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Collapse: What Makes Jared Diamond Facsinating?

abstract:

He is one of those rare breeds of men who reached the pinnacle of accomplishments in the academic, scientific, literary community...

article:

January 30, 2005

Coming on the popular radar screen eight years ago with his sweeping book, Guns, Germs and Steel, Professor Jared Diamond is at it again.  This time with a sequel entitled, Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed, Viking (2005) His first book sold millions of copies, remains a popular success, was awarded the 1998 Pulitzer Prize for Non Fiction and brought numerous academic accolades to its author, and it continues to influence the scientific community with postmodern archeological thought. In Collapse, Diamond looks forward from his recognized Guns thesis, on how modern nations evolved to their current order, to speculate what factors and trends are going to cause Western culture to vanish, as past societies have done: the Mayans, the Anasazi.  The two books can be read separately but we recommend you read both. Seldom does literature and science achieve such balance in clarity, originality and persuasion, with pure reading enjoyment.

 

Diamond is Professor of Geography at the University of California, Los Angeles. Until recently he was Professor of Physiology at the UCLA School of Medicine. Recipient of a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship ("Genius Award"); research prizes of the American Physiological Society, National Geographic Society, and Zoological Society of San Diego; and many teaching awards and endowed public lectureships. In addition, he has been elected a member of all three of the leading national scientific/academic honorary societies (National Academy of Sciences, American Academy of Arts and Sciences, American Philosophical Society).

 

 

Links

Collapse: How the World Ends, NYT Book Review (you may need to register with NYT to read this article - it's free)

Princeton Lecture: Why Societies Collapse, transcript and audio

NPR Interview with the author

Why Did Human History Unfold Differently On Different Continents for the Past 13,000 Years? Reprinted on The Edge as part of the Third Culture - "...consists of those scientists and other thinkers in the empirical world who, through their work and expository writing, are taking the place of the traditional intellectual in rendering visible the deeper meanings of our lives, redefining who and what we are."

 

 

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