Contrary to the Minnesota stereotype, there’s nothing passive about Thomas Friedman’s aggressive views, especially when it comes to foreign and domestic affairs. And his readers wouldn’t have it any other way. Friedman’s hard-hitting commentary in The New York Times has earned him three Pulitzers to date, while all of his books (including the smash hit, The World Is Flat) have won awards and topped bestseller lists the world over. This month, he adds another manifesto to the library: Hot, Flat and Crowded: Why We Need a Green Revolution—and How It Can Renew America.

When Ensia caught up with the St. Louis Park native back in June, he was busy finalizing his new book. He was also juggling jet lag and a column deadline, but he still made our 15-minute phone call count.