The World Until Yesterday: What Can We Learn from Traditional Societies?

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9780141024486: The World Until Yesterday: What Can We Learn from Traditional Societies?
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The no. 1 bestselling author of Collapse and Guns, Germs and Steel explores the profound lessons that traditional societies offer us today

Over the past 500 years, the West achieved global dominance, but do Westerners necessarily have better ideas about how to raise children, care for the elderly, or simply live well? In this epic journey into our past, Jared Diamond reveals that traditional societies around the world offer an extraordinary window into how our ancestors lived for the majority of human history - until virtually yesterday, in evolutionary terms. Drawing on decades of his own fieldwork, Diamond explores how tribal people approach essential human problems, from health and diet to conflict resolution and language, and discovers they have much to teach us.

Jared Diamond is the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of the seminal million-copy-bestseller Guns, Germs, and Steel, which was named one of TIME's best non-fiction books of all time, and Collapse, a #1 international bestseller. A professor of geography at UCLA and noted polymath, Diamond's work has been influential in the fields of anthropology, biology, ornithology, ecology and history, among others.

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Review:

"As he did in his Pulitzer Prize-winning "Guns, Germs, and Steel," Jared Diamond continues to make us think with his mesmerizing and absorbing new book. In "The World Until Yesterday," he pushes us to reconsider the contours of human society and the forces that have shaped human culture [...] Powerful and captivating, Diamond's lucid insights challenge our ideas about human nature and culture, and will likely provoke heated conversations about the future of our society."
--"Book Page"
"Challenging and smart...By focusing his infectious intellect and incredible experience on nine broad areas -- peace and war, young and old, danger and response, religion, language and health -- and sifting through thousands of years of customs across 39 traditional societies, Diamond shows us many features of the past that we would be wise to adopt."
--Minneapolis Star Tribune
""The World Until Yesterday "[is] a fascinating and valuable look at what the rest of us have to learn from - and perhaps offer to - our more traditional kin."
--"Christian Science Monitor"
"Ambitious and erudite, drawing on Diamond's seemingly encyclopedic knowledge of fields such as anthropology, sociology, linguistics, physiology, nutrition and evolutionary biology. Diamond is a Renaissance man, a serious scholar and an audacious generalist, with a gift for synthesizing data and theories."
--"The Chicago Tribune"
"As always, Diamond manages to combine a daring breadth of scope, rigorous technical detail and personal anecdotes that are often quite moving."
--"The Cleveland Plain Dealer"
"Diamond's investigation of a selection of traditional societies, and within them a selection of how they contend with various issues[...]is leisurely but not complacent, informed but not claiming omniscience[...]A symphonic yet unromantic portrait of traditional societies and the often stirring lessons they offer."--"Kirkus," Starred Review
"In this fascinating book, Diamond brings fresh perspective to historic and contemporary ways of life with an eye toward those that are likely to enhance our future."--"Booklist"
"Lyrical and harrowing, this survey of traditional societies reveals the surprising truth that modern life is a mere snippet in the long narrative of human endeavor[...]This book provides a lifetime of distilled experience but offers no simple lessons."--"Publishers Weekly"
"Jared Diamond has done it again. Surveying a great range of anthropological literature and integrating it with vivid accounts of a lifetime of visits--sometimes harrowing, more often exhilarating--to highland New Guinea, he holds up a needed mirror to our culture and civilization. The reflection is not always flattering, but it is always worth looking at with an honest, intelligent eye. Diamond does that and more."
--Melvin Konner, author of "The Tangled Wing: and The Evolution of Childhood"
""This is the most personal of Diamond's books, a natural follow-up to his brilliant "Guns, Germs, and Steel. Diamond has very extensive and long-term field experience with New Guineans, and stories of these admirable people enrich his overview of how all human beings acted until very recently. Not only are his accounts fascinating, they will ring true to all who have experience with hunter-gatherer cultures. And they carry many lessons for modern societies as well on everything from child-rearing to general health. " The World Until Yesterday" is a triumph."
--Paul R. Ehrlich, author of "Human Natures"
""The World Until Yesterday" is another eye-opening and completely enchanting book by one of our major intellectual forces, as a writer, a thinker, a scientist, a human being. It's a rare treasure, both as an illuminating personal memoir and an engrossing look into the heart of traditional societies and the timely lessons they can offer us. Its unique spell is irresistible."
--Diane Ackerman, author of "The Zookeeper's Wife"
"An incredible insightful journey into the knowledge and experiences of peoples in traditional societies. Diamond's literary adventure reflects on the problems of today in light of his exhaustive literature review and 40 plus years of living with rural New Guinean peoples."
--Barry Hewlett, author of "Intimate Fathers " (with Michael Lamb)
"In the 19th century Charles Darwin's trilogy--"On the Origin of Species," "The Descent of Ma"n, and "The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals" changed forever our understanding of our nature and our history. A century from now scholars will make a similar assessment of Jared Diamond's trilogy: "Guns, Germs, and Stee"l, "Collapse," and now "The World Until Yesterday," his magnificent concluding opus on not only our nature and our history, but our destiny as a species. Jared Diamond is the Charles Darwin of our generation, and "The World Until Yesterday" is an epoch-changing work that offers us hope through real-life solutions to our most pressing problems."
--Michael Shermer, Publisher of "Skeptic" magazine, monthly columnist for "Scientific American," author of "The Believing Brain" and "Why Darwin Matters"

As he did in his Pulitzer Prize-winning "Guns, Germs, and Steel," Jared Diamond continues to make us think with his mesmerizing and absorbing new book. In "The World Until Yesterday," he pushes us to reconsider the contours of human society and the forces that have shaped human culture [ ] Powerful and captivating, Diamond s lucid insights challenge our ideas about human nature and culture, and will likely provoke heated conversations about the future of our society.
"Book Page"
Challenging and smart By focusing his infectious intellect and incredible experience on nine broad areas -- peace and war, young and old, danger and response, religion, language and health -- and sifting through thousands of years of customs across 39 traditional societies, Diamond shows us many features of the past that we would be wise to adopt.
--Minneapolis Star Tribune
"The World Until Yesterday "[is] a fascinating and valuable look at what the rest of us have to learn from and perhaps offer to our more traditional kin.
--"Christian Science Monitor"
Ambitious and erudite, drawing on Diamond's seemingly encyclopedic knowledge of fields such as anthropology, sociology, linguistics, physiology, nutrition and evolutionary biology. Diamond is a Renaissance man, a serious scholar and an audacious generalist, with a gift for synthesizing data and theories.
--"The Chicago Tribune"
As always, Diamond manages to combine a daring breadth of scope, rigorous technical detail and personal anecdotes that are often quite moving.
--"The Cleveland Plain Dealer"
Diamond s investigation of a selection of traditional societies, and within them a selection of how they contend with various issues[ ]is leisurely but not complacent, informed but not claiming omniscience[ ]A symphonic yet unromantic portrait of traditional societies and the often stirring lessons they offer. --"Kirkus," Starred Review
In this fascinating book, Diamond brings fresh perspective to historic and contemporary ways of life with an eye toward those that are likely to enhance our future. "Booklist"
Lyrical and harrowing, this survey of traditional societies reveals the surprising truth that modern life is a mere snippet in the long narrative of human endeavor[ ]This book provides a lifetime of distilled experience but offers no simple lessons. "Publishers Weekly"
Jared Diamond has done it again. Surveying a great range of anthropological literature and integrating it with vivid accounts of a lifetime of visits sometimes harrowing, more often exhilarating to highland New Guinea, he holds up a needed mirror to our culture and civilization. The reflection is not always flattering, but it is always worth looking at with an honest, intelligent eye. Diamond does that and more.
--Melvin Konner, author of "The Tangled Wing: and The Evolution of Childhood"
" This is the most personal of Diamond's books, a natural follow-up to his brilliant "Guns, Germs, and Steel. Diamond has very extensive and long-term field experience with New Guineans, and stories of these admirable people enrich his overview of how all human beings acted until very recently. Not only are his accounts fascinating, they will ring true to all who have experience with hunter-gatherer cultures. And they carry many lessons for modern societies as well on everything from child-rearing to general health." The World Until Yesterday" is a triumph.
--Paul R. Ehrlich, author of "Human Natures"
"The World Until Yesterday" is another eye-opening and completely enchanting book by one of our major intellectual forces, as a writer, a thinker, a scientist, a human being. It's a rare treasure, both as an illuminating personal memoir and an engrossing look into the heart of traditional societies and the timely lessons they can offer us. Its unique spell is irresistible.
--Diane Ackerman, author of "The Zookeeper's Wife"
An incredible insightful journey into the knowledge and experiences of peoples in traditional societies. Diamond s literary adventure reflects on the problems of today in light of his exhaustive literature review and 40 plus years of living with rural New Guinean peoples.
--Barry Hewlett, author of "Intimate Fathers" (with Michael Lamb)
In the 19th century Charles Darwin's trilogy "On the Origin of Species," "The Descent of Ma"n, and "The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals" changed forever our understanding of our nature and our history. A century from now scholars will make a similar assessment of Jared Diamond's trilogy: "Guns, Germs, and Stee"l, "Collapse," and now "The World Until Yesterday," his magnificent concluding opus on not only our nature and our history, but our destiny as a species. Jared Diamond is the Charles Darwin of our generation, and "The World Until Yesterday" is an epoch-changing work that offers us hope through real-life solutions to our most pressing problems.
--Michael Shermer, Publisher of "Skeptic" magazine, monthly columnist for "Scientific American," author of "The Believing Brain" and "Why Darwin Matters""

As he did in his Pulitzer Prize-winning Guns, Germs, and Steel, Jared Diamond continues to make us think with his mesmerizing and absorbing new book. In The World Until Yesterday, he pushes us to reconsider the contours of human society and the forces that have shaped human culture [ ] Powerful and captivating, Diamond s lucid insights challenge our ideas about human nature and culture, and will likely provoke heated conversations about the future of our society.
Book Page
Challenging and smart By focusing his infectious intellect and incredible experience on nine broad areas -- peace and war, young and old, danger and response, religion, language and health -- and sifting through thousands of years of customs across 39 traditional societies, Diamond shows us many features of the past that we would be wise to adopt.
--Minneapolis Star Tribune
The World Until Yesterday [is] a fascinating and valuable look at what the rest of us have to learn from and perhaps offer to our more traditional kin.
--Christian Science Monitor
Ambitious and erudite, drawing on Diamond's seemingly encyclopedic knowledge of fields such as anthropology, sociology, linguistics, physiology, nutrition and evolutionary biology. Diamond is a Renaissance man, a serious scholar and an audacious generalist, with a gift for synthesizing data and theories.
--The Chicago Tribune
As always, Diamond manages to combine a daring breadth of scope, rigorous technical detail and personal anecdotes that are often quite moving.
--The Cleveland Plain Dealer
Diamond s investigation of a selection of traditional societies, and within them a selection of how they contend with various issues[ ]is leisurely but not complacent, informed but not claiming omniscience[ ]A symphonic yet unromantic portrait of traditional societies and the often stirring lessons they offer. --Kirkus, Starred Review
In this fascinating book, Diamond brings fresh perspective to historic and contemporary ways of life with an eye toward those that are likely to enhance our future. Booklist
Lyrical and harrowing, this survey of traditional societies reveals the surprising truth that modern life is a mere snippet in the long narrative of human endeavor[ ]This book provides a lifetime of distilled experience but offers no simple lessons. Publishers Weekly
Jared Diamond has done it again. Surveying a great range of anthropological literature and integrating it with vivid accounts of a lifetime of visits sometimes harrowing, more often exhilarating to highland New Guinea, he holds up a needed mirror to our culture and civilization. The reflection is not always flattering, but it is always worth looking at with an honest, intelligent eye. Diamond does that and more.
--Melvin Konner, author of The Tangled Wing: and The Evolution of Childhood
This is the most personal of Diamond's books, a natural follow-up to his brilliant Guns, Germs, and Steel. Diamond has very extensive and long-term field experience with New Guineans, and stories of these admirable people enrich his overview of how all human beings acted until very recently. Not only are his accounts fascinating, they will ring true to all who have experience with hunter-gatherer cultures. And they carry many lessons for modern societies as well on everything from child-rearing to general health. The World Until Yesterday is a triumph.
--Paul R. Ehrlich, author of Human Natures
The World Until Yesterday is another eye-opening and completely enchanting book by one of our major intellectual forces, as a writer, a thinker, a scientist, a human being. It's a rare treasure, both as an illuminating personal memoir and an engrossing look into the heart of traditional societies and the timely lessons they can offer us. Its unique spell is irresistible.
--Diane Ackerman, author of The Zookeeper's Wife
An incredible insightful journey into the knowledge and experiences of peoples in traditional societies. Diamond s literary adventure reflects on the problems of today in light of his exhaustive literature review and 40 plus years of living with rural New Guinean peoples.
--Barry Hewlett, author of Intimate Fathers (with Michael Lamb)
In the 19th century Charles Darwin's trilogy On the Origin of Species, The Descent of Man, and The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals changed forever our understanding of our nature and our history. A century from now scholars will make a similar assessment of Jared Diamond's trilogy: Guns, Germs, and Steel, Collapse, and now The World Until Yesterday, his magnificent concluding opus on not only our nature and our history, but our destiny as a species. Jared Diamond is the Charles Darwin of our generation, and The World Until Yesterday is an epoch-changing work that offers us hope through real-life solutions to our most pressing problems.
--Michael Shermer, Publisher of Skeptic magazine, monthly columnist for Scientific American, author of The Believing Brain and Why Darwin Matters"

"As he did in his Pulitzer Prize-winning Guns, Germs, and Steel, Jared Diamond continues to make us think with his mesmerizing and absorbing new book. In The World Until Yesterday, he pushes us to reconsider the contours of human society and the forces that have shaped human culture [...] Powerful and captivating, Diamond's lucid insights challenge our ideas about human nature and culture, an...

From the Back Cover:

From the author of No.1 international bestseller Collapse, a mesmerizing portrait of the human past that offers profound lessons for how we can live today

Visionary, prize-winning author Jared Diamond changed the way we think about the rise and fall of human civilizations with his previous international bestsellers Guns, Germs and Steel and Collapse. Now he returns with another epic - and groundbreaking - journey into our rapidly receding past. In The World Until Yesterday, Diamond reveals how traditional societies around the world offer an extraordinary window onto how our ancestors lived for the majority of human history - until virtually yesterday, in evolutionary terms - and provide unique, often overlooked insights into human nature.

Drawing extensively on his decades working in the jungles of Papua New Guinea, Diamond explores how tribal societies approach essential human problems, from childrearing to conflict resolution to health, and discovers we have much to learn from traditional ways of life. He unearths remarkable findings - from the reason why modern afflictions like diabetes, obesity and Alzheimer's are virtually non-existent in tribal societies to the surprising benefits of multilingualism. Panoramic in scope and thrillingly original, The World Until Yesterday provides an enthralling first-hand picture of the human past that also suggests profound lessons for how to live well today.

Jared Diamond is the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of the seminal million-copy-bestseller Guns, Germs, and Steel, which was named one of TIME's best non-fiction books of all time, and Collapse, a #1 international bestseller. A professor of geography at UCLA and noted polymath, Diamond's work has been influential in the fields of anthropology, biology, ornithology, ecology and history, among others.

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