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Carmine Gallo’s “The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs,” Milton Friedman and Rose Friedman’s “Free to Choose,” and Thomas L. Friedman’s “The World is Flat,” are all books that have technology as their guiding force. All texts use case studies and personal examples to guide their direction. While two of these books fall into a similar category of a description of the free market and the ways the direction of the economy will change due to technology, “The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs,” takes a different approach, as it is more of a guide book on how to make a convincing and captivating speech. “Free to Choose” and “The World is Flat,” are different in that the latter book is more in tune with modern society, which is dominated by technology.
“The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs” highly touts the abilities of the man who brought the world the iPhone and other ground breaking Apple products that changed the way the world operates. The book explains to the reader how Steve Jobs was able to make the type of presentations he made. It’s really a guide book to people who want to be proficient speakers. The book literally goes through the steps to becoming a savvy speaker to a large audience. For example, “Scene 1” is about planning the analog – and then the book goes all the way to “Scene 7,” where it talks about revealing a hero that provides a better way to accomplish something. But it’s also a fan book, for people who idolize the man – often, these people are obsessed with technology and couldn’t possible imagine a life without constant access to the Internet.
“The World is Flat” takes a look at the various aspects that change the way businesses operate during a time when there is so much technological dominance. As these technologies take over all of our lives, they also take over the way in which businesses operate. These companies are forced to adapt to the changing world because, if they do not, they will find themselves not being able to keep up with the new world in which they do business. Unlike the other books, “The World is Flat” takes an interesting look at history and the way businesses operated. Included in its pages, the electronic type, the book uses snapshots throughout history on the way businesses and people operated. It takes a look at the American Midwest, the Great Depression, the Christopher Columbus days.
In “Free to Choose,” Friedman says the market economy is absolutely necessary to a free society. Free markets are the way in which every other freedom enjoyed by people on this blue and green rock is possible. The book points to the fact that the productivity in the United States is based on the free market. He claims that the men and women employed in this market are free to choose their own level of participation.
“Free to Choose” was an interesting book. It had many insights into arguments for free market. This is somewhat similar to “The World is Flat,” which uses technological discoveries and developments as a way that companies are participating in the free market. Because the market is free, they are able to find a competitive edge by adding advancements in technology to their arsenal. In Friedman’s book, he takes a closer look at small governments and how the decisions made at that level are able to generate freedoms for those who live under that government’s rule. While the book is nearly three decades old, it is interesting to note that the political climate is turning. This was written when President Carter was in power.
Friedman’s work differs mostly from the others in that it takes a real hard look at what has made America into what it is today. As mentioned, the book describes events from as far back as when the first settlers arrived in America. “When they arrived, they did not find streets paved with gold; they did not find an easy life. They did not find freedom and an opportunity to make the most of their talents. Through hard work, ingenuity, thrift, and luck, most of them succeeded in realizing enough of their hopes and dreams to encourage friends and relatives to join them,” (Friedman 1).
Friedman takes the reader on a journey of the past and present, and he comes to the conclusion that economic freedom and human freedom are at their greatest power in the United States. “We are all of us imbued with them. They are part of the very fabric of our being,” (Friedman 309). While I completely understand what Friedman is saying here, I believe he is being utterly ethnocentric in thinking that the United States has a monopoly on the joint forces of human freedom and economic freedom. All westernized countries, and Australia, have a pretty good grasp on the concept and they all crave the same. The others may not have a Statue of Liberty, but they do have that human yearning for the freedoms. But I admit that this argument doesn’t completely refute Friedman’s claim. He talks about there being a “fruition” of these ideas for which so many people long. However, I think if we are to consider human freedom the ability to do as one wants, when one wants – as long as it adheres to the principles of morality – then we can assume that nearly every human has that desire. And, economic freedom would be the freedom from the constraints of money. This would point to wealthy unemployed or retired people as being the Holy Grail of the human and economic freedom. I would argue that the number who fit into this category are comparable is most westernized countries a person would look.But Friedman is concerned that the concentration of power can take freedom away from the people, no matter what country they are from. He says, however, that the people are waking up: “We are again recognizing that good objectives can be perverted by bad means, that reliance on the freedom of people to control their own lives in accordance with their own values is the surest way to achieve the full potential of a great society,” (Friedman 310).
While much of Friedman’s work in “Free to Choose,” references events that have happened in the past, the third chapter “The Anatomy of Crisis,” has a better relevance to modern-day society. The chapter outlines the banking system from its early days with the creation of the Federal Reserve in 1913 to the short depressing in the early 1920s, and then the Great Depression in the 1930s. The chapter looks into whether or not the current (or recent, depending on one’s perspective) is something to really worry about.
Friedman, in “Free to Choose,” points to government dominance infringing on the abilities of people to live life the way they want to. For example, he refers to government ownership of land, buildings and other pieces of property. “Even here the effect is a lack of incentive to maintain and improve the physical capital. When everybody owns something, nobody owns it, and nobody has a direct interest in maintaining or improving its condition.” He said buildings in the Soviet Union (the book was written in 1980), and in the United States, look horrible within a couple years of being constructed. It’s also, according to Friedman, the reason why government factory machines break down continuously. He and his wife also go as far as saying “citizens must resort to the black market for maintaining the capital that they have for their personal use,” (Friedman 24). I think this statement required a bit more of an explanation, as I don’t consider myself uninformed and I am unaware of any black market where people can maintain their capital.
Both “Free to Choose” and “The World is Flat,” are calls to action for reshaping the way in which people relate to their governments. While “The World is Flat” takes a look at making changes so that people can be competitive in a free market, “Free to Choose,” is more of a call on people to make the changes. Friedman, in “The World is Flat” looks more at the solutions to the rapidly changing environment that is largely driven by technological advancements. These technologies, Friedman says, will flatten the world into a globalized market. Those who can’t keep up with this evolution are going to be flattened by it. However, he admits, people can’t possibly keep up with the ever-changing technology, because it is changing too rapidly.
Thomas Friedman takes a look at how there are dangers to the flattening of the world, or globalization. This comes in the form of terrorists. The terrorists increase the amount of fear in the world, and prevent certain countries from joining the global market. In my opinion, terrorists threats aren’t going to slow the development of the world economy. The reason businesses are working together overseas is because they find the cooperation fiscally intelligent. These corporations are not limited to just companies, but entire governments. With such powerful forces influencing global trade, terrorists groups won’t be powerful enough to overcome their dominance. There will be more terrorist attacks, but I see them being more domestic. The Middle East isn’t a prime location to do business anyway, and with so much devastation going on there right now, I don’t see in the near future an opportunity for terrorists to facilitate an attack comparable to the devastation of 9-11. But Friedman goes further that physical attacks, he also references the Internet and its potential use among al-Qaeda. “Hell hath no fury like a terrorist with a satellite dish and an interactive website,” (T. Friedman 456). But the biggest fear he describes is nuclear terrorism. Instead of airplanes crashing into the Trade Towers, it would be airplanes dropping nuclear weapons on all of New York. He said a nuclear terrorist attack would be the ultimate way to put a dent on the flattening world. “The only reason that Osama bin Laden did not use a nuclear device on 9-11 was not that he did not have the intention, but that he did not have the capability,” (T. Friedman 437).
I think Friedman is right on with both the reference to terrorists propagating hate through the Internet and to the utter devastation it would cause to the global market if the terrorists had access to nuclear weapons. However, I find the reference to the Three No’s weak. These No’s include: no loose nukes, no new nascent nukes and no new nuclear states. Does this mean that it is okay for there to be current states that have nuclear weapons? I suppose according to the way these countries are governed, nuclear weapons are fine. However, when there are any nuclear weapons – in a state that is looking to attain them, or in a current state – there is the risk of there being potential attainment from of those nukes by terrorists. Furthermore, can’t the governments that currently possess the nukes be considered potential terrorists? After all, the Merriam Webster Dictionary defines terrorism as “the systematic use of terror especially as a means of coercion.” Doesn’t that about fall into the category of what happened during Hiroshima? I think so. Granted, that was in the past, and the actions of the U.S. to end the Japanese attack on the U.S. in World War II can’t really be used to describe the current state in which we live. But could the invasion of Iraq be held as an example of a terrorist attack? According to Webster it can. With so many countries in possession of nuclear weapons – China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, India, Israel, Pakistan and North Korea, to name a few –aren’t these countries at risk of either being infiltrated or coerced into providing terrorists access to the weapons. I think it’s only a matter of time. This is an important point that Friedman leaves out of his statement about the “doctrine of Three No’s.”
“The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs,” is somewhat related to the other two books, in that it is about technology and a changing world, but it is much more focused on a task. For example, Carmine Gallo discusses the ways in which Steve Jobs spoke to the public, using words like “zippy.” He talked clearly, simply and directly to his audience. “Even if you think Jobs is grandstanding from time to time, his choice of words puts a smile on your face. He chooses words that are fun, tangible, and uncommon in most professional business presentations,” (Gallo 113). I found this book to be by far the worst out of the series. While I have tremendous respect for Steve Jobs, and I am sure he was a fantastic speaker, there is little relevance of this book in economic theory. As an aspiring expert in economics, I am far more interested in the other two books in this series. I respect “The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs” for what it is: a book that helps people wanting to be better at giving speeches. Compared to the other two books, “The Presentations Secrets of Steve Jobs” should be sold in the children’s section at bookstores. Granted, could produce some pretty amazing five-year-old speakers.
Essentially, the book says that Steve Job’s was able to be an original speech giver, while expressing immense passion for his company, Apple Inc. This type of charisma is what allowed Jobs to dress as if he were in the 1990s, with faded jeans and a plain black long-sleeved sweater (is it a turtleneck?) that Jerry Seinfeld wore on every episode of his series. The book does a good job (pun intended) at showing how Jobs was able to get away with wearing the turtleneck in the 21st Century, let alone onstage with the camera rolling. Gallo, in his book, claims that anyone can deliver an amazing speech.
At the risk of sounding incredibly pessimistic, I have to say that there is a lot of salesmanship in this book, and that isn’t just because the book is about how to sell yourself to people. It’s because the book was released not long before Jobs died. I apologize to Gallo if I am wrong to make the assumption that he wrote it with timing in mind. But let’s face it, he likely sold many more copies of the book because of Job’s death in 2011. Furthermore, his claim that anyone can deliver an amazing speech is a bit farfetched. Does that mean that a person who has the IQ of an adult pig can make a good speech? No. It is only said to sell books. Making the claim that any ordinary person can even come close to making a speech as good as Steve Jobs is an obvious sales pitch. It reminds me of those Rogaine commercials that features a guy with a supermodel at his side. Will that shampoo really get me a date with a supermodel? What aisle is that in?
The connection between Gallo’s book and the other two is the way in which Steve Jobs has helped facilitate a more efficient global market. The iPhone has indeed flattened the world substantially. We could consider this book a micro version of “The World is Flat.” While the latter-mentioned book takes a broad look at the way in which technology is changing the world, “Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs” investigates the inner workings of the man who brought the world the iPhone.
I found Friedman’s piece “Free to Choose” took an extremely close look at each aspect that is described. About 30 pages were dedicated to explaining the free market. I think this is warranted, as there are many aspects to the free market. He titles that first chapter, “The Power of the Market,” which of course shows how massive the market is and how it controls all of our lives. Specifically, the chapter describes the various governments’ roles in liberty, economic growth and free trade. The chapter also discusses price controls. He explicitly states that is is not a fan of government interference with global trade. He believes this takes away from the freedom of the free market. I agree that it interferes with free trade among nations, but I don’t agree with that it should be stopped. In this role, the government ensures there is proper monitoring of the various problems that can arise when nations do business with each other. Without government governing the way the countries do business, there is much room for corruption. Courts would be riddled with cases of companies from one country claiming the company from the other country broke the law in some way. Without government interference, there likely wouldn’t even be the possibility of challenging a firm in another jurisdiction in court. I believe that the tariffs Friedman opposes are necessary to facilitate the funding of the creation of policies, which the government is responsible for. With many freight business, there are also safety inspections, which need to be governed. If the government doesn’t impose tariffs on these things, the expense would fall to the American taxpayer, and I’m sure that wouldn’t fly with Friedman. So where does the funding come from if not from tariffs?
In closing, two of these books take a fascinating look at the way in which the American economy and, to a lesser degree, the economy of the world works. The other book, “The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs,” falls short in my interest category. It is through books such as “Free to Choose” and “The World is Flat,” that discussions about the way government policies interact with economics interact. Whether these opinions are correct or incorrect, they provide the groundwork for broader discussions among many people, and this can help institute change. As the American economy gives way to the world economy, I hope that more writings such as these can bring to surface the many problems that need to be addressed before they escalate. Given proper discussion, the world can begin to move into an effective and cohesive unit in free market interaction. However, as the books fail to mention, the effects of the way a country that goes bankrupt — as what has been seen in the situation in Europe with Greece and Spain — there needs to be better governance of how these countries’ economic disasters can be confined to the country where the economic disaster has struck.
Gallo, C. (2010). The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs. New York: McGraw-Hill
Friedman, T. (2005). The World is Flat. New York. Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Friedman, M. and Friedman, R. (1980) Free to Choose. New York. Mariner Books.