Thomas Friedman discovers the Great Acceleration

Thomas Friedman is the dean of the New York Times comment pages and multi-million-selling author of The World is Flat - and his new book, Thank You For Being Late, takes as its topic the way in which the world is getting faster.

I've known about Friedman's interest in this topic since roughly the point I was finishing up the first draft of The Great Acceleration (though I always expected him to call it The World is Fast). But it's still strange to have someone else's work overlap with your own - to see what ideas you have in common and where you diverge.

I've reviewed the Friedman book for the Times Literary Supplement this week - if you've read both, I'd be fascinated to know what you think.

And just a reminder to anyone still deciding on their Christmas shopping - The Great Acceleration makes a wonderful present for anyone interested in how the world is changing (especially if they're too busy to shop for themselves). Buy it here.

'The Great Acceleration' picks up speed...

It's a week to go until 'The Great Acceleration' hits the shops, and it's already getting some encouraging attention.

It started last Monday with an appearance on 'Start the Week' with Andrew Marr to discuss whether faster really is better - you can listen to the episode again online, or download the podcast. I also went on Jo Good's show on BBC Radio London to talk about the pressures of city living.

The book's also been the subject of a news story in the Times, which was picked up by the Mail. Rosie Millard wrote about my thesis in the final print edition of the Independent - and I appeared in the Sunday Times news review to explain why life really is getting faster.

The scariest thing, however, was the appearance of the first review - by Daniel Finkelstein in the Times. Luckily for me, he loved it, calling the book 'excellent' and saying: 'It’s rare to go for a whole paragraph of this book without learning something unexpected, funny or disturbing.' The Times also made it their book of the week.

I mention all this not to boast (well, a little), nor to persuade you to buy the book (well, actually...). It's more that I've spent several years wrestling with these ideas, hoping that other people would find them even half as fascinating as I did. It's really, really gratifying that they seem to be doing so.

If you want to find out what the fuss is about, you can pre-order the book via the box elsewhere on the page, or via this link

Start the Week - 'Is Faster Better?'

UPDATE: The episode's now been aired. You can listen again here

I'll be appearing on 'Start the Week' with Andrew Marr tomorrow morning, in the first stage of the publicity campaign for 'The Great Acceleration'. The topic is 'Is Faster Better?', and the panel includes Carl Honoré (author of 'In Praise of Slow' and 'The Slow Fix'), Prof Steve Jones (veteran science writer and author of 'No Need for Geniuses', about scientists and the French Revolution) and Sarah Dunant (author, critic and general literary/historical expert).

This is, obviously, mildly terrifying, but I'm looking forward to the discussion. I also gave my first talk about the book over the weekend, at the Cambridge Union - it was part of 'ThinkCon', which in turn was part of the Cambridge Science Festival. There was a decent, interested crowd and I hope I made some interesting points. I also sold my very first copy of the book. To my brother-in-law. Baby steps, eh?