A globally renowned scholar and author, Jared Diamond finds answers to the massive “Why?”s in so-vast-you-don’t-notice patterns in history. His bestselling and Pulitzer-winning book‚ Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies looks at the reasons history turned out the way it did — why European societies conquered the rest of the world instead of the other way around. His latest book, Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed, asks nearly the opposite: Why do some civilizations fail?

An ecologist, evolutionary biologist and professor of geography and physiology at UCLA, Diamond takes an approach that goes beyond culture and into the impact it has on the environment. As Malcolm Gladwell observes, “Diamond’s distinction between social and biological survival is a critical one, because too often we blur the two.” Diamond’s ability to tackle daunting questions (and pose unsettling answers) in a straightforward voice may be reason enough to share his optimism that recognizing a problem paves the way for solving it.

Duration: 18:21

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