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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My 100-word book review
Collapse is a thoroughly researched and fascinating book offering reasons why civilisations have failed in the past. The Mayans, Easter Islanders and Greenland Norse each encountered complex problems that eventually became catastrophic. Jared Diamond offers no simplistic explanation but describes a number of causes, such as climate change, geography and psychological...
Published on Sept. 14 2006 by A. J. Cull

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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars boring, but worth a read if you don't know this stuff
This is a good book if you don't already realize that we're screwing ourselves as a species. If this describes you, then read this book. It is methodical, it makes a strong case, and it doesn't degenerate into rhetoric like lots of environmentally themed books. Diamond does not present an Ehrlich-like appocalypitic certainty-he is generous enough, and...
Published on March 14 2006 by coastalslacker


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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My 100-word book review, Sept. 14 2006
By 
Ce commentaire est de: Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed (Paperback)
Collapse is a thoroughly researched and fascinating book offering reasons why civilisations have failed in the past. The Mayans, Easter Islanders and Greenland Norse each encountered complex problems that eventually became catastrophic. Jared Diamond offers no simplistic explanation but describes a number of causes, such as climate change, geography and psychological flaws, which can reinforce one another and lead to disaster. The author does not take an overly pro-environmental stance, recognising that industry has a vital role to play in protecting our world. He provides a salutary lesson from history that current and future generations would do well to heed.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Captivating, Aug. 13 2006
Ce commentaire est de: Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed (Paperback)
In Collapse, Jared Diamond has successfully examined the thousands of year of human history, by evaluating many of the great civilizations that went extinct due to their inability to recognize the limits of their resources and the strength of the forces of nature. The failures of those ancient and modern societies especially in Africa and Asia, as well the Easter Island and Greenland stemmed from the fact that they were compromised by their environment through disasters that were either natural or induced.

In this well-researched book, Diamond wrote of eco-disasters and the depletion of environmental resources through unsustainable measures as the principal causes of the demise of those societies. Not only that, he mentioned some societies that that have solved their ecological problems and succeeded. Nevertheless, the overriding point Diamond made is that in this age of globalization, societies must take collective actions to avoid the collapse of the world's highly interdependent global economy, since it is fast approaching its unsustainable level. This book is a wake up call for the world to develop sustainable sources of energy that does not compromise the environment. Hydrogen cars, solar energy etc should be things for the immediate tomorrow.

The lesson is clear. Those societies that can adapt their ways of life to be in line with the potentials of their environment last while those societies that abuse their resources ultimate commit suicide, and so fail. Now, for the first time in human history, modern technology, global interdependence and international cooperation have provided us with the means and opportunity to judiciously use our resource and prevent their depletion not only from a small scale, but from a global scale as well. It is only by harnessing this new knowledge to sustain our planet, that we shall avoid the fate of self-destruction, like several great societies before us. Also recommended: UNION MOUJIK,OVERSHOOT, DISCIPLES OF FORTUNE, FREAKANOMICS, TRIPLE AGENT DOUBLE CROSS . I like reading deep and moving books
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars boring, but worth a read if you don't know this stuff, March 14 2006
Ce commentaire est de: Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed (Paperback)
This is a good book if you don't already realize that we're screwing ourselves as a species. If this describes you, then read this book. It is methodical, it makes a strong case, and it doesn't degenerate into rhetoric like lots of environmentally themed books. Diamond does not present an Ehrlich-like appocalypitic certainty-he is generous enough, and confident enough in human beings' resourcefullness, to give us even odds. This is nice, because, while I do believe we're hooped if we don't change, I do believe we CAN change, and alot of popular books on this subject always just tell us we're done like dinner.
For fans of Guns, Germs and Steel, don't expect this book to be anywhere near as good. If you are an environmentally-minded person and have done some reading on the subject, don't expect to take a whole lot of new, relevant, information from this book. It is pretty damn boring. By making his case methodically, step-by-step, Diamond bored me to tears (especially in the early going). It is important that he makes his case in this manner, to close the loop-holes for lunatic right-wing economists, but from a literary point of view it is a terrible read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A solid read, April 17 2006
By 
Ce commentaire est de: Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed (Paperback)
Collapse is a thoroughly presented, but somewhat tedious examination of environmental impact on the collapse of societies. Diamond is too skilled a writer to make the read boring, but the sheer volume of information (and yes, repetition) can make for some dry material. Still, it is a good basic introduction to the subject and Diamond gets full marks from me for keeping himself above the usual partisan rhetoric.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Captivating, April 7 2006
By 
Sancho Mahle (Charlotte, USA) - See all my reviews
Ce commentaire est de: Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed (Paperback)
In Collapse, Jared Diamond has successfully examined the thousands of year of human history, by evaluating many of the great civilizations that went extinct due to their inability to recognize the limits of their resources and the strength of the forces of nature. The failures of those ancient and modern societies especially in Africa and Asia, as well the Easter Island and Greenland stemmed from the fact that they were compromised by their environment through disasters that were either natural or induced.
In this well-researched book, Diamond wrote of eco-disasters and the depletion of environmental resources through unsustainable measures as the principal causes of the demise of those societies. Not only that, he mentioned some societies that that have solved their ecological problems and succeeded. Nevertheless, the overriding point Diamond made is that in this age of globalization, societies must take collective actions to avoid the collapse of the world's highly interdependent global economy, since it is fast approaching its unsustainable level. This book is a wake up call for the world to develop sustainable sources of energy that does not compromise the environment. Hydrogen cars, solar energy etc should be things for the immediate tomorrow.
The lesson is clear. Those societies that can adapt their ways of life to be in line with the potentials of their environment last while those societies that abuse their resources ultimate commit suicide, and so fail. Now, for the first time in human history, modern technology, global interdependence and international cooperation have provided us with the means and opportunity to judiciously use our resource and prevent their depletion not only from a small scale, but from a global scale as well. It is only by harnessing this new knowledge to sustain our planet, that we shall avoid the fate of self-destruction, like several great societies before us. Also recommended: UNION MOUJIK,OVERSHOOT, DISCIPLES OF FORTUNE, FREAKANOMICS, TRIPLE AGENT DOUBLE CROSS . I like reading deep and moving books
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5.0 out of 5 stars Highly recommended, Dec 24 2005
Ce commentaire est de: Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed (Paperback)
In Collapse, Jared Diamond has successfully examined the thousands of year of human history, by evaluating many of the great civilizations that went extinct due to their inability to recognize the limits of their resources and the strength of the forces of nature. The failures of those ancient and modern societies especially in Africa and Asia, as well the Easter Island and Greenland stemmed from the fact that they were compromised by their environment through disasters that were either natural or induced.
In this well-researched book, Diamond wrote of eco-disasters and the depletion of environmental resources through unsustainable measures as the principal causes of the demise of those societies. Not only that, he mentioned some societies that that have solved their ecological problems and succeeded. Nevertheless, the overriding point Diamond made is that in this age of globalization, societies must take collective actions to avoid the collapse of the world's highly interdependent global economy, since it is fast approaching its unsustainable level. This book is a wake up call for the world to develop sustainable sources of energy that does not compromise the environment. Hydrogen cars, solar energy etc should be things for the immediate tomorrow.
The lesson is clear. Those societies that can adapt their ways of life to be in line with the potentials of their environment last while those societies that abuse their resources ultimate commit suicide, and so fail. Now, for the first time in human history, modern technology, global interdependence and international cooperation have provided us with the means and opportunity to judiciously use our resource and prevent their depletion not only from a small scale, but from a global scale as well. It is only by harnessing this new knowledge to sustain our planet, that we shall avoid the fate of self-destruction, like several great societies before us.
Also recommended: Giorgio Kostantinos ' The Quest '.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A must read, Feb. 27 2005
By 
Sancho Mahle (Charlotte, USA) - See all my reviews
I have been reading novels for decades, but in all those years of reading, THE KITE RUNNER is possibly the best story I have read that has a non-western setting. An Afghan friend recommended this book to me, and of course I was skeptical at first. I never expected it to be such a powerful, deep moving, well-written and touching story that happened to be set in Afghanistan.

Set in Afghanistan, in Kabul in the 1970's, the Kite Runner moves to the U.S.A and back. It includes fascinating characters like Amir who lived a privileged life as the son of an affluent man, and Hassan the son of a poor servant who perks for Amir's privileged life. The two become good friends, a friendship which is tested when Hassan is raped, a scene witnessed by Amir who made no effort to come to his friend's rescue. Yet Amir is haunted by that moment of cowardice even as he leaves for the USA.

Even though it is a fiction, this haunting story with spectacular, yet uncomfortable scenes creates in the reader a sense of reality that is difficult not to believe. I easily felt like I was reading the real life story of a young boy, who grows up still haunted by his past cowardice. The characters are real and alive, the setting in Afghanistan and America is superb, the plot is outstanding and the pace of the novel is fast and captivating.. All in all, this emotionally gripping story provides an insight and understanding of the human tragedy in Afghanistan. The author successfully touched on human emotions, stirring guilt, sadness, anger, and happiness throughout the book.Reminds me of DISCIPLES OF FORTUNE, BOOKSELLER OF KABUL, UNION MOUJIK, CRY THE BELOVED COUNTRY,THE USURPER AND OTHERS , which are all titles with unique settings and gripping stories and characters.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Ultimately, disappointing, Dec 25 2009
Ce commentaire est de: Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed (Paperback)
I first heard about this book by hearing someone say that it was "genius." It's certainly not, but it's worth a read anyway... at least the first 3/4.

I'm not overly interested in environmentalism -- I read this book primarily for the narratives and analyses of the ancient and recent societies that collapsed. The book is, after all, called "Collapse."

Collapse starts off very strongly. It gives a nice description of what constitutes a collapse and explains how history should be studied like a science. His intro chapter on Montana basically sets the tone for the next 13 chapters of the book, which are interesting for the most part, although sometimes redundant. His analyses of past and modern societies are insightful and exhibit a comprehensive knowledge of history... too bad he didn't stop there.

The last section is called "Pracical Lessons." After reading the previous chapters, I was pretty pumped for this part, as Diamond is obviously a vary smart man (not that his biases don't show at times). Unfortunately, without the use of a storyline to present his thoughts, as in the previous chapters, his writing derails and becomes extremely dry... almost unbearable to read. I reduced myself to generous skimming because he really presents nothing new; the average reader should be smart enought to extend what he was saying in the historical examples to modern society.

Thus, I'm not sure that I would reccommend this book. If it's history you're looking for, there are better books, and I'm sure the same goes if you're looking for a book on environmental issues. The book really doesn't work well as a hybrid; the last section doesn't flow with the first three. I would suggest reading only a few chapters... say, the ones on Easter Island, the Anasazi, Rwanda, and Australia. These are very good, but the rest is really redundancy.

My suggestion: get this from the library, read 4 or 5 chapters, and don't waste your time and money on the rest.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Globalization, April 12 2005
By A Customer
This book is ultimately about globalization. It does an excellent job of showing how past societies failed or thrived based on various factors. Today we're faced with similar challenges and the decisions we make will determine our fate. Another excellent book that focuses on the effects of modern global changes is Stop Working by Rohan Hall. It's a book that I recommend highly.
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9 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Anthropology Coupled with a Confused Look at Today, July 15 2006
By 
Donald Mitchell "Jesus Loves You!" (Thanks for Providing My Reviews over 124,000 Helpful Votes Globally) - See all my reviews
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Ce commentaire est de: Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed (Paperback)
I've always been fascinated by ghost towns, civilizations that have disappeared and ways of life that have vanished. Naturally, Collapsed appealed to that part of my interests. I was pleased to find convenient summaries of the latest research on what happened to Easter Island, the Norse on Greenland, the Mayas, and many other interesting cultures around the world that failed to survive until today. A pleasant bonus in the book was to find out about many cutting edge scientific methods used to sort out what happened and when in past civilizations.

Collapse also looks at some of the current problem areas of the world using the lens of what went wrong in earlier societies. The materials on Australia and Rwanda were particularly well done and added to my knowledge of those countries.

If the book had stopped there, I would have graded it as a five star effort.

The book continued, however, and falls into mediocrity when it starts to look at today's world and what needs to be done. The only strong section within this part of the book came in the discussion of efforts by large companies to make "good citizenship" profitable by both avoiding more costly remediation later and being more attractive to customers in the meantime.

The rest of the book is an oversimplified argument that extrapolates trends in areas that harmed former civilizations (like deforestation) into presenting a dire threat for our collective future today. To make that argument stick, you have to look deeply at the countertrends that can offset the potential harm from the trends. Collapse briefly acknowledges some of those trends, but doesn't get below the surface.

My own reaction to the book is that in today's increasingly specialized, global economy (remember Adam Smith in his book, The Wealth of Nations?) each country will do fewer things for itself and rely more on its fellow humans who can do other things better. Many of the contemporary issues raised in this book can be seen in that light rather than as civilization threatening. I don't know which view is correct (or if both are), but Collapse doesn't really add much to the argument for either side.
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Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed
Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed by Jared Diamond (Paperback - Dec 27 2005)
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