Jared Diamond on the Downfall of Civilizations — and His Optimism for Ours (People I (Mostly) Admire, Ep. 55)

December 10, 2021 @ 11:00pm


He’s the award-winning author of hugely popular books like Guns, Germs, and Steel; Collapse; and Upheaval. But Jared actually started his varied career as an expert on gallbladders and birds. The physiologist turned geographer talks with Steve about his brushes with death, why the Norse Greenlanders wouldn’t eat fish, and why he has never been invited to a cannibal ceremony.

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Relevant Research & References

Here’s where you can learn more about the people and ideas in this episode:


Jared Diamond, professor of geography at at the University of California, Los Angeles.


“How Might COVID-19 Change the World?” by Jared Diamond (Project Syndicate, 2020).
Upheaval: How Nations Cope with Crisis and Change, by Jared Diamond (2019).
Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed, by Jared Diamond (2004).
Guns, Germs, and Steel, by Jared Diamond (1997).
“Effects of pH and Polyvalent Cations on the Selective Permeability of Gall-Bladder Epithelium to Monovalent Ions,” by Jared Diamond (Biochimica et Biophysica Acta, 1968).
“Transport of Salt and Water in Rabbit and Guinea Pig Gall Bladder,” by Jared Diamond (Journal of General Physiology, 1964).

Tags: Jared Diamond, Morgan Levey, Steve Levitt

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