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Guns, Germs, and Steel by Jared Diamond is on sale at Amazon for $2.99.

https://www.amazon.com/Guns-Germs...QPX5V6EYNX

"Fascinating.... Lays a foundation for understanding human history."—Bill Gates


In this "artful, informative, and delightful" (William H. McNeill, New York Review of Books) book, Jared Diamond convincingly argues that geographical and environmental factors shaped the modern world. Societies that had had a head start in food production advanced beyond the hunter-gatherer stage, and then developed religion --as well as nasty germs and potent weapons of war --and adventured on sea and land to conquer and decimate preliterate cultures. A major advance in our understanding of human societies, Guns, Germs, and Steel chronicles the way that the modern world came to be and stunningly dismantles racially based theories of human history. Winner of the Pulitzer Prize, the Phi Beta Kappa Award in Science, the Rhone-Poulenc Prize, and the Commonwealth club of California's Gold Medal.
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#31
As a person who pretty much reads exclusively science fiction, I found this book very interesting. The theory of geography affecting the development of technology and disease is pretty sound, although someone very educated in these subjects could probably poke some holes in it. There is also a mini TV documentary series based on this if you aren't the reading type.
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#32
Its a flawed book that was heavily promoted because it fit the narrative. It fails to account for the fact that the influence of environment is a two way street, an environment not conducive to advanced civilization is unlikely to select for those who would make it possible.

Btw it was during that time frame that the bonobo push was also heavily promoted for the same reasons. Again they happily overlooked the flaws, what happens when a species selects for males that the females can dominate, it gets small and stupid in the case of primates, bonobos are called pygmy chimps for a reason,and can only exist in splendid isolation.

Both these narratives have had negative repercussions which are relevant to this very day though. Its how the more subtle form of "fake news" has always worked.
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Last edited by megablank April 13, 2019 at 10:10 AM.
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#33
I tried reading this and couldn't get more than ~1/4 of the way in to it, and my wife just said that she didn't get any further than I did. It seemed to get way, way, WAY in to the minutiae of things instead of having a simple reason like "communication". In my opinion Eurasia flourished because people could communicate with each other, and the combined populations of those two continents vastly outnumbered those in any of the other continents. As a result knowledge was shared, and each generation was able to build on the works of the previous ones. Romans built on the knowledge gained by the Greeks before them, and the Arabic people built on top of what the Romans had learned, and the European Renaissance built on top of that (along with that of China).

It just seemed like Guns Germs and Steel tried way too hard to force a narrative that didn't really work.
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#34
@Kumicho, your thinking is way too linear. Knowledge is shared, re-discovered and lost all the time. Societies also progress and regress all the time. You even tacitly admitted to the non-linearity when you jumped from the Romans all the way to the Renaissance, a thousand year leap. What I find funny about linear thinkers is they always think the future will always be similar to the present. In 2050, assuming no catastrophic wars (probably a panglossian assumption due to climate change), India's population will be 2 billion, the Middle East 1 billion, Africa 2.5 billion, Europe 700m, China 1.4B, and US 450m. It seems to me superior animal husbandry doesn't give people the upper hand forever.
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#35
I'm very much in agreement with megablank. While there is much to enjoy and tasty food for thought in this book regarding how civilizations flourish, its general conclusion that all people are equal and that only luck has anything to do with progress is very dangerous. It's half true, but it's half false and he dismisses the fact that environment molds the people in any given region in distinctive ways that are advantageous to that environment. I'd caution any reader to realize that there is a subtle globalist tone to the book.
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#36
Quote from hungryrapanui
:
@Kumicho, your thinking is way too linear. Knowledge is shared, re-discovered and lost all the time. Societies also progress and regress all the time. You even tacitly admitted to the non-linearity when you jumped from the Romans all the way to the Renaissance, a thousand year leap. What I find funny about linear thinkers is they always think the future will always be similar to the present. In 2050, assuming no catastrophic wars (probably a panglossian assumption due to climate change), India's population will be 2 billion, the Middle East 1 billion, Africa 2.5 billion, Europe 700m, China 1.4B, and US 450m. It seems to me superior animal husbandry doesn't give people the upper hand forever.
Did you miss the part about how the Arabic population built upon what the Romans discovered, to say nothing of the Eastern Roman Empire (the Byzantine Empire) building such marvels like the Hagia Sophia? Don't forget, the 9th and 10th centuries were referred to as the Golden Age of Islam where they made massive advances in things like Mathematics (including algebra, decimals, trigonometry, etc), construction and art. The "Medieval Renaissance" came about *specifically* because of increased interaction with the Middle East through war and trade.

And my specific point was that for the civilizations in places like Africa, North and South America and Australia *didn't* have the opportunity to communicate and share knowledge. Their civilizations were too small and too spread out to truly build on the progress made by prior generations.
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#37
Quote from TurtlePerson2
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I listened to the audiobook of the abridged version. I would highly recommend the abridged version.

As an aside, I find the title somewhat misleading. I remember the book mostly being about agriculture and animal husbandry and how they relate to geography. I don't recall the discussion of guns, germs, and steel playing nearly as large a role.
The title comes from the fact that human consumable grains were originally concentrated in Eurasia. Grains led to agriculture and animal husbandry, which led to complex societies since not everyone needs to hunt for food. Complex societies can make guns and steel (since smiths can eat the food that others grow) and the density of an urban society allows germs to thrive. Guns, germs (smallpox), and steel are why Pizarro conquered the Incas and not the other way around.

Or at least that's the thesis of the book.
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Last edited by nigerianscammerhello April 13, 2019 at 03:51 PM.

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#38
Just buy or rent Idiocracy.
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#39
Quote from megablank
:
Its a flawed book that was heavily promoted because it fit the narrative. It fails to account for the fact that the influence of environment is a two way street, an environment not conducive to advanced civilization is unlikely to select for those who would make it possible.

Btw it was during that time frame that the bonobo push was also heavily promoted for the same reasons. Again they happily overlooked the flaws, what happens when a species selects for males that the females can dominate, it gets small and stupid in the case of primates, bonobos are called pygmy chimps for a reason,and can only exist in splendid isolation.

Both these narratives have had negative repercussions which are relevant to this very day though. Its how the more subtle form of "fake news" has always worked.
All of this boiler plate red pill, right-wing stuff complete with the crowbarring in of the term "fake news" is pretty hilarious coming from someone who talks about people following a narrative honestly
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#40
If anyone wants a book that explains the REAL reasons as to how modern society has come to where it is now, look up Kevin MacDonald's "The Culture of Critique".

https://www.unz.com/book/kevin_ma...-critique/

https://youtu.be/eCkc-ZF_TSY

And a good follow up:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FSgeg3z0ewI
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#41
Quote from AaronY8165
:
All of this boiler plate red pill, right-wing stuff complete with the crowbarring in of the term "fake news" is pretty hilarious coming from someone who talks about people following a narrative honestly
Yes, its quite "hilarious", I was a die hard NPR listener at the time so I experienced the full dose of one sided coverage. Never was a critical voice platformed, that's how it works. They choose who gets exposure, and are insulated from having to say these things themselves, and thus aren't held to journalistic standards of research, they were just letting an "expert" speak...for hours and hours on shows like Terry Gross so these things become the things that everyone "good" knows.

The bonobo book I alluded to was "sex at dawn" by the internet PhD Christopher Ryan. His book heavily promoted by the same circles led to the poly push and other things.
The consequences were predictable, this one basically flat out admits the fraud in the end.
http://archive.fo/UY37w
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Last edited by megablank April 13, 2019 at 08:08 PM.
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#42
This book wasn't optimized for lay readers, even intelligent ones. The first third or so is fine for skimming: there are pages and pages of details about plant varieties and other info that helps support his theses, but aren't the greatest reading. Once he gets past talking about which regions got lucky with higher protein grains and more easily domesticated animals, the book becomes quite interesting and mind expanding.
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#43
I listened to the audiobook for free from my local library. Loved it. Well worth the time to listen. I never have time to sit down with a book.
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#44
Quote from triclops41
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This book wasn't optimized for lay readers, even intelligent ones. The first third or so is fine for skimming: there are pages and pages of details about plant varieties and other info that helps support his theses, but aren't the greatest reading. Once he gets past talking about which regions got lucky with higher protein grains and more easily domesticated animals, the book becomes quite interesting and mind expanding.
Its more mind expanding to see what he got away with for so long.
The final take down, by a random internet sperg.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qvaxPH3ftUQ
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