Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed Summary

The SQUEEZE: Many books have been written on the topic of societal collapses, mostly works that center on the subjects of economics and finance. After the 2008 U.S. financial collapse, the publishing marketplace was inundated with numerous books on the subject. However, there aren’t many books today that draw connections between societal collapse and environmental components. It is here where Jared Diamond gains ground in discussing the contributions of climate change and how it forms one aspect of societal collapse. In Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed, Diamond examines five major contributors to collapse, which include hostile neighbors; he highlights the failure to adapt to environmental issues as another major contributor. Diamond goes on to discuss multiple environmental problems that are facing mankind today. These problems are standard and specific to collapses of many past societies. Diamond structures “Collapse” into four parts, highlighting particular countries as well as U.S. states. Diamond’s “Collapse” is a must-read for both business and environmental researchers.  

Notable Endorsement: "...Collapse is a magisterial effort packed with insight and written with clarity and enthusiasm." —Businessweek

Common Q’s Answered by this Book:

  • What is “societal collapse”?
  • How do environmental problems contribute to societal collapses?
  • What is a form of collapse?
  • What are the five factors that contribute to collapse?
  • What are the 12 environmental problems?
  • What are the four additional factors that may contribute to the weakening of present and future societies?


About the Author: Jared Diamond is an American scientist who serves as a professor of geography at the University of California, Los Angeles. Diamond initially began his career as a scientist studying physiology, later expanding his research pursuits into evolutionary biology and biogeography. As a result of Diamond’s contributions to science, he was elected to a position in multiple organizations, three of which include: the National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the American Philosophical Society. Diamond is a winner of the National Medal of Science award, the Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement, and numerous additional awards. In addition, Diamond has published two popular science books titled The Third Chimpanzee (1991) and Guns, Germs, and Steel (1997). Diamond graduated with a bachelor’s degree from Harvard College (1958) and with a doctorate degree from the University of Cambridge (1961). For more information, visit:


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Publisher: Penguin Books (January 2011)

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