Guns, Germs, and Steel is Diamond’s history of the world. Collapse is Diamond’s prediction for the future based on the success or failure of past civilizations. The conclusion is that there are 12 major environmental challenges facing us, and if we don’t overcome all of them, there’s going to be a sharp decline in population. After reading the final chapter, Diamond somehow closes with a cautiously optimistic outlook.
This book was probably too heavy for commute reading. The material was extremely interesting, especially the history of Easter Island, but it took me a very long time to get through it.
One of the most striking images from Collapse is that the Norse Greenland colony is considered a failed experiment. It lasted 800 years. Europeans colonized the Americas 500 years ago. We haven’t proven anything yet.