We human beings share 98 percent of our genes with chimpanzees. Yet humans are the dominant species on the planet - having founded civilizations and religions, developed intricate and diverse forms of communication, learned science, built cities, and created breathtaking works of art - while chimps remain animals concerned primarily with the basic necessities of survival. What is it about that two percent difference in DNA that has created such a divergence between evolutionary cousins?
In this fascinating, provocative, passionate, funny, endlessly entertaining work, renowned Pulitzer Prize-winning author and scientist Jared Diamond explores how the extraordinary human animal, in a remarkably short time, developed the capacity to rule the world...and the means to irrevocably destroy it.
©2006 Jared Diamond (P)2012 Random House Audio
As a huge Jared Diamond fan I had probably unconsciously made my mind up about this book before I read a single page. It is an older book, and that was particularly irksome to me at several points when I thought to myself "I could have learned and known all this in 1992". If you have read other works by Jared Diamond there is some overlap. The beginnings of 'Guns germs and steel" as well as 'Collapse' are here. Those ideas each get about a chapter and a half toward the end. For some that may be repetitive, but there is plenty not covered in his other other books, such as the genetics of aging and mate selection. The narration is great, nothing to distract from the book itself. Bottom line if you like Jared Diamond you won't be disappointed.
Diamond's original and well documented points of view.
Scientific interest tied to human future.
I was very much impressed by biocide in islands and the Americas due to humankind.
Meet your close relatives and start thinking.
I am an English teacher in China and can now read and write some Chinese.I have been to 13 countries on 4 continents.I am an avid audiophile
The author is a very talented and insightful writer due to his extensive knowledge about a myriad of subjects and his frequent first hand research of ancient cultures,modern man and animals.For fans of environmental protection and preservation of our resources he has a lot to say.There are plenty of people here who don't believe in global warming or man's eventual demise,but I think he has proven how man,despite his talent for language and his ability to stand upright and do amazing things with his hands,is not really that far removed from his ape ancestors.The evolution from ape to man took quite a long time and the resulting characteristics that differentiate man from ape are well substantiated.He also points out how man has many shortcomings compared to his animal counterparts,such as elephants generating up to six sets of teeth in a life time or lizards that can regrow lost tails for instance.Furthermore,man's ability to proliferate and reproduce may not be as good as a rabbits or rats,but we have done so much to out live nearly every other species that we are becoming the planet's number one danger.
I was really interested in reading/listening to a book about how evolutionary biology explains current human behavior... I think this book does address the topic but I wished it organized the supporting data more clearly and was less glib about the conclusions reached.
It is clear the author is well versed in the topic. However his extrapolations seemed rather extreme at times - in one case going from an example of a friend he has to a statement regarding general mate selection preference for all humans...
It could be that his general conclusions are well supported in other studies he did not cite or cited elsewhere in the book, but the way the material is presented made the conclusions seem very capricious… As a result, reading the book feels very uncomfortable as I feel a lot of facts are missing...
After having read Guns, Germs and Steal as well as Collapse I decided to read this earlier work. I was not disappointed.
Yes, I recommend this book all the time! Dr. Diamonds observations on the world around us are simple to understand.
Explanations on the differences between chimps and their next closest animal kingdom relative (which is us, humans).
He has a very pleasant and compelling voice.
I read and love all of Dr. Diamonds books. This one doesn't disappoint.
Gripping, persuasive, well-researched, and compellingly woven. Why don't we teach science this way in grade school? It read as your favorite professor in college was providing you a front work lecture full of almost everything you've ever wondered about in evolutionary biology, the missing link - not any more, species extinction and even a moving case for conservation... we know why the Neanderthals became extinct so quickly after cromagnon entered the scene and hasn't much changed in the nature of man since. This story contains wonder love sex tragedy murder and hope! Love it.... The last third was a bit more technical and not in my sweet spot as much as say why chimps have larger testes than man and man larger than a gorilla or why rather than the Frostian 2, 5 roads diverged in a wood and we became the dominant species on earth, but it was no less insightful. Why have we only been able to domesticate not tame - there is a difference, but domesticate such a few large mammal species? Zebras? Aren't they just striped horses? Not so fast.... and is more to do with family structure than temperament.... Love it...
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