Jared Diamond investigates why cultures prosper or decline — and what we can learn by taking a broad look across many kinds of societies.

Why you should listen

In his books Guns, Germs and Steel and Collapse (and the popular PBS and National Geographic documentaries they inspired), big-picture scholar Jared Diamond explores civilizations and why they all seem to fall. Now in his latest book, The World Until Yesterday, Diamond examines small, traditional, tribal societies -- and suggests that modern civilization is only our latest solution to survival.
 
Diamond’s background in evolutionary biology, geography and physiology informs his integrated vision of human history. He posits that success -- and failure -- depends on how well societies adapt to their changing environment.

What others say

"Diamond eschews the grand canvas to offer an empathetic portrait of human survival and adaptability" — Publisher’s Weekly, Sept. 17, 2012

Jared Diamond’s TED talks

Jared Diamond on the TED Blog
See all
Culture

What it’s like to grow old, in different parts of the world

November 25, 2013

The world’s population is getting older. Across the globe, people are living longer thanks to improvements in healthcare, nutrition and technology. This population shift brings with it incredible possibilities, but also a new set of challenges. How do we care for our elderly? In today’s talk, Jared Diamond examines the vast differences in how societies […]

Continue reading
Global Issues

How societies grow old: Jared Diamond at TED2013

March 1, 2013

Growing old in traditional societies Jared Diamond is the author of Guns, Germs, and Steel, which was a provocative answer to the question of why Europe dominated the world for much of recent history. More recently, he has written The World Before Yesterday, an investigation of traditional societies, and what the modern world might learn from […]

Continue reading
News

Who Are We?: The speakers in Session 11 of TED2013

March 1, 2013

The name says it all: this session took a look at everything that human beings do, think and know. From thoughts on what makes a civilization decline to the roots of our morality, these speakers shared some of the stats and stories that point to our collective identity. Here, the speakers who appeared in this […]

Continue reading

Quotes from Jared Diamond

Our biggest threat is not an asteroid about to crash into us, something we can do nothing about. Instead, all the major threats facing us today are problems entirely of our own making. And since we made the problems, we can also solve the problems.
Jared Diamond
TED2003 • 1.1M views Oct 2008
Informative, Persuasive