Book Review: Thank You For Being Late

It’s easy to feel very stressed or even depressed over what’s going on in the world today. Highly partisan politics. Hate crimes. Unemployment. Wars on multiple continents. Climate change. And the list goes on…

There is one author that helps me the most from time-to-time make sense of this crazy world we live in. He is Thomas L. Friedman. It started with his best-seller “The World is Flat”. Continued with “Hot, Flat, and Crowded”. And now it’s “Thank You For Being Late”.

Friedman is a three-time recipient of the Pulitzer Prize for his work as a columnist with The New York Times. He is also the author of six bestselling books. I recently had the pleasure of seeing him speak here in Atlanta as a part of the MJCCA Book Festival.

The title of the book, “Thank You for Being Late”,  comes from a meeting Friedman had with a colleague who arrived late. While waiting for his friend, Friedman found he enjoyed the extra time he had to just sit and contemplate life around him. This is an experience that many of us fail to enjoy enough of. Moving forward, the author began thanking people for showing up late as he took advantage of that pause in time to think and observe the world around him.

The sub-title to the book, “An Optimist’s Guide To Thriving In The Age Of Accelerations”, speaks directly to what the book is about. Friedman takes a fifty thousand view of the world and identifies the planet’s three greatest forces: technology, globalization, and climate change, and how all three are all accelerating at the same time – almost like a perfect storm. He then explores how each of these forces are impacting the workplace, politics, geopolitics, ethics, and community. Finally, he discusses how each of us can either fall victim to one or more of these forces or leverage them in our lives for success.

This book is not an easy read. The author goes into great detail in his writing with many examples and lots of data to support his thinking. It’s also not an easy read because the reader can’t help but come to the realization that as a society if we do nothing relative to these forces, we are at great peril. Likewise, there is also great opportunity for those that act.

One of my clients, Steve Latham, recently read the book and shared the following:

Tim mentioned Friedman’s latest book during my 1:1 meeting with him, and then I have to say that Jay’s excitement plus expanding understanding of what Banyan is up to further peaked my curiosity. So I read it…and wow!  It’s awesome. I bought a copy for every employee at Banyan, as it simply explains what we’re so well positioned, extremely well. Let’s discuss this book more interactively the next time we’re together. Thanks again, awesome read!

Like Steve, I enjoyed the book and recommend it to all small business owners.