Like many of you I follow Tom Friedman, one of the clearest, most honest voices of our generation. The great thing about Friedman is that he always seems to articulate a future that is founded in our present and past. I remember that after The World is Flat came out in 2005, I thought “I knew all that stuff”. But I never had the chops to prove it, which is why I am not Tom Friedman.
In this short video of Tom talking about his latest book , (why do people pay him loads of money to come speak when we can get the same speech for free?) he implants his thesis that “average is no longer good enough” in the context of a hyper-connected world, what I have called the cognitosphere. (If I had 20 minutes with Tom Friedman I would connect him with Adrian Bejan and discuss the Constructal Law as it pertains to knowledge flow.) His next step is critical for educators: he says our young people need to have the drive of an immigrant, the passion and pride of an artisan, and the desire to influence what they can of a waitress. Young people today who will be successful tomorrow are not those who can do a job; they are the ones who can constantly re-invent their jobs.
American history and success are based on what we have produced together, and we are now in an era where we are tearing apart with narrow-minded selfishness what so many generations before us have built. This is what we need to impart to our students. If they leave school understanding how and why America became the most successful experiment in the history of mankind, we all have a chance. If not, as Tom says, the tent pole of the world looks increasingly wobbly.