That Used to Be Us: How America Fell Behind in the World It Invented and How We Can Come Back

That Used to Be Us How America Fell Behind in the World It Invented and How We Can Come Back are Ebook Some good thoughts about what is and is not working in America but an awful lot of kids these

That Used to Be Us: How America Fell Behind in the World It Invented and How We Can Come Back are Ebook 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 pedagogy, or that they are not in fact "beating" us in terms of their academic achievement, but these guys are so blinded by the glitz of the new buildings in China and the vast adoption of technological innovations in India that they do not seem to see the corruption, extreme poverty, and lack of opportunity those countries in particular foster in their political and social structures. Short version: America has big problems because of its laziness, complacency, and jealousy of others' success. Other countries whose citizens are less lazy, complacent, and jealous and whose policies are more open to innovation (in all areas) will certainly overtake us if we do not stop stifling the inventiveness and creativity that has made us great. However, the solution presented here is weak at best and positively stupid at worst. We in America should be working hard within our own communities rather than waiting for a political savior to come to our rescue. We tried that in 2008 and it hasn't worked so far. . 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 thiAmerica 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 analyze the four challenges we face globalization, the revolution in information technology, the nation s chronic deficits, and our pattern of excessive energy consumption and spell out what we need to do now to sustain the American dream and preserve American power in the world They explain how the end of the Cold War blinded the nation to the need to address these issues seriously, and how China s educational successes, industrial might, and technological prowess remind us of the ways in which that used to be us They explain how the paralysis of our political system and the erosion of key American values have made it impossible for us to carry out the policies the country urgently needs And yet Friedman and Mandelbaum believe that the recovery of American greatness is within reach They show how America s history, when properly understood, offers a five part formula for prosperity that will enable us to cope successfully with the challenges we face They offer vivid profiles of individuals who have not lost sight of the American habits of bold thought and dramatic action They propose a clear way out of the trap into which the country has fallen, a way that includes the rediscovery of some of our most vital traditions and the creation of a new thirdparty movement to galvanize the country That Used to Be Us is both a searching exploration of the American condition today and a rousing manifesto for American renewal.. Good Kindle That Used to Be Us: How America Fell Behind in the World It Invented and How We Can Come Back "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 fucked up big time. Please fix it before the situation becomes completely hopeless. Please and thank you, the United States of America. I'll admit, Friedman and Mandelbaum are nothing if not well-intentioned. They've openly declared themselves here as "frustrated optimists", intent on warning fellow Americans the depth and breath of United States' problems. And these problems are equally embarrassing and completely serious. Let me illustrate here through a number of quotes:From Arne Duncan, the Secretary of Education: “Currently about one-fourth of ninth graders fail to graduate high school within four years. Among the O.E.C.D. countries, only Mexico, Spain, Turkey and New Zealand have higher dropout rates than the United States.”From Nobel Prize winner in Economics, Joseph Stiglitz: “The top 1 percent of Americans now take in roughly one-fourth of America’s total income every year. In terms of wealth rather than income, . . . the top 1 percent now controls 40 percent of the total. This is new. Twenty-five years ago, the corresponding figures were 12 percent and 33 percent.”"China's Tsinghua and Peking Universities are the two largest suppliers of students who receive Ph.D's in the United States.""It took China's Teda Construction Group thirty-two weeks to build a world-class convention center from the ground up - including giant escalators in every corner - and it was taking the Washington Metro crew twenty-four weeks to repair two tiny escalators of twenty-one steps each." Citing professional quotes, statistics and real-life anecdotes, Friedman and Mandelbaum hammers home four critical challenges facing the US: 1. The slacking quality, attention, and funding of education across the country and it's effects on the current and future workforce 2. "War on Math", as in the out-of-control, crippling national debt that's unjustly burdening the younger generation for the sake of the retiring, older generation 3. "War on Physics", as in the blatant denial of climate change and the need for massive environment/energy policy overhauls in the nation 4. Political gridlock in Washington, encumbered by "hyperpartisanship", 24/7 media scrutiny and money. An impressive list with some truly telling analysis. The proofs are there: America is in decline. What's worse, according to the authors, the decline is slow in coming and hence, we fail to even recognize the existence of the problem. This is an important topic but the book falls short in truly addressing the problem.I have three main criticisms:1. The authors excessive patriotism and optimism interferes with their arguments and undermines their credibility by drawing contradictory statements. What do I mean by this? Here's what I found in the first chapter:"We believe that China is getting 90% of the potential benefits from its second-rate political system.... we are getting only 50% of the potential benefits from our first-rate political system." ... wait, what? PC much? I'm not a government expert by any means but neither are they (one's a journalist and the other's a foreign policy professor). Quite a stupid thing to say in my opinion, especially as they then went on to illustrate just how "first-rate" the American political system is with an entire section titled: "Political Failure". The authors' continuous contention to the superiority of the American political system lacks any such economic OR social proof in the book. While commenting on the state of education in the US, they make the comment that schools must learn to "inspire" students unlike the Chinese educational system that notoriously "stifle creativity" (with no citation of evidence I might add). Fine, but then please don't turn around in the very next section and urge for an open-door policy towards high-skilled immigrants from India and China, whose "capabilities" and "innovative-thinking" will sustain the brain-pool of America's workforce and drive the US economy. And the string of contradictory evidence and statements go on. I find it highly hypocritical that while the authors are urging for a change in the attitude of readers, in particular, that "sense of entitlement and righteousness of American ways", they are in fact propagating that very sentiment through their writings. They are emphatic that this book isn't a comparison between American and Chinese ways nor about changing American policies to follow China's example, yet at every opportunity, Freidman and Mandelbaum seem to be contrasting two countries - just look at the examples I drew up for this review!2. They repeatedly state that the problem is serious yet you wouldn't be able to tell from the Introduction or Conclusion. Reading this book from beginning to the end reminds me of listening to a tender-hearted mother. She loves her problematic son dearly, knows that he needs serious help and tries to warns her son of this. Yet she phrases her words so delicately - not wishing to unduly injure or offend - that the dire message gets lost. This is what the book reads like for me. The opening and ending are so full of optimism and pep as the authors try to rally the spirits of the reader that the stark stories they've included in the middle are lost amidst reassurances. I wish they had been more decisive in their message: There's serious trouble, listen up!3. With such foreboding tidings, you would usually expect that it comes with an "unless" - those concrete steps that will reverse America's fortune. But - and here is my main criticism - their main recommendations & solutions are frustratingly vague, incomplete and incapable of immediate action. For example, the authors encourage for more educational funding and government policies to encourage quality teaching. That's all fine, yet they've completely ignored the glaring problem that is increasingly unaffordable post-secondary education. Unless something is done to make college tuitions more affordable, America's "education gap" will continue to widen. To combat the national debt and climate change, they call for balanced budgets - increasing taxes where they are due - and green energy innovation. Also good. But precisely how/where...? The authors did not elaborate on the details. In terms of the political gridlock at Washington, DC. they have perhaps the most ... creative, shall I say... solution to the problem: "Shock Therapy". That is, the introduction of a third, independent political party to force a stop to the hyperpartisanship of congress by introducing a more candid, centrist view towards politics. But who would they propose for this role? Just who are they thinking about in particular who will step up to the plate? With no concrete plans of change, Freidman and Mandelbaum instead relies heavily on anecdotal examples of success. They are essentially saying: Take heart! Change is possible. See here, here and here. But at the conclusion, you, the average reader, is still left in a confusing quadmire about how to proceed on a personal level. Bottom-line: An important topic to tackle and write about, certainly. But, the evidence - significantly lacking in certain areas and misleading in others as it were - is not anything new. The arguments and solutions are fairly standard to those already in the loop and provide no additional enlightenment. The one positive is perhaps that the literary clout of these two authors in writing this book will, produce more open, honest and focused discussions to recovering some of that former "American greatness".

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  1. Thomas L. Friedman Michael Mandelbaum Jason Culp Is a well-known author, some of his books are a fascination for readers like in the That Used to Be Us: How America Fell Behind in the World It Invented and How We Can Come Back book, this is one of the most wanted Thomas L. Friedman Michael Mandelbaum Jason Culp author readers around the world.

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That Used to Be Us: How America Fell Behind in the World It Invented and How We Can Come Back Comment

  1. 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 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 pedagogy, or that they are not in fact beating us in terms of their [...]


  2. 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 fucked up big time Please fix it before the situation be [...]


  3. 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 America The authors nailed it on the head when they [...]


  4. 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 of the present is discouraging as long term problems have [...]


  5. 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 study, 49% of US adults do not know how long it takes for the Ea [...]


  6. 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 muchThe part of the book that I enjoyed the most was education chapters, as how the US has fal [...]


  7. 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 were easy to solve, our current gridlocked political sy [...]


  8. 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 codes which allowed our remarkable growth They also lay out wh [...]


  9. 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 history crush on Friedman and I needed to inject some non fi [...]


  10. 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 Challenge, Part III The War on Math and Physics, Part IV Polit [...]


  11. 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 defeatist tone That used to be us completes the message by saying [...]


  12. 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 Us continues Friedman s themes from his previous works, but in [...]


  13. 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 lots of people to make lots of money any and as a conseque [...]


  14. I suspect I got out of this book having listened to Atlas Shrugged previously I enjoyed the moderate line the authors crafted, using issues and sides form both Democrats and Republicans I cannot type from experience but I suspect this book could also have relevance outside the U.S.A not on specifics but the overall ideas on how politics has been moving to the extremes However, this book could have been a lot shorter There were examples and pressing points already made that could have been cut o [...]


  15. 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 RD lessen our dependence on foreign oil reduce carbon emissions and invest in clean energy welcome immigrants reduce the deficit by reducing social benefits AND raising taxes [...]


  16. 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 to a country that seemed to do everything right Somewher [...]


  17. 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 issues in the future with education, jobs, and overall sustainability I like the thought process of adding a third p [...]


  18. 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 some degree of peace It has institutions that balance t [...]


  19. 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 nation s chronic deficits and our pattern of excessive ener [...]


  20. 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 of gotten lazy too The book opens with a story about the [...]


  21. 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 in a breath real and in a thought impossible That is w [...]


  22. 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 RD, building infrastructure, immigration, and regulation They do a [...]


  23. 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 the book 1 Our current two party political system is no [...]


  24. 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 They note the impact of lobbying and the role of public [...]


  25. 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 worried about staying in office than making our country better The authors provide many ideas to fix our problems, but many of their solutions require Democrats and Republicans to find co [...]


  26. 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 the lack of a third moderate vision for America Enjoy [...]


  27. 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 education I m not as anxious about the future of the USA as F [...]


  28. 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 Globalization, the Information Technology IT Revolut [...]


  29. 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 that it is today, because sadly we are simply not on the [...]


  30. 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 decreasing spending I like the solutions laid out in the book, e [...]


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