Guns, Germs, and Steel

Enjoying so far! Papua New Guineans smarter than modern European/Americans b/c genetically had to weed out the dumb ones (only smart ones can survive a society of tribal infighting, murder, wars), as opposed to Euro-US society where germs were the biological deterrent– if you had strong genes, you survived. Also throws in a jab at “passive entertainment” of TV, movies, etc. which doesn’t promote mental development.
Finished this one in Mexico. Great combo of history, linguistics, and geography. Basic premise is that the conquering civilizations were dominant b/c of the natural resources they had at their disposal (plants prone to cultivating, large mammals that are domesticatable). Food production is the key to building civilizations. Then societies can specialize in having central government, professional warriors, inventors. Another key is that Eurasia was the largest landmass, so ideas travelled freely along the east/west axis where plants survive in the same latitudes. Interesting considerations of Africa, Australia, and the Americas. Some good stuff in the afterword about why Europe and not China. He also left some open questions, and outlined a plan of further study.

auth=Diamond, Jared
sub=The Fates of Human Societies