Three-time Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author Thomas Friedman spent Valentine’s evening 2018 sharing his insight on “The Big Trends Shaping the World Today: Economics, Technology and Geopolitics” as the featured speaker at the Lipscomb University’s Don R. Elliott Distinguished Presidential Lecture Series.
Bestselling author of The World is Flat and New York Times foreign affairs columnist, Friedman is renowned for his direct reporting and sophisticated analysis of complex issues facing the world. He shared insight into his latest bestseller, Thank You for Being Late: An Optimist’s Guide to Thriving in the Age of Accelerations. In it, he offers a blueprint for overcoming the stresses and challenges of a world being transformed by technology, globalization, and climate change.
He shared his experiences as a writer and columnist.
“As a writer I am either stoking an emotion in you or illuminating something for you,” Friedman told the packed crowd at Nashville’s The Bell Tower venue. “If I’m doing really well, I am producing both heat and light. A person’s reaction to something is a result of their value system, how they think the ‘machine’ works and their culture.”
“Stir those three things together and bake for 35 minutes and you can write a column in the New York Times,” he quipped. “And you’ll know if it’s accomplished anything by the reaction that you get. If you reader says, ‘I didn’t know that,’ that’s a really good reaction. If someone reads your column and says, ‘I never thought to connect those things,’ that’s even better.”
Friedman’s previous New York Times bestseller, co-written with Michael Mandelbaum, was That Used to Be Us: How America Fell Behind in the World It Invented and How We Can Come Back. According to The Christian Science Monitor, “Anyone who cares about America’s future ought to read this book and hear the authors’ compelling case.”
His book, The World is Flat has sold 4.5 million copies and won the inaugural Financial Times and Goldman Sachs Business Book of the Year Award. In 2012 Friedman updated his National Book Award-winner, From Beirut to Jerusalem, adding a fresh discussion of the Arab Awakenings and Arab/Israeli relations in a new preface and afterword.
Friedman's Hot, Flat and Crowded: Why We Need a Green Revolution — and How It Can Renew America, was a #1 New York Times bestseller. Friedman's other bestsellers include Longitudes and Attitudes: The World in the Age of Terrorism, and The Lexus and the Olive Tree, which Kirkus Reviews called “simply the best book written on globalization.”
Ranked #2 on The Wall Street Journal's list of “influential business thinkers,” named to the 2011 Thinkers50 and the 2013 list of Foreign Policy's Top Global Thinkers, and considered one of “America's Best Leaders” by U.S. News & World Report,
Friedman is a frequent guest on programs such as Meet The Press, Morning Joe, and Charlie Rose. His TV documentaries, Searching for the Roots of 9/11, The Other Side of Outsourcing, and Addicted to Oil, have aired on the Discovery Channel. Friedman is featured in Showtime's climate change documentary series Years of Living Dangerously, executive produced by James Cameron and Arnold Schwarzenegger.
The Don R. Elliott Distinguished Presidential Lecture Series is the signature program of Lipscomb’s College of Leadership & Public Service. It’s designed to expose the Lipscomb campus and the surrounding community to persons of influence in one or more issues of contemporary debate or discussion, with a preference for issues related to economics or political science. The Elliott Lecture is funded by an endowment established at Lipscomb by the Don R. Elliott Foundation.
The program was hosted by Lipscomb’s College of Leadership & Public Service and Leadership Tennessee, an initiative of the college. Leadership Tennessee is an education program designed to cultivate a network of business, nonprofit, education and government leaders committed to addressing the state’s challenges and opportunities. This year 2018 marks Leadership Tennessee’s fifth anniversary of impacting the state.