A Book A Week Challenge – Week 27

“Our whole universe was in a hot dense state,
Then nearly fourteen billion years ago expansion started. Wait…
The Earth began to cool,
The autotrophs began to drool,
Neanderthals developed tools,
We built a wall (we built the pyramids),
Math, science, history, unraveling the mystery,
That all started with the big bang (Bang)!”

The theme of famous Television sitcom “Big Bang Theory” goes like this. Yes, truly the evolution of species has transpired many historical events with few species surviving and few became extinct. The survived species were regarded to as “the fittest” in Darwin’s words and in order to survive, these species had to “adapt and evolve”. Humans (Homo Sapiens) thus evolved to be most advanced species.

“Everything is not well until it’s not over” applies perfectly for the evolution lifecycle as Humans emerged to be the most “fittest and advanced” species then came the destruction of his surroundings thus followed “Collapse” of few societies. Jared Diamond, one of my favorite non-fiction authors of all time, picks this aspect of human evolution and tries to inquire why few societies survived much longer than others, despite being exposed to similar challenges.


Book #: 27

Title: Collapse: How Societies choose to fail or survive” by Jared Diamond

Pages: 539

“Collapse: How Societies choose to fail or survive” might sound like it is deemed to end on an apocalyptic note, but Jared Diamond’s brilliance lies just there – he makes his case with a five-point framework and gives all his details- with even more engaging examples ranging from New Guinea to Pitcairn and Henderson Islands to Greenland to Iceland to Rwanda to Mayan to Haiti to the Dominic Republic to China” – and then leaves it to your own judgment as to decide what next steps that are to be taken.

“Just as in the past, countries that are environmentally stressed, overpopulated, or both, become at risk of getting politically stressed, and of their governments collapsing. When people are desperate, undernourished and without hope, they blame their governments, which they see as responsible for or unable to solve their problems. They try to emigrate at any cost. They fight each other over land. They kill each other. They start civil wars. They figure that they have nothing to lose, so they become terrorists, or they support or tolerate terrorism.”

This is a really long elaborative narration of what happened in various societies with narration spreading over Four sections and 17 chapters. Each section leaves you with a note to ponder which ties up in the finish line.

We, as a generation, are on the edge of a negative exponential curve with problems staring right in your eyes demanding answers. Jared Diamond points out few of them broken into categories:

Natural Resources: Natural habitats, wild food sources, biological diversity and soil

Ceilings: Energy, freshwater, and photosynthetic capacity.

Man-made harmful things: toxic chemicals, alien species, and atmospheric gases

And Human population.

The efforts are being made to curb these damages with conferences happening across the world to discuss the contribution of various nations within their capacity to fight environmental damages. The results might not be as explicit as the stock market prices or currency appreciations/ depreciations but our belief in bringing a new generation to this planet is the hope.

Jared Diamond pinpoints to increasingly alarming trends in terms of biodiversity, soil loss, freshwater limits, overfishing and climate change- which is no longer in the phase of “might happen”. We pushed ourselves to the limits of “it’s happening” and the action plan is for right now- You act, you fight, you survive else go through the societies that no longer exist among us.


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