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

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

Book rating: 03 Hardback

By (author) Jared Diamond

List price $31.24

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  • Publisher: ALLEN LANE
  • Format: Hardback | 512 pages
  • Dimensions: 162mm x 240mm x 45mm | 883g
  • Publication date: 31 December 2012
  • Publication City/Country: London
  • ISBN 10: 0713998989
  • ISBN 13: 9780713998986
  • Sales rank: 33,337

Product description

The "World Until Yesterday" is a visionary new account of humanity's past from Jared Diamond, author of the international bestsellers "Collapse" and "Guns, Germs and Steel", which has sold over 1 million copies and won the Pulitzer Prize. In "The World Until Yesterday", Diamond reveals how tribal societies offer an extraordinary window into how our ancestors lived for millions of years - until virtually yesterday, in evolutionary terms - and provide unique, often overlooked insights into human nature. In his most personal book to date, Jared Diamond writes about his experiences over nearly five decades working and living in New Guinea, an island that is home to one thousand of the world's 7,000 languages and one of the most culturally diverse places on earth. Drawing on his own fieldwork, as well as evidence from Inuit, Amazonian Indians and other cultures, Diamond explores how tribal peoples approach essential human problems, from childrearing to old age to conflict resolution to health. He unearths remarkable findings - from the reasons why modern afflictions like diabetes, obesity and hypertension are largely non-existent in tribal societies, to the surprising cognitive benefits of multilingualism. As Diamond reminds us, the West achieved global dominance due to specific environmental and technological advantages, but Westerners do not necessarily have superior ideas about how to live well. Jared Diamond is the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of the influential million-copy-bestseller "Guns, Germs, and Steel", which won Britain's 1998 Rhone-Poulenc Science Book Prize and was one of TIME's 100 best non-fiction books of all time, and the no.1 bestseller "Collapse". A professor of geography at UCLA and noted polymath, Diamond has been influential in the fields of anthropology, biology, ornithology, ecology and history. "The master storyteller of the human race." (Daily Mail).

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Author information

Jared Diamond is a professor of geography at UCLA. Among his many awards are the National Medal of Science, the Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement, Japan's Cosmos Prize, a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship, and the Lewis Thomas Prize honoring the Scientist as Poet, presented by The Rockefeller University. His previous books include "Why Is Sex Fun?," "The Third Chimpanzee," "Collapse," and "Guns, Germs, and Steel," winner of the Pulitzer Prize.

Customer reviews

By Neil C Thomson 11 Jan 2013 3

As always Diamond has a lucid style but this does not compare with his previous books or the hype about the lessons we can draw from people who live as did our ancestors. It's interesting but Diamond's 'lessons' are thin indeed.

Review quote

A fascinating survey of a rapidly fading world Economist Jared Diamond is one of the few people who have changed the way we see human nature and our history Independent (BOOK OF THE WEEK) Fascinating... a clear-eyed examination of life in traditional societies Sunday Telegraph (BOOK OF THE WEEK) Moving, well-told and fascinating... The wide scope of the book means that almost everyone will find something of interest Financial Times In The World Until Yesterday, Diamond cements his position as the most considered, courageous and sensitive teller of the human story writing today... Diamond offers inimitable insight into our cultural history through the study of tribal communities, and an entertaining account of the human struggle... Essential reading for anyone interested in the genesis of modern life Independent on Sunday Fascinating... thought-provoking... A broad sweep through all humanity Daily Telegraph (FIVE STARS) The world has been waiting for this book Times Higher Education One of the most interesting and arresting writers of our age... The vast scope of his analysis, coupled with a lifetime's worth of personal insights, makes it fiercely persuasive The Mail on Sunday Diamond's latest foray into a field that he has virtually made his own will be eagerly awaited by a global army of loyal readers Observer A warm and reflective study... [Diamond] is a master of at least nine academic disciplines, from anthropology to ornithology, and the subject of his books is never less than everything -- Bryan Appleyard Sunday Times