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Thriving in the Age of Acceleration

Thomas Friedman | 1:25:14


 How lovely to see everyone here. Um, nice of you to come. Ladies and gents. Normally, I suppose we would kick off an evening like this with an introduction that broadly said “Thomas Friedman is a three times Pulitzer Prize winner. He's described as America's most influential columnist, and he's a best-selling author as well”, but as befits the time.


So I think it's better for me just to say that we've got the best speaker. He's fantastic. Thank you. You'll never hear a better speaker than this. Thank you. He's genuinely; he's the best. The others were losers. They're sad. They're dead now. And this building has never been fuller. We've never seen a bigger crowd.


I think, actually, that last point is probably true. Um, it's fantastic to see so many here. Tom has just written a book called “Thank You for Being Late”, and we're gonna dive straight in,Tom, and get you to explain what the title means and what your premise is. Well, first of all, I mean, thank you, uh, for, uh, sharing the stage and, um, it's a treat to be here with you and, uh, and to Intelligence Square.


And thank you all for coming out. Uh, this is just, uh, it's wonderful. Uh, the, the book is called Thank You for Being Late - an Optimist Guide to Thriving in The Age of Accelerations. Uh, and the title actually comes from meeting people for breakfast in Washington, DC over the years and, um, uh, where I live.

And, uh, every once in a while, someone would come 10, 15 minutes late and they'd say, uh, Tom, I'm really sorry, it’s the weather, the traffic, the subway, the dog? Get my homework? And, um, uh, three years ago, uh, one of them, Peter Corelle did that, and I, I just spontaneously said to him, “actually, Peter, thank you for being late because you were late”; I've been dropping on their conversation. Fascinating. Uh, I've been people watching the lobby. Fantastic. And most of all, I just connected two ideas I've been struggling with for a month. So thank you for being late”. Well, people started to get into it. They'd say, “well, you're welcome”. Uh, because they understood I was actually giving them permission to, to pause, to, to stop and reflect.


And what triggered the book was when I paused to engage with someone I wouldn't normally engage with. I live in Bethesda, Maryland, and I, um, take the subway to work in downtown Washington, DC uh, once a week or so and three years ago I did that. I take the, I drive to the Bethesda Hyatt and I park in the public parking garage beneath the Hyatt, and I take the red line into DC and I did that and came back at the end of the day, had my time stamped ticket, got in my car.

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