starting (I am now 70 odd pages in) my mind started going numb. Why? There’s just way too much information being “crowded” into this book without stirring my heart or motivating me. I keep thinking, “stop burying me in moribund statistics, move me to action.”
While much of the data and quotes are informative, the text tends to come across to me like reading facts out of an almanac or definitions out of dictionary. The overkill in details reminds me of the quote by Erich Maria Remarque which said,
“The death of one man is a tragedy — the death of millions is a statistic.”
The topic needs to be personalized to motivate people to change.
I found the book Hot, Living Through the Next Fifty Years on Earth by Mark Hertsgaard to be much more engaging because the author personalized the same distressing kinds of information by linking it to how his daughter and her generation will have to cope with climate change. That correlation made the book a very compelling read.
At least thus far, Hot, Flat, and Crowded 2.0, just piles on the bad news over and over again without reaching out and touching the soul. Basically, the whole premise seems to be, “things suck all over and here’s why.” Yippee! Tell me something I don’t know, like how to correct the mess we have gotten ourselves into.
Perhaps I am wrong and before the end of the book Mr. Friedman will launch into a stellar series of ideas and proposed solutions. If he does, I will gladly eat crow. Otherwise, I will feel like the time I read Hot, Flat, and Crowded 2.0 could have been spent doing more important things like volunteering my time to help others.