Sunday, February 15, 2009

Thomas Friedman, Machiavelli and the Challenge of Change

In his book, Hot, Flat and Crowded, Tom Friedman writes about the challenge of shifting the American nation to a Clean Energy System.

To fully appreciate the hurdles and the challenges of change Friedman encourages his readers to reread their Machiavelli.

He says:

My favorite passage in The Prince goes like this:

“It ought to be remembered that there is nothing more difficult to take in hand, more perilous to conduct, or more uncertain in its success, than to take the lead in introducing a new order of things, because the innovator has for enemies all those who have done well under the old conditions, and lukewarm defenders in those who may do well under the new. This coolness arises partly from fear of the opponents—who have the laws on their side—and partly from the incredulity of men, who do not readily believe in new things until they have had a long experience of them.”

Source: Thomas L Friedman, Hot, Flat, and Crowded: Why the World Needs a Green Revolution—and How We Can Renew Our Global Future (London: Allen Lane, Penguin, 2008), 264.

A review of Hot, Flat, and Crowded is posted at Reviewing Books and Movies.

Dr Geoff Pound

Image: Thomas Friedman.