Top critical review
That Used to be Us
Reviewed in the United States on April 10, 2013
I have always enjoyed Thomas Freedman's columns in the NY Times, so I was not surprised by the material presented in his book with Michael Mandelbaum. In fact, I was somewhat bored by the warmed over sentiments voiced in the first several score of pages in this book. Later, the authors present a wealth of statistical information, buttressed by many interviews with some economic and business leaders, concerning what we are not doing correctly in this country and what we need to rectify the present situation. I was alternately buoyed up by the myriad of creative scientific and business people cited in the book, yet ultimately depressed by the authors' condemnation of our lack of will to reverse and obvious social decline. Their remedy, expressed in the last part of the book -- that we should be more creative and make many more start ups and that unemployment can be overcome by everyone starting new businesses -- may have some merit but is hardly likely to be realized. I left the book feeling somewhat pessimistic, not only because of the aforementioned unrealizable goals cited by the authors but because I think that that they, too, are pessimistic and that they concluded the book by trying to put a good face on a bad situation. It is a worthwhile book, interesting but probably with a limited shelf life, as social issues have a way of becoming old very fast.