Almost exactly a year ago, Tom Friedman was at Davos and wrapped up his talk with this:

The Arab Spring is failing not for lack of bandwidth, but for lack of human understanding that can only be forged when someone is late for breakfast, and you say, Thank you for being late.

It occasioned a measure of hilarity from the usual suspects: Felix Salmon said it “proves once again he is the emperor of the idiots,” while Matt Taibbi (whose review of The World is Flat is rightly the stuff of legend) wondered, “Was he sending some kind of signal to his alien commander?”

Feix later provided a bit of context:

Tom Friedman had just explained that he… is not on Facebook, and he knows who his friends are in real life, and he often meets his friends for breakfast. Being important CEO types, Tom Friedman’s friends are sometimes 15 minutes late for their breakfast meetings. And when that happens, Tom Friedman thanks his friend for being late, since his guest’s tardiness has given him 15 minutes of peace and quiet, during which he can think peacefully. Hence the title of the chapter.

What has any of this got to do with the Arab Spring? That, I’m afraid, I’m going to have to leave as an exercise for the reader. Because I have no idea.

Of course, I’m all for quiet time to think (and REST is all about that), so I can’t criticize Friedman’s basic point. However, I will note that the idea that time for reflection is something that is given to you by busy CEOs is at once humblebraggy and self-inflating— arguably a very Tom Friedman way of thinking about things.

The book is scheduled for release in October.