A good thing about the current pandemic is that I’ve had plenty of time to read. I'm currently updating a list of the best books I’ve come across so far. Please see my home page for the previous entries.
Item no. 13. Jared Diamond, once again. If “Guns, germs and steel” (see my home page for a dedicated chapter) was about the buildup of human societies, this is about the opposite problem: societal collapses (or barely avoided ones).
As the author himself explains: “I compare many past and present societies that differed with respect to environmental fragility, relations with neighbors, political institutions, and other input variables postulated to influence a society's stability. The output variables that I examine are collapse or survival, and form of the collapse if collapse does occur. By relating output variables to input variables, I aim to tease out the influence of possible input variables on collapses.”
Read this book and learn why Greenland’s Inuits made it whereas Vikings didn’t, why Easter Island's society collapsed while Tikopia’s one thrived on, why the Mayas and the Anasazis irrevocably damaged their environment though Tokugawa-era Japan and Germany managed to save it.
Learn, learn and learn, that’s what reading Jared Diamond is all about.