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The Michael Shermer Show

A series of conversations between Dr. Michael Shermer and leading scientists, philosophers, historians, scholars, writers and thinkers about the most important issues of our time.

Watch or listen here or on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Amazon Music, Google Podcasts, iHeartRadio, Stitcher, and TuneIn.

EPISODE # 65

Jared Diamond — Upheaval: Turning Points for Nations in Crisis

Upheaval: Turning Points for Nations in Crisis (book cover)

For this special edition of the Science Salon Podcast Dr. Shermer brought a camera crew to Jared Diamond’s home in Los Angeles for an especially intimate portrait of the man and his theories. You won’t want to miss this conversation, one of the best we’ve yet recorded, with one of the most interesting minds of our time, perhaps of all time.

In his earlier bestsellers Guns, Germs and Steel and Collapse, Jared Diamond transformed our understanding of what makes civilizations rise and fall. Now, in the final book in this monumental trilogy, he reveals how successful nations recover from crisis through selective change — a coping mechanism more commonly associated with personal trauma.

In a dazzling comparative study, Diamond shows us how seven countries have survived defining upheavals in the recent past — from US Commodore Perry’s arrival in Japan to the Soviet invasion of Finland to Pinochet’s regime in Chile — through a process of painful self-appraisal and adaptation, and he identifies patterns in the way that these distinct nations recovered from calamity. Looking ahead to the future, he investigates whether the United States, and the world, are squandering their natural advantages, on a path towards political conflict and decline. Or can we still learn from the lessons of the past?

Adding a psychological dimension to the awe-inspiring grasp of history, geography, economics, and anthropology that marks all Diamond’s work, Upheaval reveals how both nations and individuals can become more resilient. The result is a book that is epic, urgent, and groundbreaking.

Listen to the podcast via Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Stitcher, iHeartRadio, and TuneIn.

This Science Salon was recorded on March 13, 2019.

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Greece & Magna Graecia 2020

Join Pulitzer-prize-winning author JARED DIAMOND on a 13-day tour exploring the archeological and cultural riches of Athens, the Peloponnese, and Southern Italy October 3–15, 2020, presented by the Skeptics Society and Thalassa Journeys.

Learn more about this tour

This episode was released on May 7, 2019.

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