Five things you need to know about Thomas Friedman
May 15, 2019
- Thomas L. Friedman is something of a specialist on the Middle East. With a bachelor’s degree in Mediterranean studies from
Universityof Minnesota and Brandeis University and a M.Phil. in modern Middle East studies from Oxford, he immediately went to work as a journalist covering the region. Starting in 1979, first with UPI, then the New York Times, Friedman lived in, and reported from, Beirut and Jerusalem for almost a decade. It was a period when that region transfixed the world with exploding conflict and civil war.
- In the 1980s, Friedman won the first two of his three Pulitzer Prizes for his reporting on
conflictinvolving Israel in the Middle East. He earned his third Pulitzer in 2002 for commentary “on the worldwide impact of the terrorist threat” in the frantic and confused four months after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.
- Based on his experience reporting on the Middle East he wrote the first of his six books, From Beirut to Jerusalem, winning the National Book Award. From this foundation, Friedman would expand the scope of his books to topics like globalization, climate change, energy
andtechnology. He produced documentary films and took over the New York Times foreign affairs column in 1995.
- Despite all of his serious reporting and commentary, Friedman is also known for writing in a folksy, optimistic, conversational style full of elaborate visual metaphors that describe complex global socioeconomic dynamics in simple terms. His most recent book, Thank you for Being Late:
anOptimist’s Guide to Thriving in the Age of Accelerations examines three macro-trends that are driving the increasing pace of change in our world: climate change, globalization andtechnology. In much the same way we do here at True North, Friedman argues that thoughtful innovation and effective institutions are the only way through the chaos.
- For Friedman, it’s all about community
Thomas Friedman will deliver the opening keynote address at True North on June 19, 2019.