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Collapse By Jared Diamond


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Not nearly as well known as Guns, Germs and Steel, but it was excellent read.  It's been in my queue for a while and finally cracked it open.  Definitely worth a read.  He goes over different societies that have collapsed (Easter Island, Greenland) and ones that have survived.  Some are still around, but are making the same ecological mistakes as those that collapsed (we're looking at you Australia).  Some collapsed from environmental degradation, others from climate change or overpopulation and sometimes from a combination.  Definitely something that we should think about as the earth is being warmed and there seems to be little effort to do something until we are in total crisis mode (which seems to be a pattern in collapsed societies).  

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2 hours ago, Xerxes said:

@SalukiI never read “guns, germs steel etc” 

how did you find the book ?

 

When asked for book recommendations at the AGM or in talks, I've heard Charlie Munger mention "Guns, Germs and Steel" a few times and it was a good book, so when I saw that he had written another one, I thought it would be worth checking out. It's been in my very long queue for a while and when I saw that it was available as an audiobook I downloaded it and chipped away at it while walking the dogs, and gave the physical copy to a friend who also likes these kind of non-fiction books. 

 

I think, as Charlie says, you can learn a lot by inverting.  Looking at failures is a great way to avoid it.  "What I learned Losing a Million Dollars" and "The Big Short", "the Smartest Guys in the Room" and "Barbarians at the Gate" are great ways to look at the other side of the coin.  Most business books tout the successes (Apple, Amazon) but less than 10% look at the dark side of the moon:  failure.  

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I've read all of Jared Diamond's books.  They are always both entertaining and thought provoking.  It's been a while since I read this so I don't remember the details, but I remember speeding through it as this being one of those books that are hard to put down.  Not many non-fiction books are like that, he's an excellent writer.  One of the authors who's books I'll buy as soon as they are published.

 

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Guns, Germans, and Steel is entertaining but not without fairly strong critiques among anthropologists. Personally I enjoyed reading it, even if you don't agree with his central thesis, there's a lot of good historical anecdotes in it (that critics will say are cherry picked) that will keep you interested.

 

If you're interested in the topic, I can't recommend 1491 and 1493 by Charles Mann enough. They're both excellent works and cover some of the same ground as Guns, Germs, and Steel. Also very readable for a layperson but include a good deal more references to other works. A teaser of sorts for 1491 that Mann wrote for The Atlantic https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2002/03/1491/302445/

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1 hour ago, Pelagic said:

Guns, Germans, and Steel is entertaining but not without fairly strong critiques among anthropologists. Personally I enjoyed reading it, even if you don't agree with his central thesis, there's a lot of good historical anecdotes in it (that critics will say are cherry picked) that will keep you interested.

 

If you're interested in the topic, I can't recommend 1491 and 1493 by Charles Mann enough. They're both excellent works and cover some of the same ground as Guns, Germs, and Steel. Also very readable for a layperson but include a good deal more references to other works. A teaser of sorts for 1491 that Mann wrote for The Atlantic https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2002/03/1491/302445/

 

LOL

Are you trying to equate Germans with Germs?  Sorry, I'm going to go read that article now.

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12 hours ago, Xerxes said:

@SalukiI never read “guns, germs steel etc” 

how did you find the book ?

 

I loved the book. It is one of my favorites. I haven't read research papers arguing the opposite points to Diamond, but I'm sure he wasn't correct on every little thing. 

 

I'm reading 1491 and and am enjoying it. 1493 is on my list too. 

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3 hours ago, rkbabang said:

 

LOL

Are you trying to equate Germans with Germs?  Sorry, I'm going to go read that article now.

Hahaha autocorrect has a sense of humor to it sometimes.

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On 7/20/2022 at 6:34 PM, Pelagic said:

Guns, Germans, and Steel is entertaining but not without fairly strong critiques among anthropologists. Personally I enjoyed reading it, even if you don't agree with his central thesis, there's a lot of good historical anecdotes in it (that critics will say are cherry picked) that will keep you interested.

 

If you're interested in the topic, I can't recommend 1491 and 1493 by Charles Mann enough. They're both excellent works and cover some of the same ground as Guns, Germs, and Steel. Also very readable for a layperson but include a good deal more references to other works. A teaser of sorts for 1491 that Mann wrote for The Atlantic https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2002/03/1491/302445/

I highly recommend Guns, Germs and Steel. A great book with many novel (at least for me) ideas about why history went the way it did. the anecdotes about Papua are particularly interesting. I think it's also relevant if you transplant the ideas in economic and societal development.

Edited by Spekulatius
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