A reading club with a view to the future

409 Thomas L. Friedman: Thank You for Being Late

In a rapidly changing world driven by technological advancements, “Thank You for Being Late” explores the challenges and opportunities presented by the age of accelerations, providing insights and strategies to navigate and thrive in this complex era.



 "Thank You for Being Late" is a thought-provoking exploration of the transformative effects of technology, globalization, and climate change on our societies. Thomas L. Friedman takes readers on a journey, sharing personal stories, global observations, and conversations with diverse individuals to shed light on the profound shifts reshaping our world. The book emphasizes the importance of pausing, reflecting, and adapting to the accelerating pace of change, and provides a hopeful perspective on how individuals, communities, and governments can find new ways to thrive amidst these challenges.


  1. Title: "Thank You for Being Late: An Optimist's Guide to Thriving in the Age of Accelerations" 
  2. Author: Thomas L. Friedman 
  3. Publishing Year: 2016 
  4. Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux 
  5. Length in Hours: 19 hours and 47 minutes

5 main ideas

  1. The Age of Accelerations: Friedman identifies three forces—technology, globalization, and climate change—as the primary accelerators shaping our world, disrupting traditional systems and challenging our ability to adapt.
  2. The Power of Networks: The book explores the transformative potential of interconnectedness and collaboration in a hyper-connected world, highlighting the opportunities for innovation, cooperation, and problem-solving that arise from networked societies.
  3. The Importance of Adaptability: Friedman emphasizes the need for individuals and institutions to embrace lifelong learning, adaptability, and resilience to thrive in an era of rapid change, where skills and knowledge can quickly become obsolete.
  4. Ethical and Moral Implications: The author delves into the ethical and moral dilemmas posed by technological advancements, emphasizing the importance of ethical frameworks and values to guide decision-making in an increasingly complex world.
  5. Empowering Individuals and Communities: "Thank You for Being Late" advocates for empowering individuals, communities, and governments to shape their own destinies through innovation, entrepreneurship, and inclusive governance, fostering a sense of agency and collective responsibility.

5 funny quotes

  1. "In a world where everything is instant, sometimes the best things still take time, like a slow-cooked meal or a handwritten letter."
  2. "If you want to catch up with the accelerating pace of technology, just try learning how to operate your grandparents' VCR."
  3. "The only thing that seems to be moving at a slower pace these days is the line at the DMV."
  4. "In a world filled with distractions, it's a miracle when we can have an uninterrupted conversation over a cup of coffee."
  5. "When everything is going faster, sometimes the best solution is to simply stop and smell the roses (or the virtual flowers on your smartphone)."

5 thought-provoking quotes​

  1. "When you press the pause button on a machine, it stops. But when you press the pause button on human beings, they start... to reflect, rethink, and reimagine themselves and their relationships, to get in touch with that deeper wisdom."
  2. "We have to both be ready for the rapid pace of change and disruption and be self-reliant enough to navigate it in a way that doesn't leave too many people behind."
  3. "In the age of accelerations, best is a moving target."
  4. "In a world where everyone and everything is connected, the most important skill... is the ability to build trust."
  5. "Optimism is not just a personal characteristic. It's a choice we make and a discipline we must cultivate."

5 dilemmas

  1. Privacy vs. Connectivity: The dilemma of balancing the benefits of interconnectedness and access to information with concerns about personal privacy and data security in an increasingly connected world.
  2. Automation and Job Displacement: The ethical dilemma surrounding the automation of jobs and its potential impact on employment, income inequality, and societal well-being.
  3. Environmental Sustainability vs. Economic Growth: The challenge of finding a balance between economic development and environmental sustainability, considering the long-term consequences of resource consumption and climate change.
  4. Technological Empowerment and Inequality: The dilemma of ensuring that technological advancements benefit all members of society, addressing the digital divide and reducing inequalities in access to education, opportunities, and resources.
  5. Ethical Use of Artificial Intelligence: The moral and ethical dilemmas associated with the development and use of artificial intelligence, including issues of bias, accountability, and the potential impact on human autonomy and decision-making.

5 examples

  1. Uber: Friedman discusses the disruptive impact of ride-sharing platforms like Uber and their role in reshaping the transportation industry and challenging traditional business models.
  2. Google: The book explores the significant influence of Google as a dominant player in the digital age, with its search engine and innovative technologies shaping the way we access information and connect with the world.
  3. Elon Musk: Friedman examines the visionary endeavors of Elon Musk, founder of Tesla and SpaceX, as a prime example of individuals pushing the boundaries of innovation and transforming industries.
  4. Arab Spring: The author reflects on the role of social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook in facilitating the Arab Spring movements and their impact on political landscapes in the Middle East.
  5. Thomas Friedman (self-referential): The author shares personal experiences and anecdotes throughout the book, offering insights into his own journey and interactions with various individuals, leaders, and thinkers.

Referenced books

  1. "Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind" by Yuval Noah Harari - Quoted to provide insights into the history and evolution of human societies.
  2. "The Second Machine Age: Work, Progress, and Prosperity in a Time of Brilliant Technologies" by Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee - Referenced to explore the impact of technological advancements on the economy and labor markets.

Share a quote

"If you want to catch up with the accelerating pace of technology, just try learning how to operate your grandparents' VCR."

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