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Friedman lectures Lahey, students at Quinnipiac
Pulitzer Prize-Winning New York Times Columnist Thomas Friedman lectured Wednesday night in the Recreation Center to students and guests on America’s biggest problem today: not getting “the word,” which President John Lahey seemed to not get either.
“The word” is the biggest problem in America: trying to create new things when America can’t afford it, Friedman explained. America is always fixing stuff and starting stuff, continued Friedman, including Quinnipiac University.
“I spoke to [President Lahey] and he said you’re building a medical school, I said you didn’t get ‘the word,’ Mr. President?” joked Friedman.
“The world is full of people too dumb to quit,” Friedman said.
President Lahey was laughing along with the audience to Friedman’s comment.
“I’m one of the kinds of people he wants I guess,” Lahey joked.
Lahey defended the plan of building a new medical school, relating it back to Friedman’s message of needing to re-invent.
“I think the medical school is going to enhance the university,” Lahey said. “If anything, think of his other messages. You have to be creative, you have to have a vision, you have to do something extra.
“Leaders need to be focused on the future. One thing I think leaders need to do is not be so obsessed with the president. We need to look at the future, where the future opportunities are.”
Friedman discussed his new book with co-author Michael Mandelbaum “That Used to Be Us: How America Fell Behind in the World It Invented and How We Can Come Back.”
Friedman discussed his opinion on what America’s biggest challenges are and why they are yet to be effectively solved.
Friedman said one of America’s biggest challenges is how it responds to the quickening pace of the information technology revolution and globalization because it affects every school, employer and young person looking for a job.
There is “too much going on online and not in the real world,” Friedman said. “Technology is a
great facilitator, not a substitution.”
Hyper-connection is collapsing the skills for routine jobs thus it’s not enough to be a creator but to be a creative creator, Friedman said.
“Employers are looking for people who can re-invent and re-engineer their job,” Friedman said. “[You] can’t do things on a routine basis.”
The audience included many students who were required to attend by their professors, while some attended for their own pleasure.
“I really enjoyed it,” said Marissa St. Germain, a senior physical therapy major. “It was very informative and I liked that he connected current issues to things that are going on because I feel like sometimes in college I’m in a little bubble.
“It doesn’t apply to me like in the business and communications sense,” St. Germain said, “but the part that I can work hard as a student now so that I can be the best PT I can be really hit home.”
America had a formula for success as a growing country of educating people, having the best telecommunication, being open to immigrants, having the best rules and the most government funded research, Friedman said. America must re-energize and re-invest in its old formula for success to cut spending and raise revenue and invest, he continued.
A way Friedman suggests for the younger generation to remove themselves from the challenge of this IT revolution is to “get out of Facebook and get into somebody’s face.”