Jared Diamond is a professor of geography at the University of California, Los Angeles. He began his scientific career in physiology and expanded into evolutionary biology and biogeography. He has been elected to the National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the American Philosophical Society. Among Dr. Diamonds many awards are the National Medal of Science, the Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement, Japan's Cosmos Prize, a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship, and the Lewis Thomas Prize honoring the Scientist as Poet, presented by Rockefeller University. He has published more than two hundred articles and his book Guns, Germs, and Steel, was awarded the Pulitzer Prize.
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Jared Diamond discusses Collapse.
What inspired you to write this book? Was there a single
eureka! moment? Did you conceive of Collapse and Guns, Germs, and Steel
as companion volumes from the startor did the idea for Collapse surface
only after Guns was finished?
Ever since I was in my 20s and read Thor Heyerdahl's books about Easter Island, I became intrigued by the collapse of great societiesas are millions of other people. That interest has stayed with me over the last forty years, stimulated by visits to Maya ruins and Anasazi sites and by reading about other collapsed societies. I did not conceive of Guns, Germs, and Steel and Collapse as companion volumes from the start, but I had already written some magazine articles about collapses in the 1980s, and the idea for Collapse was percolating below the surface. After finishing Guns, Germs, and Steel, as soon as I came to think about what would be the subject of my next book, the answer became obvious: Collapse!
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