Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed

Collapse How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed 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

  • Title: Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed
  • Author: Jared Diamond
  • ISBN: 9780143036555
  • Page: 387
  • Format: Paperback
  • 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 In his million copy bestseller Guns, Germs, and Steel, Jared Diamond examined how andwhy Western civilizations developed the technologies and immunities thBrilliant, 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 In his million copy bestseller Guns, Germs, and Steel, Jared Diamond examined how andwhy Western civilizations developed the technologies and immunities that allowed them to dominate much of the world Now in this brilliant companion volume, Diamond probes the other side of the equation What caused some of the great civilizations of the past to collapse into ruin, and what can we learn from their fates As in Guns, Germs, and Steel, Diamond weaves an all encompassing global thesis through a series of fascinating historical cultural narratives Moving 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, Diamond traces the fundamental pattern of catastrophe Environmental damage, climate change, rapid population growth, and unwise political choices were all factors in the demise of these societies, but other societies found solutions and persisted 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

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    One thought on “Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed

    1. Manny

      Jared Diamond looks at several societies that have collapsed as a result of misusing their natural resources, plus a couple (Tokugawa period Japan is the star example) that miraculously managed to pull back from the brink. At the end, he also talks about some present-day cases where we still don't know what will happen. The one my thoughts keep returning to is medieval Greenland, which Diamond discusses in a long and detailed chapter. Settled in the 11th century by Vikings originally from Norway [...]

    2. Lyn

      Fascinating work by the same author who won a Pulitzer prize for Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies. This exhaustive study in Malthusian economics as applied to several societies in history that have failed, such as the Easter Islanders and Greenland Norse, details the thematic traits common to each example. His chapter on Easter Island made me think of Thor Heyerdahl's work there.Most notably is how deforestation and imprudent population control applies to modern societies in [...]

    3. Saleh MoonWalker

      Onvan : Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed - Nevisande : Jared Diamond - ISBN : 143036556 - ISBN13 : 9780143036555 - Dar 608 Safhe - Saal e Chap : 2004

    4. Kenghis Khan

      The Pulitzer-prize winning "Guns, Germs and Steel" by this dude forever changed the way I look at history. And believe me, I am a history buff of sorts so this means a lot. Unfortunately, "Collapse" fails to measure up to that classic.The real problem with Collapse isn't the research that goes into the thesis, or even the soundness of the thesis itself (though there are some qualms I have about how politically unstable Mongolia is or basing his analysis of cod fisheries on a single popular accun [...]

    5. Will Byrnes

      This is a major work. Diamond looks in detail at the factors at play in the demise of civilizations in human history, using a wide range of examples. He offers a framework in which to structure the analysis and looks in great detail at possible (and in many cases certain) reasons why various societies collapsed. He is not a one-note analyst. All problems do not fit the same mold. There is considerable nuance and common sense brought to bear on this examination. Foolishness plays a part, greed, c [...]

    6. Gaff

      I considered giving this book 4 instead of 5 stars simply because it can be over-dense in its detail and the style can be rather dry - but then I figured that says more about my stamina and laziness than about the quality of the book, so the book gets 5 and I get a 4 for effort. We're all winners.So despite the headline-grabbing title, the author Jared Diamond - a cross between an Amish garden gnome and avuncular Glastonbury festival supremo if you go by his picture - tries its darndest to avoid [...]

    7. Michael

      The halfway point review:One question I've been wrestling with as I read, as I watch these societies move slightly past sustainability, as I read about societal collapse and the squandering of resources by the wealthy and then the inevitable cannibalism that always seems to show up in the last act, I keep asking myself how the environment became a "political issue." There's no question that environmental resources aren't infinite, yet it seems like the majority of people…or at least the loudes [...]

    8. فهد الفهد

      الانهيار كنت قد قرأت كتاب جاريد دايموند والذي حصل على جائزة البوليتزر (أسلحة، جراثيم وفولاذ) قبل سنوات، وأعجبت به كثيراً، كانت دراسة جريئة تحاول فهم الأسباب البيئية الكامنة وراء صعود حضارات معينة وتفوقها على حضارات أخرى. في هذا الكتاب يعكس دايموند الوضع ويحاول دراسة كيف تتد [...]

    9. Ryan

      In Collapse, Jared Diamond draws our attention to the following problems, which have "plagued" humanity throughout history.1. Deforestation and loss of habitat2. Overhunting3. Overfishing4. Soil degradation5. Water management problems6. Population growth7. Increased per capita impact of people8. Impact of non-native speciesAnd now we face four more:9. Human-caused climate change10. The build up toxic waste11. We're approaching the limits of the Earth's photosynthetic capacity12. Energy shortages [...]

    10. Sebastien

      This is an exhaustive and exhausting read. Should’ve been tightened up and trimmed down, not only did I get tired of the meandering but I got worn down from getting machine-gunned with an avalanche of what I considered often superfluous details. Still, I thought it was very good, the historical examples of collapse (and also the examples of societies that successfully changed to avoid disaster) were interesting. It put the contemporary analysis/problems we face in perspective. I remember readi [...]

    11. Conrad

      Guns, Germs and Steel occasionally felt like monday morning quarterbacking, but Collapse is superb. In GG&S, Diamond tried to explain how technologies that evolved in some places did not in others, how some communities thrived due to excess food and more advanced agriculture, while others, perpetually on the verge of starvation, had to devote all of their time to dealing with that and thus didn't have time for building the Parthenon. The argument was not airtight - his notion of what constit [...]

    12. Felicia

      So I was in Belize for the holiday and became fascinated with all the Mayan ruins I visited. I had been to Copan in Honduras years ago, but was reminded of the great glory of this civilization, and the controversial collapse that happened to disperse people from these great structures around 900 AD.I love Guns Germs and Steel more than anything, it changed how I look at history and people and society, so I dug into this one, particularly the Mayan part, with great excitement. And it doesn't disa [...]

    13. Charlie George

      [2011 Update: I am re-reading this after not quite 2 years. I have come to regard this book as the best non-fiction I've had the pleasure of reading, and recommend it emphatically if you have an interest in any of the subjects in which I have it categorized on my shelves.]A masterwork, better even than Mr. Diamond's Pulitzer-winning Guns, Germs and Steel. Collapse bridges the gap between anthropology and environmentalism, and critically connects each with our own welfare, both collectively and a [...]

    14. Richard

      Although I only gave this book three stars, I can recommend it a little bit over that. I found it interesting, but not quite as compelling as I might have if I wasn’t already familiar with some parts of the story. I took graduate classes in International Relations, specializing in China as well as international political economy, so I didn’t find any surprises in the abstract background to Collapse.Some very intriguing parts were the stories of collapse of vanished societies, as many have no [...]

    15. Helga Mohammed el-Salami

      The esteemed Jared Diamond, author of one of the most insightful and profound books of the previous decade: Guns Germs and Steel, tried to break the wave of his success on Collapse, a book about the failure of societies due to a laundry-list of (mostly environmental) issues. It’s too soon to render a verdict on the bearded Professor (unlike Paul Ehrlich and Rachel Carson) since he wisely chose topics which cannot be gauged within a human lifetime but the book itself was a real steaming pile of [...]

    16. Ram

      A book about environment, and how humans are exhausting the planets resources.The author describes the following topics which were the main reason or contributed to the fall of societies in the past:Deforestation and habitat destructionsSoil problems (erosion, salinization, and soil fertility losses)Water management problemsOverhuntingOverfishingEffects of introduced species on native speciesOverpopulationIncreased per-capita impact of peopleIn addition to this, the following topics did not exis [...]

    17. Judy

      Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed succeeds in educating the reader about components of previous societies that led to their collapses and how those same components present themselves in today's global society. Lest anyone thinks this creates a negative, somber doomsday of a book, it doesn't. Diamond writes positively and offers much hope. I appreciated his approach to controversial subjects such as abortion used as a method to keep population down. He doesn't resort to the typica [...]

    18. Buck

      From now on, every fledgling civilization should be issued with a little pamphlet outlining the dangers of deforestation. On the cover, there'd be a picture of a toppled Easter Island statue, with the caption, "Learn from our mistakes: if you chop down all your trees, your society will expire in an orgy of cannibalism. Also, you might want to go easy on the monoliths."Collapse is a sobering book, but I'm just jaded enough that after about the tenth analysis of pollen readings from core samples, [...]

    19. Lilo Abernathy

      If you care about the world and the survival of the human race, then you must read this book. Period. Buy it now. It will teach you more than you ever thought possible in one book. You will look at the world differently. It will expand your mind.- LiloAuthor of The Light Who ShinesAnd just to be technically correct, this is not a review. It is a recommendation.

    20. Radiantflux

      13th book for 2018.This is a big, detailed book that covers a lot of ground. To get a couple of things out of the way: it's not a repeat of Diamond's earlier book Guns, Germs, Steel; and it's not Diamond arguing for some sort of environmental determinism. Diamond believes that societal outcomes are related to three main factors:Environment + Social Structures + Technology = Societal OutcomeThis equation is misleading, as the factors interact (eg, environment may limit trade, which then limits th [...]

    21. Brian

      This is a difficult book to give one rating to. Some parts of it deserve four or five stars, some parts deserve one or two. Generally, Collapse lacks the consistency of Diamond's most well known book, Guns, Germs and Steel. Where Guns, Germs and Steel is nearly intuitive in the simpleness but universal applicability of its principles, Collapse is episodic and fractured. Diamond's basic thesis is that societies in ecologically fragile environments "choose" to succeed or fail based on how willing [...]

    22. Jeanette"Astute Crabbist"

      I listened to the abridged audio version of this book. Some of the discs were damaged, and I have no idea what I missed, so I won't rate the book. I wanted to listen to the full-length audio version, but I can't stand that reader's style. You'd have to put a firecracker up his nose to get him to put any inflection in his voice. (Don't forget to light the firecracker. An unlit one would just make him sound even more nasally challenged.)A lot of what was in this book I already knew from my degree [...]

    23. Jessica

      I did read at least half of this book. The section on Easter Island is one of the most memorable things I've read in the past few years, and I'd recommend it to anyone.This book goes on my guilt shelf because shortly after he got to China, I got too depressed to continue. It's also a bit heavy (literally) for subway reading, and returning to New York from California with it combined with the prospect of learning about China's impact on the environment was just too much for this reader. So Collap [...]

    24. Amari

      Extraordinary in scope. Makes the news far more interesting even than it already was. However, I withhold star 5 because someone should have run the manuscript by me. Many awkward sentences. Too many sentences that aren't, quite. Or that aren't by a long shot. Penguin? Editors? Anyone? Such a noble and otherwise impressive undertaking deserves better care before reaching the public. But yes. A grand and very fine book indeed.

    25. Cheri

      A fascinating look at how different societies have failed, I read this many years ago, but just noticed that Jared Diamond has a new book coming out which reminded me. Years later and I still think of some of the examples from time to time. While this is not a quick or easy read, it was so compelling I never put it down for very long.

    26. Clif

      I've just completed a second reading of this exemplary book of science writing. It's no joke to say I am doubly impressed.Jared Diamond shows how careful reasoning can bring understanding while his love of the scientific investigative process pulls the reader into intimate contact with distant places and times that offer lessons for today. While his Guns, Germs and Steel is written in the same close analytical style, Collapse is the book Diamond was born to write.His method investigates both fai [...]

    27. Quo

      Jared Diamond's non-fiction work Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail & Succeed quite definitely has an exceedingly broad scope, attempting to discern the variables that cause a country or a specific geographic landscape to survive or to encounter a gradual or a precipitous decline. The areas examined initially may not appear to have much in common but the author focuses on the ways in which various stresses occur within a group of people and their responses to whatever imperils their cont [...]

    28. Barb Middleton

      I collapsed after reading this. What a slog. Good, but dense, detailed, and darn long. I don't particularly care for Jared Diamond's writing style. He's detailed, scholarly, and repetitive. There is so much information I had to take frequent breaks and snatch some quick reads in-between chapters. I almost abandoned it a few times but then I'd find a different chapter interesting and get hooked again. Diamond has solid arguments for explaining why societies collapse and while fascinating, he's ov [...]

    29. Arminius

      This book explains reasons why a society may collapse or may succeed. It reviews great Empires that have vanished due to mistakes they made. Jared Diamond based the reasons for collapse on a five point framework. The first is the environmental damage a country has produced. Many societies had cut down all their trees to build homes, heat homes and build tools. However, they either lacked the knowledge or did not consider to seed new trees to replace the old ones. Tree loss not only caused erosio [...]

    30. Richard

      The thesis here is that the success or failure of any culture depends upon five factors:Climate change,Environmental preservation or degradation,The presence of friendly external trade partners,The presence of external enemies, and finally,That society's ability and willingness to respond to the previous four factors.To develop his theory, Diamond discusses about a dozen different societies, past and present, which had experienced various combinations of troubles with the first four factors, and [...]

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