In Jared Diamond’s follow-up to the Pulitzer-Prize winning Guns, Germs and Steel, the author explores how climate change, the population explosion, and political discord create the conditions for the collapse of civilization.
Environmental damage, climate change, globalization, rapid population growth, and unwise political choices were all factors in the demise of societies around the world, but some found solutions and persisted. As in Guns, Germs, and Steel, Diamond traces the fundamental pattern of catastrophe, and weaves an all-encompassing global thesis through a series of fascinating historical-cultural narratives. Collapse moves 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. 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?
©2014 Jared Diamond (P)2014 Penguin Audio
Interesting and important subject, but I had a really hard time remaining interested in this book. I really enjoyed his other book, "Guns, Germs, and Steel". This one, however, seemed a lot more disjointed. The individual points he covers are interesting to learn, but I frequently struggled to see how they related to each other or to the theme as a whole. Towards the end it started getting very preachy (most of the book is not) and I found a few logical fallacies during his countering of opposing views (mostly "straw man"issues, like picking 2 outrageous false claims by an opponent and countering them against very mild invalid claims from members of his camp). Overall I would say I learned from the book, and it made me examine a few of my beliefs on the subject, but I would have a hard time recommending it to others.
Side note on the performance: overall, the reading was done well. Occasionally, there were major shifts in the tone and intensity of the reader's voice, from a higher pitch and higher intensity level to a softer, smoother voice. It was as though he were steadily getting more forceful in speaking, then ended for the day and resumed in a milder voice the next day. It didn't didn't really detract from the reading, but I was very aware of it each time it happened.
This is a really great story but there's a firehose of information thrust at you in every chapter. This was a much more difficult read than Jared Diamond's previous book "Guns, Germs and Steel". Nonetheless, it's an important book for the future of humanity.
Understanding the failures of the past can prevent us from repeating those same mistakes that doomed others. The Social Economic and Social Environmental reasoning for those failures remain the same no matter the time period or educational standing of our societys.
A very good synopsis of why and how societys collapse.
Good book, it was a very good look at historical societies that collapsed. Followed by how we as a global society are repeating similar mistakes. Worth a listen, just be ready to dedicate the time.
Great book, and great narrator. I liked Collapse better than Guns Germs and Steel. I think Diamond had some very convincing arguments in Collapse and the topic of societal collapse by environmental degradation and resource depletion is more relevant to the modern reader. Great book, I've read it twice now. Bravo to the narrator, really enjoyed listening to him.
Interesting concept, but just so much extra information. Definitely not worth the time needed to listen. Save yourself and listen to the reviews here!
Worth reading, however found it could have used much editing. It is unnecessarily long. Enjoyed learning about past societies in depth as relates to collapse. I expected more of an in-depth analysis of modern culture based on what we learned from the past. The author seemed caught in typical modern thinking and unable to see beyond his own cultural biases. There was much practical information to draw upon to draw your own conclusions if you can see through the bias.
I read the book in its entirety in print and enjoyed it enough to re"read" it... but the narration of this book was painful for me to listen to. The awkward phrasing, atonal timbre of his voice, and lack of any enthusiasm or sense of narrator interest in the subject in the reading made me quit the book less than a third of the way through. Very disappointed.
This work should be on the nightstand of every world leader and Fortune 500 CEO. We are loving on a tiny island in this giant universe and if we don't take care of our home, we may lose it.
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