Allison Janney's Bookshelf
By Thomas L. Friedman
After 9/11, I realized I didn't understand enough about Mideast politics. When I don't know something, I start asking people, "Who should I read?" Bradley Whitford, who played Josh on The West Wing, told me to look at Thomas Friedman's columns in The New York Times, which I did, and when this book came out, I knew I wanted to own it. I'm interested in the way Friedman frames some of the geopolitical events of today as a conflict between superpowers and what he calls "super-empowered individuals"—like Osama bin Laden. Some of these people, he writes, "are quite angry, some of them quite wonderful—but all of them are now able to act much more directly…on the world's stage." That's an incredibly frightening proposition, but Friedman's a knowledgeable man who spells things out in a way that I can follow.