Jared Diamond

Pulitzer Prize winner and MacArthur “genius” Fellow, Jared Diamond, discusses his new book, Upheaval: Turning Points for Nations in Crisis, May 12, 2019. Congregation Emanu El, Houston, Texas.  In his first appearance at The Progressive Forum, he discussed his book, Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed, at the Intercontinental Hotel February 24, 2006. 

SHORT. How might the threat of authoritarianism play out in the U.S.? Lessons from Jared Diamond’s study of Chile where a thriving democracy unexpectedly spiraled into a dictatorship. (3:50)

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SHORT. “I’m cautiously optimistic.” Jared Diamond says there’s a 49% chance the world as we know it could collapse by 2050. (1:40)

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SHORT. Public investment. Why do Finland, South Korea, and Japan have outstanding educational systems? (1:24)

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SHORT. Why do other countries such as Italy and Germany have much higher rates of voting than the U.S.? (1:15)

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PRE-EVENT Q&A: Jared Diamond’s personal crisis; unwillingness to compromise greatest threat in U.S.; models for solving the climate crisis; maintaining emotional perspective; human nature. (17:46)



Jared Diamond won the Pulitzer Prize for Guns, Germs, and Steel, which sold more than 2 million copies. This book and Collapse, How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed were turned into landmark television documentaries and were translated into dozens of languages. Upheaval comprises the third book in this epic trilogy, which features his dazzling comparative approach embracing psychology, history, geography, ecology, economics, and anthropology. Diamond was ranked ninth among the world’s top 100 public intellectuals in a 2005 poll conducted by Foreign Policy and Prospect. Among his many awards are a MacArthur “genius” fellowship, U.S. National Medal of Science, Japan’s Cosmos Prize, the Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement, and election to the U.S. National Academy of Science. He has published more than 600 articles and several books, including The World Until Yesterday: What Can We Learn From Traditional Societies (2012); Why Is Sex Fun? The Evolution of Human Sexuality (1997); and The Third Chimpanzee: The Evolution and Future of the Human Animal (1991). Diamond earned a bachelor’s degree in anthropology and history from Harvard College and a doctorate in physiology and biophysics of membranes in the gall bladder from Trinity College, University of Cambridge. He is a professor of geography at UCLA.


Thanks to videographer: Ruben Duran

For citing this website as a source: ProgressiveForumHouston.org

Thanks to Jared Diamond for permission to post contents of this short interview on Upheaval which we’ve edited into segments. We welcome visitors to share this exciting educational material.