by Jared Diamond
In his 1998 book, Guns, Germs, and Steel, Diamond argues that the most important factor determining the rate of a society's development has always been its location. In Collapse, however, Diamond shows that location does not seal the fate of societies, which can choose to adapt to their environments or not. Using examples from Montana, Greenland, Japan, New Guinea, Rwanda, and Easter Island, he builds a strong case that societies succeed only by throwing out any behaviors incompatible with their environment. And as population increases and globalization knits the world together ever more tightly, there are fewer and fewer societies existing in isolation. If every society now desires to live like ours in the "first world," can the world sustain us? Will we adapt to our global environment, or choose our lifestyles over our survival?