I highly recommend Collapse. Jared Diamond delivers honesty, pessimism, and optimism when describing societies faced with problems in the present and the past. I hope that this book reaches a lot of people who do not know (but wish to know) how our collective actions can make or break our environment, and therefore our ultimate survival.
A grim, riveting and, at times, disturbing look at how environmental factors can destabilize society, this book urges us to learn from history in order to preserve ourselves and our future. I only wish it had been unabridged.
I greatly feared starting this book. Quite frankly, I was worried I would feel thoroughly hopeless after the reading. I was pleasantly surprised by the author's engaging overview of past cultures, their mistakes and the outcomes.
I appreciated the manner in which the author built our understanding of current peril while still offering hope for change. It is a galvanizing read.
I agreed with everything Jared Diamond had to say about how societies collapse and how those relate to the fate of modern global and in particular US society. But I have a feeling that some of the chains of logic he constructed might be disputable, and I would like to hear the other side. There must be some reason the bad processes he talks about continue. Either they aren't that bad or there is a counter-argument that is very compelling. I would have liked to have been allowed to be exposed to that argument. For example, the de-forestation of Easter Island had to become an issue for the islanders well before it became irreversible. Why didn't they seek to do something about it. That would be the interesting topic to explore, because that is precisely where our society is now. We know we are on a path to destruction, why don't we travel another path?
This book was an unremarkable diatribe about the impending end of civilization due to our lack of environmental stewardship. It was such a slog. The author pummels you with item after item describing the impending end of our ecosystems, often with no hope that we can stop it. The book is a luddites delight, cataloguing the evils of mining, chemicals, manufacturing and commercial agriculture; pretty much what sustains modern life. As usual, the author offers no viable alternatives or solutions, just an over done word canvass of our impending demise. I so wish he had said something useful.
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It should have been called "Collapse of some Pacific Islands and the Deforestation of a handful of other Places". That would be a much more descriptive title, but one less likely to sell books. I certainly would not have wasted the money on it if that had been it. Diamond really "phoned it in" on this one, which is sad. He is a real talent, or has been in the past, but this book is not in the class of "Guns, Germs and Steel".
This is a great listen, entertaining and very informative. It does kind of descend into preaching about the environment at the end, but it is preaching with point.
There are some interesting sections of this book, but it goes on and on in some sections without providing much insight or information. Could have been half the length to cover the topics. If you liked guns, germs and steel you may not like this one at all. A dissappointment.
You can tell this guy is a big environmental apocalyptic. His points no doubt are interesting and well researched but he always comes to the conclusion that it is environmental damage that leads to collapse. Maybe early civilizations didn't have the technology or education to overcome these problems? Although he disputes that as well saying we should never think technology will solve our worries because it only creates more unforseen problems.
He doesn't mention much about the effects of intellectuals and leaders in early civilizations either. You can't expect any population to survive with a uneducated mass that depends on the gods or mystical leaders for crops and rain.
I also think he completely ignores modern civilizations problems. In the Middle East and Africa, the majority of people are uneducated and poor. These people could care less about their environment so of course they are going to wreck them. What keeps them in this state? It is there leaders, government or dictators. Their decisions, corruption and inaction wreak havoc on societies. How can you expect any socialist, communist or theocratic philosophy to sustain a population? Those people are completely dependent on their leaders and if the leaders are inept, they are doomed to fail.
Interesting book but had to keep the caffiene pumping to get through it.
Brings very interesting ideas to how the world has been shaped. He cleary explains how the experiences and problems of past socities are directly related to today.