That Used to Be Us

  • by Thomas L. Friedman, Michael Mandelbaum
  • Narrated by Jason Culp
  • 7 hrs and 49 mins
  • Abridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

America has a huge problem. It faces four major challenges, on which its future depends, and it is failing to meet them. In That Used to Be Us, Thomas L. Friedman, one of our most influential columnists, and Michael Mandelbaum, one of our leading foreign policy thinkers, analyze those challenges - globalization, the revolution in information technology, the nation’s chronic deficits, and its pattern of energy consumption - and spell out what we need to do now to rediscover America and rise to this moment.
They explain how the end of the cold war blinded the nation to the need to address these issues. They show how our history, when properly understood, provides the key to addressing them, and explain how the paralysis of our political system and the erosion of key American values have made it impossible for us to carry out the policies the country needs. They offer a way out of the trap into which the country has fallen, which includes the rediscovery of some of our most valuable traditions and the creation of a new, third-party movement.
That Used to Be Us is both a searching exploration of the American condition today and a rousing manifesto for American renewal. "As we were writing this book," Friedman and Mandelbaum explain, "we found that when we shared the title with people, they would often nod ruefully and ask: 'But does it have a happy ending?' Our answer is that we can write a happy ending, but it is up to the country - to all of us - to determine whether it is fiction or nonfiction. We need to study harder, save more, spend less, invest wisely, and get back to the formula that made us successful as a country in every previous historical turn. What we need is not novel or foreign, but values, priorities, and practices embedded in our history and culture, applied time and again to propel us forward as a country. That is all part of our past. That used to be us and can be again - if we will it."


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful


What did you love best about That Used to Be Us?

I really liked this book as it puts in perspective how the world has changed to make more competetive people and how e US has not been keeping up. An eye opener for many and a reality check for all!

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- Alejandro

His comparisons are faulty and the biased

This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

I've enjoyed his previous books but he reaches a bit too far to justify his conclusions. He hasn't convinced me of his positions. China has advantages (low litigation and regulation among them) but America isn't dead either. When we rely on stealing essential-new technology from China instead developing them then I'll be as worried as Tom.

What do you think your next listen will be?


Did the narration match the pace of the story?

Narration was fine.

What character would you cut from That Used to Be Us?

Tom's convoluted dread.

Any additional comments?

Enjoy one of his older books.

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- kelly

Book Details

  • Release Date: 09-05-2011
  • Publisher: Macmillan Audio