Jared Diamond: Professor

 

Jared Diamond is a professor of geography and physiology at the University of California, Los Angeles.  He is a MacArthur Fellow, winner of the Pulitzer Prize, and was awarded the National Medal of Science.

He is author of the books:

  • Guns, Germs and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies
  • Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed

“[A] globally renowned scholar and author, Jared Diamond finds answers to the massive “Why?”s in so-vast-you-don’t-notice patterns in history. His bestselling and Pulitzer-winning book Guns, Germs and Steel looks at the reasons history turned out the way it did — why European societies conquered the rest of the world instead of the other way around. His latest book, Collapse, asks nearly the opposite: Why do some civilizations fail?

“An ecologist, evolutionary biologist and professor of geography and physiology at UCLA, Diamond takes an approach that goes beyond culture and into the impact it has on the environment. As Malcolm Gladwell observes, “Diamond’s distinction between social and biological survival is a critical one, because too often we blur the two.” Diamond’s ability to tackle daunting questions (and pose unsettling answers) in a straightforward voice may be reason enough to share his optimism that recognizing a problem paves the way for solving it.”

See Jared Diamond’s Bio on TED.com.

 

Jared Diamond on Why Societies Collapse:

 

 

Jared Diamond discusses his book, Collapse, with Charlie Rose:

 

 

 

“In this “artful, informative, and delightful” (William H. McNeill, New York Review of Books) book, Jared Diamond convincingly argues that geographical and environmental factors shaped the modern world. Societies that had had a head start in food production advanced beyond the hunter-gatherer stage, and then developed religion –as well as nasty germs and potent weapons of war –and adventured on sea and land to conquer and decimate preliterate cultures. A major advance in our understanding of human societies, Guns, Germs, and Steel chronicles the way that the modern world came to be and stunningly dismantles racially based theories of human history. Winner of the Pulitzer Prize, the Phi Beta Kappa Award in Science, the Rhone-Poulenc Prize, and the Commonwealth club of California’s Gold Medal.”

Guns, Germs and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies (Norton, 1999)

 

 

 

“The Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Guns, Germs, and Steel examines the downfall of some of history’s greatest civilizations.  In his million-copy bestseller Guns, Germs, and Steel, Jared Diamond examined how and why Western civilizations developed the technologies and immunities that allowed them to dominate much of the world. Now in this brilliant companion volume, Diamond probes the other side of the equation: What caused some of the great civilizations of the past to collapse into ruin, and what can we learn from their fates?  As in Guns, Germs, and Steel, Diamond weaves an all-encompassing global thesis through a series of fascinating historical-cultural narratives. Moving from the Polynesian cultures on Easter Island to the flourishing American civilizations of the Anasazi and the Maya and finally to the doomed Viking colony on Greenland, Diamond traces the fundamental pattern of catastrophe. Environmental damage, climate change, rapid population growth, and unwise political choices were all factors in the demise of these societies, but other societies found solutions and persisted. Similar problems face us today and have already brought disaster to Rwanda and Haiti, even as China and Australia are trying to cope in innovative ways. Despite our own society’s apparently inexhaustible wealth and unrivaled political power, ominous warning signs have begun to emerge even in ecologically robust areas like Montana.  Brilliant, illuminating, and immensely absorbing, Collapse is destined to take its place as one of the essential books of our time, raising the urgent question: How can our world best avoid committing ecological suicide?”

Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed (Penguin, 2004)