How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed

Ranked #1 in Mayan, Ranked #3 in Geographysee more rankings.

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...

Reviews and Recommendations

We've comprehensively compiled reviews of Collapse from the world's leading experts.

Bill Gates CEO/MicrosoftI found this to be an interesting follow-up to the excellent Guns, Germs, and Steel. It examines the downfall of some of history's greatest civilizations. (Source)

Matthew Yglesias I wanted to get a book on my list that is actually enjoyable to read, so not everything is quite so dry and dull as a narrative. I also wanted to include something that reflects the growing importance of environmental and ecological concerns to progressive politics in America. This is relatively new to the agenda – it’s only been in the last 30 to 35 years. But going forward, one of the most important things for progressives in the US, and all around the world, will be to prevent industrial economics from killing itself. (Source)

Stefan Lessard He should read this book I’m almost finished with. Jared Diamond is one of my favorite historical authors. (Source)

Tristram Stuart Agricultural expansion is one of the chief reasons we’re in the middle of a period of mass species extinction. (Source)

David Pilling This is a warning that societies can do this. We, as a human society, could do this if we’re not careful. If we stretch the earth beyond its planetary limits, we could ruin the soil, we could ruin the ocean, we could ruin the air, and we could drain the ocean of fish. He sees evidence all around that we’re doing precisely that. He sees a limit to technology to solve our problems. (Source)

Daniel Headrick I found Jared Diamond’s book Collapse more valuable in influencing my own thinking, because it shows the importance of culture in determining how humans deal with environmental threats. …….The author investigates the successes and failures of a number of civilisations which had reached a crisis point, and looks at why some succeeded and others hadn’t. (Source)

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