Reddit Reddit reviews Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies

We found 170 Reddit comments about Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies. Here are the top ones, ranked by their Reddit score.

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170 Reddit comments about Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies:

u/RenixDC · 187 pointsr/history

I remember reading a book called Guns Germs and Steel back in the day that seemed to cover all of these developments!

u/jondavidbrooks · 54 pointsr/AgainstHateSubreddits

It should be mandatory that everyone either read or watch the documentary Guns Germs and Steel. Because on the face of it it wouldnt be a unfair question to ask why did Europeans become the most advanced and dominated other cultures. Guns Germs and Steel lays out a rock solid case on and to sum up the answer comes down to Geography and timing not because of superiority of any race. But the answer is even more complicated then that... andv to sit there and argue with these knuckleheads with this long complicated arguments is pointless. It would be better if kids learn young about why these discrepancies exist so we can shut down those questions early on.

u/oppleTANK · 40 pointsr/todayilearned

Horses, steel weapons, steel armor against obsidian clubs, Inca weakened by disease,

ohhh and gun powder.

Guns, Germs and Steel

u/killall-q · 33 pointsr/Guildwars2

Queen Jennah and Exemplar Salia are brown. Besides select few NPCs though, it seems Ascalonians have completely pushed out both the Krytan gene pool and architecture. If real world history is any parallel, it's possible that native Krytans were wiped out by diseases they had no immunity to brought by the Ascalonian immigrants, though that doesn't make sense seeing that the two peoples were not isolated from each other before the exodus. More likely that Ascalonian food production technology outcompeted Krytans' such that Ascalonians multiplied so fast that Krytans were left with no resources and a diminishing population. Read Guns, Germs, and Steel.

u/ciarao55 · 33 pointsr/worldnews

I think part of the problem is really that people are looking at only granular parts of problems today and don't have enough historical context. Its useless to follow every story about everyone and every little thing. There are lots of ups and downs in politics and there's no reason to be so reactionary to every single new and probably manufactured "scandal".... that's what's exhausting. I like to keep updated on a few big issues, I follow the careers of a few people I find inspiring (and follow a few that do things that worry me), and spend the rest of the time reading up on topics in book form... they have the advantage of being written over time, and with more vigorous standards for accuracy. The news, while still important where immediate info is necessary, is essentially click bait now. You don't need to get caught in the rip tides that pull you everywhere constantly, just understand the general trajectory of the important things.

edit: to those curious about some book recommendations: I'm by no means an expert in anything really, and the books you read should really be about the topics you personally are interested in, so don't take my word as gospel (or any author's). I like American history, ancient history, international relations, and though I think they're more boring I force myself to read about the health care system and the American education system because I feel they're important. I'm also looking to read some books on the military industrial complex and cyber security/ big data because I don't really know anything about them other than the stuff I see in passing on the news or here on Reddit. So if anyone knows a good overview of those issues, feel free to let me know.

  • For a good start on human history and the beginnings of modern economics/ intl relations (basically why the West has historically dominated), try Guns, Germs, and Steel I believe there's also a documentary if the book is too dense for your taste (it is pretty dense).

  • Perhaps if you're interested in why people get so damn heated talking politics, The Political Brain: The Role of Emotion in Deciding the Fate of the Nation

  • If you wonder why people vote against their own social and economic interest: What's the Matter with Kansas? How Conservatives Won the Heart of America Full disclosure: I liked this book, but I lean left. I'm not sure if it matters, the point of the book is just to track how the Republican party went from being the party of elites, to the party of blue collar workers.

  • If the Supreme Court interests you at all, I liked Jeffrey Toobin's, The Nine

  • The achievement gap? Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria

  • Health care? There's a lot, but this one is an easy read and it compares the systems of Britain, Japan, Germany, and I believe Cuba (which is very good for their GDP!) and the US's. The Healing of America: A Global Quest for Better, Cheaper, and Fairer Health Care by T.R. Reid

    This is just some stuff I've listed off the top of my head. Another thing that I find helpful to better understanding intl relations are books about the major genocides of the past few decades, which are hard to get through (because of the brutal content) but... What is the What (Sudan), First they killed my father (Cambodian genocide), Girl at War (more of a autobiography, but still chilling) there's a couple of others I've read that I can't remember now.

    Anyway, just go to Good Reads and look at Contemporary Politics. Perhaps Great Courses has a political philosophy course too that you can draw from if you wanna go even farther back into the origins of society's structure and political thought.

    Also podcasts! I've just discovered these but there's a lot of audio content (FREE!) that you can listen to on your commute and whatnot. I like Abe Lincoln's Top Hat right now.

    Edit edit: wow thanks for the gold!!
u/WarwithintheWalls · 31 pointsr/writing

I like thinking about culture. We tell the story of people, real and imaginary, and we should know where they come from.
I believe culture is driven by the head, the heart, and the belly. So if an idea comes into my head for a culture I ask five questions:

  • What do they eat?
  • What do they believe in?
  • Where do they come from?
  • Where are they going?
  • What do they consider family?
  • How do they court, marry, fu...nction in a relationship?

    You'd be amazed how much you can inform yourself there.

    That gives me a nice start. Then I start to ask other questions on themes. Ask the 5W1H (Who What When Where Why How) questions about 6 random subjects based on what you now know

    For instance, Death:

  • Who handles the body?
  • What is done with the body?
  • When is this done?
  • Where do they put a body?
  • Why do they do these things?

    It's a never fails way of going about things. Now come up with the life of five people living in a society based on this information. Use Proust's questionnaire and Gotham's questionnaire to frame them.

    Do all of this with first thoughts. Look it over. Think about it. Look at common travel questions like "What's the best place to eat?" or "what should I not do to piss off the locals"?

    You can get the true feel for a society in hours. Then put your characters who are in that culture through those same questionnaires, same random questions. You'll know them from head to heart to belly, and you're golden.

    EDIT: I just saw some other information. DO NOT READ GENRE FICTION FOR WORLD IDEAS. Read history, philosophy, anthropology. Pick up a history of food ,Guns, Germs, and Steel, other books that give you overviews on specific topics in history and anthropology.

    Tolkien wasn't reading Kingkiller Chronicle, he was learning about hillbillies, ancient languages, and living in WW1 England. Pratchett was a polymoth. Heinlein dug in on so many topics it's unbelievable. Inform with ideas, write from your head and not someone else's.
u/zdaytonaroadster · 29 pointsr/explainlikeimfive

Historian here, ACTUAL truth, because of the warm all year climate and abundance of food with small tribal populations divided by geography (for the majority of the time) there was no development to the advanced civilization the rest of the world did, and the ones that did, didnt last long (great Zimbabwe, Nubia, ect). The middle east had vast deserts, Europe and to a lesser extent Asia had winters, so food cultivation and thus tool making never really materialized in vast amounts of sub-Sahara Africa because they didnt have to overcome their environment as far as climate goes. (i am assuming thats what you are talking about as north africa is a different story, they arent poor).

Africa actually has vast amounts of resources, rare earths for example, but their governments corruption keeps any of the wealth out of anyone's hands but the government and military war lords.

The idea that things were just fucking dandy until colonial powers came to the shores is laughable and only a fool with no education would believe such non-sense. The few iron age civilizations that did developed were gone long before the Europeans arrived. And it was the Arabs who arrived first and began slavery and "exploitation" of Africa, not Europe. And for every augment for colonialism raping Africa, there is another Rhodesia to Zimbabwe story to counter it.

tl;dr-Its not always Whitey's fault, despite it always being blamed on him


http://www.amazon.com/Guns-Germs-Steel-Fates-Societies/dp/0393317552

^gives you a basic idea in layman's terms

u/caffarelli · 26 pointsr/AskHistorians

How to Judge a Book Without Even Reading It


Do you think librarians read all those books they buy?? Heck no. Yes, collection development librarians rely heavily on library review journals, but you can pretty successfully judge a book before you even read the intro. And how!

1. Try a Little Intellectual Snobbery


Basically with this you need to try to smell out the people who are saying “I’m not a historian but…” when they start their books. Who wrote this thing and why? Is this a historian going for tenure, is this maybe a historian trying to write more popular history, is this a historian at the end of their life putting out a magnum opus, is this a journalist? Who published it, academic press or regular press? Does this person have Something to Prove with this history book?

Now, I’m a little leery of recommending this method first, because I’ve seen some pretty shitty books published by big academic houses from heavily degreed people, and I’ve seen some very nice historical work put out by tiny publishers you’ve never heard of or self-published, and written by people who just decided to write a book because they cared deeply about the history of something that few others cared about. Good work absolutely stands on its own merits, and independent scholars are important animals in the academic ecosystem. But there is a correlation here, and not necessarily a causation, between academics working with academic publishing houses and the production of rigorous history, and you can lean on it a little.

2. Give it the Vulcan Citations Pinch


Flip to the back of the book. Where does the actual book stop and the endmatter start? Basically the more endmatter the better. You want maybe a good solid half centimeter of paper between your fingers, preferably more. If you start seeing appendices in addition to citations and index that’s very good.

3. Scope-to-Cred Ratio


This one’s hard to quantify but basically, the more modest the book’s scope the more modest of arguments and credentials the author needs to pull it off. So a book about say the importance of paperback books for soldiers in WWII, this is a pretty modest scope, and it’s not making any very bold claims, there’s no real reason to be suspicious about the arguments made in this book, although it’s absolutely a popular history work. A book trying to explain the history of everything, get suspicious.

4. Read the Intro


Okay after the first three bits you’ve decided this book has merited your attention enough to open the thing. The intro to a book should give you the outline of the major argument and you can decide whether the argument passes a basic smell test of not being total bullshit. If you find the argument compelling and you want to see how they are going to argue it in the knitty gritty, it’s time to commit to checking out/buying the book and seeing what’s up. (Intros are usually available for new books on Google Books or Amazon previews.)

4b. Read the Acknowledgments


You can tell a lot about a person from their acknowledgments section. I’ve seen books where the author specifically thanked the ILL staff of their local library. They should ideally be thanking an archives or two if it’s a modern history book, because that means they’ve done Real Research.

5. Have a Good Idea of How One Does History


This one takes a little time investment, but having a basic idea of what makes a good historical argument and what makes a bad one will serve you well for judging any history book, from any topic. Maybe just spend some time on the logical fallacies section of Wikipedia. Just knowing to run away when you hear someone start yammering about glorious progress or indulging in extended hero-worship will serve you remarkably well in the history section at Barnes and Noble.

6. Nothing Wrong with Reading a Bad Book


Okay, so you did all this pre-judgement and you still managed to read a real turd. Ah well. You always can learn a lot from something done poorly. They’re a certain grim joy in hating a bad book, especially if you get to feel smarter than an author, so just treat yourself to a really firm critical dismissal of the work. Maybe leave a real stinker of a review here on a Saturday or /r/badhistory.

u/hnat · 20 pointsr/explainlikeimfive

If you would like a very detailed explanation of this, might I recommend the book Guns, Germs, and Steel, but what it boils down to is similar to what person132 said in another comment.

High population density, and larger populations as a whole, combined with city living and poorer diets, means that more Europeans got sick in general. To infect the surviving Europeans, diseases needed to adapt to be stronger, and more resistant to their immune systems. When these diseases came with them to the colonies, they were no match for the Native American's less/differently developed immune systems.

u/mikelj · 17 pointsr/books

Guns Germs and Steel by Jared Diamond. Great thesis on why different human societies have developed so differently.

u/brinstar117 · 15 pointsr/todayilearned

I'd imagine it's more of a generality than anything else. I'd wager that it is partly based on the fact that certain latitudes were more conducive for successful colonization by European powers. Those latitudes closely approximated the seasonal conditions in which their draft animals and crops thrived. This lead to a larger and more stable base in which to built wealth upon.

I recommend reading Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies by Jared Diamond as he details reasons why environmental factors are major contributors to why certain societies (ultimately countries) are wealthier than others.

u/plokijuhujiko · 15 pointsr/history

Well, it was the deciding factor in the birth of human civilization. Without the shift to agriculture from hunter/gatherer societies, we could never have achieved the necessary population to create virtually every human innovation that has ever happened. It is true that agriculture led to most of humanity's woes as well: war, plagues...Glenn Beck, etc... But without that shift we would still have an average lifespan of 30-40 years, and our population would be in the thousands instead of the billions. There are pretty valid arguments for why that's not such a great thing, but it's really a moot point. We're here, we did what we did, so that's that.

On a side note, anyone who hasn't read this book is missing out.

u/[deleted] · 14 pointsr/explainlikeimfive

I'm not sure of the commenters sources, but I have read the same thing in two books.

1491 - https://www.amazon.com/1491-Revelations-Americas-Before-Columbus/dp/1400032059

Guns, Germs and Steel - https://www.amazon.com/Guns-Germs-Steel-Fates-Societies/dp/0393317552

I'm no history buff, but I thoroughly enjoyed these two books.

u/GodfreyForCongress · 13 pointsr/WayOfTheBern

Absolutely. And furthermore, let me say this: if they push me to the point where I feel the need to filibuster, I will take the opportunity to educate them. How? By reading books on the floor of the House like Guns, Germs, and Steel (so they understand better where we came from), The Black Hole War, Bully for Brontosaurus (so they understand a little bit about science), and Subliminal, so they know how the NRA and Fox News is killing their minds.

u/johnix · 12 pointsr/funny

This subject has been Jared Diamond's life's work. Guns, Germs, and Steel explains it all much more thoroughly.

u/MichaelJSullivan · 10 pointsr/Fantasy

It's really not "for fantasy" but I think it really helps with world building...

u/J_Webb · 10 pointsr/worldbuilding

Since you are looking for some reference books, here are some that I resort to using quite often in my world-building process.

Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies by Jared M. Diamond

Plagues and Peoples by William H. McNeill

Weapon: A Visual History of Arms and Armor by Roger Ford

What People Wore When: A Complete Illustrated History of Costume from Ancient Times to the Nineteenth Century for Every Level of Society by Melissa Leventon

The History of Money by Jack Weatherford

If you need more, I can list more. I have a reference book for just about anything you could imagine in my ever-growing personal library.

u/TheUndead96 · 10 pointsr/uncensorednews

Don't worry, I am actually reading Guns, Germs and Steel at the moment and I have read many of these details within the last 7 days.

I am not trying to name names and point fingers here. The point I am trying to make is that all nations have a history with race. Additionally, think about:

  • Australia and the Aboriginals
  • Native Siberians
  • South East Asians before the Austronesian expansion (this happened many hundred years ago, though)

    Apartheid was bad, but it was certainly not the Holocaust, and the world seems to think that we are all a bunch of white-supremists. Just because Americans killed with Germs instead of Guns doesn't not take the deaths away. But that also does not mean you need to feel guilty. White people were indeed slaves at many points in history.

    I didn't have anything to do with Apartheid.
    But I'm still prepared to say sorry for any harm my ancestors caused. And I hope that we can learn to love each other, despite our histories.
u/DeviousBluestocking · 10 pointsr/AskFeminists

> What you say would only makes sense if germs guns and steel would have been unrelated to immigration

My point is that immigrants to the US will not be able to colonize us using superior weaponry, resources, or immunity asymmetry. They will not be able to overpower us with their superior numbers. We are in no danger of going the way of Native Americans or Texas. With or without a more secure border.

>native Americans who were so stupid to think the refugees they helped would be grateful in the long run and treat them with respect and behave as guests?

Well, for one thing, Native Americans were so outmatched that they could not have prevented us from immigrating, as many attempted to do throughout the the Continent. Particularly after we unleashed several deadly plagues.

>By contrast the Africans who did resist immigration/conquest still have their culture and way of life

Your example of African is not nearly the gotcha you think it is. People on the African continent traded with Eurasia for thousands of years and built up an immunity to diseases like small pox, what's more many African regions had their own deadly diseases that Europeans were not immune to. A big part of the reason that Africa put up a better resistance to colonization was that they had the same type of immunity asymmetry that Europeans had in North and South America.

Source

More info


>A lot of them quite prefer living under white rule and emigrate to white areas like South Africa and Europe and most people would say their life would be better off if we accept our way of life (doctors transportation jobs economy all around whiteness) as better, but they have a choice to live like their forefathers or not.

This really has nothing to with your point, but it is still a profoundly ignorant understanding of colonization. For one thing, South Africa is a majority black state. Doctors, transportation, and jobs are not exclusively the white way of life. Just ask China who had such advanced "transportation" that they could have make a trans Atlantic or trans Pacific voyage several hundred years before Europeans.

What's more colonization is the systematic pillage and dominance of another country. African countries did not have to be invaded and stripped of their sovereignty and resources in order to import European innovations such as cars.

There are many people all over the continent of Africa that do choose to follow a more traditional way of life. And, like you said, many African countries have economies that are prosperous and culturally more similar to European and Asian countries. There are also a number of countries and regions that are still struggling with the atrocities of the past five centuries, and do not "chose" to lack jobs, doctors, and "transportation"(cars?, highways?).

u/3423553453 · 9 pointsr/ImGoingToHellForThis

There is no historical evidence of a written language in the entire sub-saharan region of africa at the time.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Writing_systems_of_Africa

And no the slaves didn't come from the other regions of africa where was some written language called Ge'ez, they mostly came from Senegambia:

http://www.ibtimes.com/where-africa-did-slaves-come-286429

Also confirmed by my school textbook.

So you should really get out of your cucked history books, or maybe talk to actual historians:

[link removed because automod]AskHistorians/comments/1nz7k6/were_there_no_native_written_languages_in/

Also, there was no wheel and no two-story building and no vessel that could even dream of crossing the ocean, you want more ?

I know it's hard to swallow for liberals but humans are different, blacks have a bigger penis, better musculature, more testosterone = more inclined to violence = less inclined to get educated = lower IQ.

Asians have a smaller penis than whites but are also smarter so I don't see why blacks would have a problem acknowledging other differences.

Also, if you want to learn more about the history of humans on this planet: https://www.amazon.com/Guns-Germs-Steel-Fates-Societies/dp/0393317552 Great read.

u/CrimsonGear · 7 pointsr/AdviceAnimals

So, all white people in America have the same culture? A culture that values education and politeness? What about the deep south, where, let's be honest, higher education is not overly stressed? Or how about the differences between a person from New York and a person from Idaho?

"White" is a homogenized term that refers to skin color only. The culture you speak of is "American".

I'll also just point out that Africa is not a uniformly shitty hellhole, and the parts that ARE hellholes are like that largely due to outside influences. I'd also point you toward places like Egypt, with cities like Alexandria that were the once the center of knowledge and learning in antiquity. If you're interested in learning why certain cultures seem to be underdeveloped while others thrive technologically, you should read Guns, Germs, and Steel by Jared Diamond. There's also a movie version on Netflix.

Anyway, let's get down to brass tacks. When I see a "black cultural event", I see a group of people with common interests and common troubles who come together to support one another. The fact that they feel the need to do this tells us more about the environment they exist in than it does about their culture. If I were in another country - one that did not support or welcome me as an American - I would probably find other Americans or like-minded people to hang around.

During the time of slavery, the ONLY people that would support black people was other black people. They formed a culture that meshed (mainly southern) American elements with their African heritage. Because they had no real support from the outside, they had to support themselves from within, and that leads to a very strong cultural identity - one that still exists. And a big reason that it still exists is because, by and large, they are still not completely welcomed or accepted.

Now, when I hear a white American complaining about black events, I think of a child who has always gotten his way, who throws a tantrum when someone else gets to do something that he can't. Largely because he, and people like him, created a NEED for those sorts of things in the first place. Black people wouldn't feel the need to form these groups and events if the larger population accepted them the same way they accepted other cultures. And regardless of what you, personally, may feel or believe, there is still a very large group in America that sees blacks as foreign and thuggish. It's a foolish thing to think, and is clearly untrue.

And it's this "why do they get an event, I want an event!" mentality that makes anyone who wants to form a "white culture" event or group seem like a spoiled brat who wants something solely because someone else has it.

u/Shisno_ · 7 pointsr/explainlikeimfive

What an absolutely idiotic response.

Whites weren't successful because they were white. They were successful because, their harsh environment and access to resources caused them to look toward innovation to overcome nature. After that mindset was established, they further advanced through structured warfare, and after that, colonization.

If you want to dumb it down and say, "cuz white ppl", then by all means...

Guns, Germs, and Steel can give you an absolutely masterful understanding of why white European peoples came to preeminence.

u/juliebeen · 7 pointsr/books

Jared Diamond - Collapse and Guns, Germs and Steel

Both are great. Not at all boring. Both are favorites of mine.

u/that_cad · 7 pointsr/todayilearned

If you haven't, you should read Guns, Germs, and Steel by Jared Diamond (http://www.amazon.com/Guns-Germs-Steel-Fates-Societies/dp/0393317552). Taking a very scientific, objective approach to civilization and the development thereof, it provides an interesting and, in my opinion, highly plausible reason why African countries have typically fared worse than Western-European countries over the past 500 years (and which has nothing to do with race).

u/rockne · 7 pointsr/todayilearned

Also, Collapse and Guns, Gems and Steel by Jared Diamond

u/spedmonkey · 7 pointsr/AskHistorians

While I agree that your question is quite subjective, I'd suggest taking a look at Guns, Germs, & Steel, the ubiquitous recommendation when dealing with this question. I'm not sure I agree with all of Diamond's ideas, but it's a thought-provoking book, and he makes some excellent arguments within.

u/Vaxthrul · 7 pointsr/conspiracyundone

We need lots of the basics, MKultra, JFK assassination, Operation Northwoods, Iran-Contra, GLADIO, Project Paperclip, etc.

One thing I feel strongly about is history white washing, so I recommend A People's History of the United States, which is also available from amazon in book format.

Guns, Germs, and Steel is another good book to read once you understand the flows of political power.

Also a shout out to Noam Chomsky, Lots of his books are worth reading and going over, however for those that don't wish to read, I recommend the documentary based on his book Manufacturing Consent, which I hope you were going to include anyway :P

EDIT: Here's a decent source for ebooks - b-ok.org

u/ShrimShrim · 6 pointsr/pics

Nope. 100% have a B.A. in history a B.A. in education and a B.S. in health science. Currently in graduate school.

I didn't respond to your "facts" because you didn't list any. You went on some schizophrenic rant about race. You've completely failed to understand how geography influences the success and failures of societies. If I had handed in a paper with your line of reasoning my professor would have handed it back and said "start over, this is trash."


I'd suggest you read the book "Guns, Germs, and Steel" by Jared Diamond or the "Wealth and Poverty of Nations" by David Landes

You're going to have to go into reading those books with an open mind, because they might not fit your predetermined narrative that societies are only successful because of skin color.

u/gblancag · 6 pointsr/AskWomen

I'm traditionally more into literary fiction, but I've been exploring non-fiction recently.

Currently Reading: 1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus

Recently Finished: The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America's Great Migration and Margaret Atwood's MaddAddam Trilogy

Next on the List: Either Guns Germs and Steel or Devil in the White City. Haven't decided yet

u/nc863id · 6 pointsr/politics

I strongly recommend reading this book. The super-short TL;DR for it is that Europe sort of hit the jackpot in terms of geography, biodiversity, natural resources available, etc., which gave the people settling there an inherent leg up versus other areas of the world.

u/InhLaba · 5 pointsr/booksuggestions

Some nonfiction books I enjoyed that came to mind:

u/ErdeTyrenne · 5 pointsr/CapitalismVSocialism

Are you retarded? I'm saying & giving you a source for the fact that Natives were dropping like flies from diseases brought over by the survivors of said diseases, who had biologically developed immunities that prevented them from dying at nearly those high of rates. The natives had a far less varied, lower caloric intake diets than did the Europeans who not only had a wider selection of crops but also of cattle. They had steel weapons and steel armor that the natives did not develop as well as guns, all of these factors growing out of the generally higher level of diffusion of technology on the Eurasian landmass & it's east-west orientation as opposed to the more difficult to traverse, mixed climate north-south orientation of the Americas. It's very similar to how the north-south orientation of sub-Saharan Africa hindered greatly the abilities of it's people to develop relatively advanced societies as opposed to Eurasian societies. Read [Guns, Germs and Steel](Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies https://www.amazon.com/dp/0393317552/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_apa_pbPZBbTNPA260) by Jared Diamond.

u/Carrue · 5 pointsr/Survival

Here is how I would organize it:

Physiological needs of survival.

  • Temperature
  • Water
  • Food

    Techniques for temperature

  • Basic principles of heat transfer, warmth, and cold
  • Techniques for clothing
  • Techniques for shelter
  • Techniques for fire

    Techniques for water

  • The importance of water purity
  • Water purification, sanitation, and filtration

    Techniques for food.

  • Foraging
  • Hunting
  • Trapping and fishing
  • Primitive cooking

    Miscellaneous techniques

  • Wilderness hygiene
  • Hiking properly
  • Land navigation
  • Things idiots do

    Psychology of survival

  • The importance of optimism and never quitting.
  • The parasympathetic nervous system and you.
  • Operant extinction and how it makes you crazy, plus how to survive through it.
  • The Basil Ganglia and automation, the strength of habits, and how to learn and maintain skills effectively.

    Each numbered section could be a book of its own, and some of them have already been written. I think this is a good way to organize wilderness survival for the short term. I think once you start thinking about preserving food you are entering a new realm where you'll need a new, more complicated organization. Maybe I'll write the psychology one some day, as I haven't seen a good survival psychology book out there, just a bunch of bullshit.

    Now I don't agree that society has failed us. I think you would really like to read Guns, Germs, and Steel. It will put societies into a perspective where they are just groups of people providing themselves with the same physiological needs of survival, in ways most efficient for their environment. But I also think it's best for society that individuals can carry on in the event of a problem. So I hear what you're saying. Anyway, I hope you find this helpful.
u/InscrutableTed · 5 pointsr/todayilearned

Oh geez, who invited Stormfront?

If anyone would like a less bigoted examination of history: http://www.amazon.ca/Guns-Germs-Steel-Jared-Diamond/dp/0393317552

(But if you would rather trust a GIF on the internet than a Pulitzer-prize winning book, go ahead. It's a free country. Be as dumb as you want.)

u/VetMichael · 4 pointsr/AskHistorians

If I may jump in here, /u/Mycd is making a similar argument to Jared Diamond in Guns, Germs, and Steel. Though I am not sure about the claim that livestock were a significant source of disease. I know that they were a significant source of vaccination in the 18th century, but disease? Zoonotic diseases aren't usually small pox level variants (except for exotic ones which emerge well after the Columbian exchange).

There is a history of continual exposure to the major, and quite deadly, pathogens in Eurasian history that were the subject of medical inquiry from about 1000 CE onward; Chinese and Indian physicians, for example, experimented with blowing the dust from dried scabs of plague victims into the noses of people who had not gotten sick yet in order to inoculate them. It didn't work as well as modern science would have liked - the Black Death claimed tens of thousands of lives in Cairo alone - but it was better than nothing.

In Diamond's book, he makes the argument that since Eurasian trade routes were roughly east-west, the pathogens had similar enough environs - and continual human hosts - to survive and even mutate. On the other hand, Diamond points out, there was no equivalent to the Silk Road in the Western Hemisphere, thus preventing continual human-to-human transmission necessary for viral or bacterial mutation to the degree in Eurasia. Also, the fact that different latitudes often brought wildly varying environments, hampered potentially deadly plagues from emerging on such a vast scale in the Americas. He doesn't say, though, that Mesoamericans or other major empires didn't have plagues - they did - but compared to Eurasian ones, they were relatively weak or mild.

Other sources: Bernard Lewis Islam: From the Prophet Muhammad to the Capture of Constantinople

Arthur Silverstein A History of Immunology

Jared Diamond Guns, Germs, and Steel

u/jones1618 · 4 pointsr/history

I'd really recommend Guns, Germs and Steel by Jared Diamond.

It's one of the rare history books that takes on the grand sweep of human history, upending a lot of what you were taught and weaving it all together in a highly-readable and entertaining way.

u/p0x0rz · 4 pointsr/Fantasy

Gotta add Guns, Germs, and Steel to these, though it paints in much broader strokes. Fantastically interesting read.

u/WRSaunders · 4 pointsr/explainlikeimfive

You might be interested in Jered Diamond's book Guns, Germs, and Steel. He does a pretty thorough discussion of the subject. If boils down to white people coming in quantity from a content that's wider (East-West) than it is tall (North-South). This means temperate bands are longer, providing more opportunities to fight over crops and resources. This builds up the capability to fight, and when the advent of long-distance sailing comes into the picture, these fight-prone groups sail around the work, find less fight-prone people, and vanquish them.

u/TheTeachingMirror · 4 pointsr/Teachers

World History: Guns, Germs, and Steel by Jared Diamond. (It is also made as a documentary now)

US History: A People's History of the United States by Howard Zinn

In regards to being sensitive for issues like slavery and the Holocaust, I recommend Teaching Tolerance. They have some good resources.

u/NYC_summer · 4 pointsr/history

I would recommend you read Guns, Germs and Steal by Jared Diamond. Talks about this subject and it is an easy read.

u/Stubb · 4 pointsr/askscience

Go read Guns, Germs, and Steel.

Europeans lived in proximity with a far greater variety of domesticated animals than Native Americans.

u/Banzeye · 4 pointsr/gameofthrones

Shit, some interesting reading material is Guns, Germs, and Steel.

It's an interdisciplinary work but it's pretty fascinating and its a good read.

Interested in a fun East Asian account? Try reading The Last Samurai: The Life and Battles of Saigo Takamori. This is the book that the movie of the same name was adapted from. (I seriously mean ADAPTED, by the way.) It's an interesting read about the Meiji Restoration and how the Japanese countryside reacted.

How about something from Africa? Read Sundiata: an Epic of Old Mali. It's an epic poem about the founding of the African state of Mali (MANSA MUSA DA GOD). Captivating read.

Get cracking.

u/LE4d · 4 pointsr/InternetIsBeautiful
u/scurvydog-uldum · 4 pointsr/explainlikeimfive

Jared Diamond's masterpiece, Guns, Germs, and Steel had a chapter on this.

Zebras get nasty as they get older and don't stay tamed.

u/this_is_poorly_done · 3 pointsr/SecurityAnalysis

1)Freedom from Fear: The American People in Depression and War, 1926-1945 - David Kennedy

2)From Colony to Superpower: US Foreign Relations Since 1776 - George Herring

3)History of Economic Thought: A Critical Perspective - E. K. Hunt and Mark Lautzenheiser

4)When Washington Shut Down Wall Street: The Great Financial Crisis of 1914 and the Origins of America's Monetary Supremacy - William Silber

5)Guns, Germs, and Steel - Jared Diamond

6)A People's History of the United States: 1492 to Present - Howard Zinn

7)20th Century Baseball Chronicle: A Year-By-Year History of Major League Baseball (what? you asked for history books sitting on my shelf)

8)Gunpowder: Alchemy, Bombards, and Pyrotechnics : The History of the Explosive That Changed the World - Jack Kelly

and currently I've just started working on U.S. Bank Deregulation in Historical Perspective - Charles Calomiris. Should be interesting since it was published in 2000...

edit: I like Drited's idea, so I'll take some time to add on some stuff. 1, 2, 4, and 6 give me perspective on how government institutions interact with each other and with the public they are supposed to serve as time and events take place, shaping the history of the US. 3 has given me insight into the evolution of Neoclassical and Labor-value (Marxian) economics. Though Hunt writes with a very heavy labor bias, his book has shown me how a persons beliefs affect there analysis, even when claiming to be value-free. In it he discusses the origins of marginal productivity and efficient markets, and his writings have allowed me to grasp in economic terms why certain ideas are flawed, even though I already knew them to be false after I had studied Psychology. 5 and 8 are a bit different because to me, they remind me that it's not what actually happened that matters, our interpretation of history relies solely on the importance we give those events. All and all, the above texts give me a longer time frame in which to view current events. In fact that's why I like companies such as GOOG and GS so much is because the above readings allow me to look beyond balance sheets, and gives me alternative ways to judge a potential investment. I understand GOOG's importance to the internet world, and the internets importance to our world, and how that relationship might continue on into the future. Stuff like that

u/Pertz · 3 pointsr/geography

I think you're mixing up two visually similar maps, with two highly different concepts.

This one that you're talking about. http://www.globalwarmingart.com/images/a/aa/Annual_Average_Temperature_Map.jpg

And this that I think you should be focusing on: http://www.authentichistory.com/1914-1920/1-overview/1-origins/MAP-1914_Colonization.jpg

Also: here is a rough map of your observations about general wellbeing. http://debitage.net/humangeography/images/GDP_per_capita.png

Countries with low levels of prosperity generally have relatively recent history of slavery or other types of subjugation effecting large swathes of the population. Africa is a perfect example as shown on the second and the third map.

There are exceptions to everything, but countries with high quality of life were either colonizers (Spain, UK, Holland), or were colonized mainly through genocide (Canada, US, Australia, some southern countries in South America).

The purposeful destruction of culture and the devaluation of whole peoples seems inseparable from the process of colonization, and it sets back the people effected for over a hundred years. Take a look at what has happened to remaining native populations of Canada, the US, and Australia, and you'll see the same patterns as what you're observing in what is called "The Global South". https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/North%E2%80%93South_divide

I could go on forever but I think studying colonization and oppression will help you explore the concepts you brought forward. This is a good resource on oppression: http://www.amazon.com/Challenging-Oppression-Confronting-Privilege-Mullaly/dp/0195429702

Remember the important difference between correlation and causation!

A different question you may also be asking now is "Why did the Northerners get to oppress the Southerners?" A lot of it has to do with luck (to have metal, to learn to use it, and to be accustomed to filthy diseases), and I think this book gives a really interesting starting point. http://www.amazon.com/Guns-Germs-Steel-Fates-Societies/dp/0393317552



u/Rab-bit · 3 pointsr/science

If anyone is curious about this stuff, there's a good book that goes into great detail about this called Guns, Germs and Steel: The fates of human societies.

u/BionicTransWomyn · 3 pointsr/DebateFascism

>And how can colonization make the African nations all inferior to the European nations?

Because when you litterally enslave millions of people and force them to work for you without providing their offpspring with education, it might harm their long term potential for a bit. As for Africans themselves, are you even kidding? We basically took over their entire continent and kept them in abject poverty, actively creating colonial institutions that worked against their betterment. What African kingdoms were actually doing well, we quashed with superior technology (ie: Zulus)

>Why are Europeans richer and brought up in better circumstances than Africans? Who creates these circumstances? Europeans built the strongest nation on Earth today, the USA, on the same land that Native Americans lived on for thousands of years while accomplishing little. Africans or Native Americans have done this no where.

A combination of geography, access to natural ressources and communication with every part of the world. This is a question that would require a small book to answer on its own, so I'm simply going to link you to some of the more prevalent theories:

https://www.caltech.edu/news/why-did-western-europe-dominate-globe-47696

http://www.amazon.ca/Guns-Germs-Steel-Jared-Diamond/dp/0393317552


>I don't know if I should bother arguing with someone who just claimed that most of Europeans great generals were of African descent.

What? Can you even read. Here's the quote for you, emphasis mine:

>Some of Europe's most talented generals and officials were of African descent.

--

>Surely the Africans wouldn't have been so badly defeated and enslaved if they were truly equal with the Europeans.

Actually, it turns out that when they are given a good education and the tools to succeed, they can hold their own quite well:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toussaint_Louverture

Also, it might surprise you that for a long time, Europe was basically irrelevant and weak. Its ascent really doesn't start until the 16th-17th century, and even then, most empires were able to marshall, by then, ressources that Europe could not dream to match. Already, Western Europe is weaker than China and Russia, and depends on the US to prop itself up.

>The different races of humans are certainly genetically different and have different traits.

Physical traits certainly, but there's a marginal difference between a half-black/half-white kid and a kid from either ethnicity.


PS: You should probably source your claims, I'm sure Darwin would love to have a word with you about the misinterpretation of his theories.

u/celeritas365 · 3 pointsr/changemyview

This is a really complex question that doesn't have a single answer. I do think it is a stretch to say that the exploitation didn't help at least a little bit. There are also other factors than economic policy, innovations, and social institutions. You should check out Guns Germs and Steel by Jared Diamond if you are interested in this kind of stuff. I don't agree with all of it but it is pretty interesting. If you are more into documentaries PBS made some documentaries based off of the book that are also pretty well done. CGP grey also made a video summary of a small section of the book's argument.

u/aRealNowhereMan_ · 3 pointsr/TiADiscussion

Understanding that they are saying something out of pain is one thing, being expected to shut up and apologize for something I didn't do, while simultaneously being berated...is something else all together. So tell me, when did you read Guns, Germs, and Steel? I'm sure you have, given the sanctimonious way with which you preach your superior understanding of history and the development of modern societies.

Also, the notion that someone is likely prejudiced for not "understanding history" or "understanding privilege" is a non sequitur; you are essentially saying anyone who doesn't agree with you is likely a racist, and that's absurd.

You know who keeps contributing to the problem of racism? People who see everything in terms of race; you know...racists. People who inject race into situations where it would otherwise be absent, or people who justify bigotry against a specific subset of people, because those people are somehow less deserving of basic human decency, kindness, and empathy.

It is not the kind-hearted but impoverished white man, nor is it the kind-hearted but impoverished black man who perpetuate racial tensions. No, it is the man who acts as the self-appointed champion, the man who would claim to speak for those who are fully capable of speaking for themselves; It is the man who would burn our bridges rather than help build them, the man who prefers the ease of antagonization over the difficulty of ingratiation. It is these men who stoke the fires of racial animosity, it is these men who are truly racist.

u/symonsays · 3 pointsr/explainlikeimfive

Most animals cant be domesticated. In history i think only 14 animals have been fully domesticated. In the book Guns Germs & Steel you can find more info on this

u/DeusExCochina · 3 pointsr/atheism

Parent gives a few good likely reasons. But just to clarify:

UCLA Professor Jared Diamond has written a whole book with his hypotheses on this topic: Guns, Germs and Steel. I'm not qualified to guess whether he's correct, but that there's whole books dedicated to the topic shows that it's not the kind of simple question that can be answered with any depth in a Reddit comment.

u/MalignantMouse · 3 pointsr/AskReddit

Guns, Germs and Steel - Jared Diamond

Have you ever wondered why the world is the way it is? This book basically answers that question. It's so broad-reaching it's amazing.

u/100dylan99 · 3 pointsr/AskReddit

None of these answers are good. The reason why light skinned people have succeeded more than to darker skinned people is because of geography. Before I start, it is face that the farther you get from the equator, the lighter skinned people get. Now, while I don't remember exactly what diseases, I do remember that the farther you get from the equator, the lighter skinned you generally become, and vice versa. That was a simple answer.


Now, people started farming around nine thousand years ago in many places around the same time, like in China, North America, and the Middle East. However, while farming was a big advancement and led to to things like villages, war, and diseases, which are very, very important for the development of humanity, there were two big factors to how successful a civilization got. The second was how many domesticated animals you had in your area. In the middle east, where humanities first big civilizations started, you had four domestic animals. They had sheep, cattle, pigs, and horses. In other places, you only had one dmosticated animal. For example, the Inca had one domesticated animal, which was the llama. The Middle Eastern's got lucky, because they had horses, and cattle, two very strong animals. This allopwed them to have a plow, which revolutionized farming and was used from prehistory all the way up to the industrial revolution. Not only that, but they could move faster on their horses, which allowed them to hunt and war better. About a thousan years after the middle easterns developed farming, they started migrating because their land was similar to the US's in the 30's. Some of them went west, to conquer Europe, and some East, to conquer China. I can elaborate further, but I am a mere freshman. If you want more information I reccomend:

Bill Nye's The Eyes of Nye, Episode 108, "Race"

Guns, Germs, And Steel. Also a documentary on Netflix.

Mankind, the Story of All of Us. A truly wonderful History Channel documentary that was released this year, covering all of humanities's achievements.



Also: This was all of the top of my head, so please tell me if something I said was inaccurate or wrong. And if you want me to elaborate more on something, ask.

u/mynuname · 3 pointsr/DebateAChristian

Many of these facts I read about in "Guns, Germs and Steel" and "The Fall", both written by non-Christian anthropologists. These statistics and generalizations were confirmed by friends of mine who's are in the field.

u/NewbombTurk · 3 pointsr/religion

Do you want me to send you a copy of Guns, Germs, and Steel?

u/braincow · 2 pointsr/askscience

The wiki article I linked to has a few decent references on why the hypothesis is incorrect (and also references to supporting evidence).

> The original "thrifty gene" hypothesis argued that famines were common and severe enough to select for thrifty gene in the 2.5 million years of human paleolithic history. This assumption is criticized by some anthropological evidence.[14][15][16] [17] Many of the populations that later developed high rates of obesity and diabetes appeared to have no discernible history of famine or starvation (for example, Pacific Islanders whose "tropical-equatorial islands had luxuriant vegetation all year round and were surrounded by lukewarm waters full of fish.").[15][16] Moreover, one of the most significant problems for the 'thrifty gene' idea is that it predicts that modern hunter gatherers should get fat in the periods between famines. Yet data on the body mass index of hunter-gatherer and subsistence agriculturalists clearly show that between famines they do not deposit large fat stores [17].

Also, Guns, Germs, and Steel devotes a couple chapters to discussion regarding the theory.

u/DavidByron · 2 pointsr/AskReddit

For politics there's a lot of heavy heavy stuff which is good but if you want something light and more story orientated but still good try Confessions of an Economic Hitman It's about how America came to dominate and exploit the third world.

If you can handle something a little heavier I'd suggest the free on-line copy of A People's History of the United States. It's an upbeat history of ordinary people struggling for their rights against the rich - stuff you don't get told at school.

Many people will suggest George Orwell's 1984 which is also free on-line but I'd read only half way through if you want to keep it a bit lighter because the ending is pretty goddam nasty and all the buzz words that the book entered into the English language (apart from "Room 101") are in the first half of the book.

For a great book on pre-history try Jared Diamond's Guns, Germs and Steel. Famous book with ideas you'll find very useful in conversations. It answers the question as to how come it was White Europeans going and beating up on everyone else instead of vice versa?

If you're not a conservative (and why would you be) you'll enjoy Bob Altemeyer's The Authoritarians. It's his research on why some people seem to act in irrational ways and it's free on-line again. Bonus: his writing style is very easy to read and it's short.

u/Rhianu · 2 pointsr/Alabama

Actually, their ancestors DIDN'T start out in the same socio-economic situation as everybody else. In fact, there isn't even a standard starting point for anyone. Each continent had different natural resources, and those people who happened to be lucky enough to be born on continents with better and more plentiful resources became more prosperous. The only reason white people became the most prosperous race is because Europe had better natural resources than any other continent on Earth (though Asia was a close second). The book Guns, Germs, and Steel by Jared Diamond reveals the absurdity of racial meritocracy.

Also, legal rights mean nothing if those in power still want to keep you down. The book The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander exposes how white politicians have used all sorts of creative and underhanded methods to keep black people uneducated and poor, despite the passage of apparent equal rights in the legal system.

u/mykart · 2 pointsr/TheRedPill

Oh jeesh this is embarrassing. Go read Guns, Germs, and Steel if you really want to know the thousands of reasons why North America and Europe is more stable than Africa and Asia.

Hint: Variations in female sexuality is not mentioned.

u/mementomary · 2 pointsr/Random_Acts_Of_Amazon

I pretty much only read non-fiction, so I'm all about books that are educational but also interesting :) I'm not sure what your educational background is, so depending on how interested you are in particular subjects, I have many recommendations.

Naked Statistics and Nate Silver's Book are both good!

Feeling Good is THE book on Cognitive Behaviour Therapy.

The Omnivore's Dilemma is good, as is Eating Animals (granted, Eating Animals is aimed at a particular type of eating)

Guns, Germs and Steel is very good.

I also very much enjoyed The Immortal Live of Henrietta Lacks, as well as Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman :)

edit to add: Chris Hadfield's Book which I haven't received yet but it's going to be amazing.

u/roconnor · 2 pointsr/canada

> Maybe the laws of nature just don’t allow for industrial efficiency principles to be applied to living beings.

Or maybe nature has been evolving epidemics ever since the neolithic revolution.

u/CKtheFourth · 2 pointsr/explainlikeimfive

There's a really good book that answers this question and a whole lot more

Jared Diamond - Guns Germs and Steel

u/Virnibot · 2 pointsr/aznidentity

Virnibot has detected a misspelling or incorrect use of grammar in your comment.


> I am also a white devil and tbh I think only morons idealize the culture and advancement of whites without looking at the blood that was spilt to propogate it, white people colonized and enslaved millions throughout history to get to where we are today. However the only people that think 18th century china were backwards are also morons and I doubt that they opened a single historical textbook.
>
> That being said, human nature is violent and opportunistic, you can't judge our ancestors with the world view of today, their simply wasn't the infrastructure in place for people to be co exist peacefully in the same manner as today. There was no antibiotics, no internet, no welfare, no democracy, limited legal and policing systems, no easy transport, no supermarkets the list goes on and on. Without these systems in place, people become greedy and mistrustful of each other.
> If one cut on your knee can get infected and kill you, leaving your family destitute and the average life expectancy was 30 then people are going to act alot more sociopathic, it becomes about survival, like actual life or death survival.
>
> The reality is human history is dirty and messy and violent, and pretending that any race or ethnicity is innocent from that is completely ignorant, its in our genes to be opportunistic and violent, its evolution and natural selection at work. We only became largely peaceful in the last 50 years because a) we developed to such a degree that working together economically was in our better interests than military and b) the deterrant of nuclear war and mutually assured destruction
>
> I recommend you read the following books: http://www.amazon.com/War-Before-Civilization-Peaceful-Savage/dp/0195119126
>
> Basically how all human societies are violent and
>
> http://www.amazon.com/Guns-Germs-Steel-Fates-Societies/dp/0393317552/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1449043242&sr=1-1&keywords=guns+germs+and+steel
>
> This book gives the reasons why civilizations rise and fall and why European culture became the dominant one post 19th century
> Essentially there are deterministic factors that are needed for any culture to prosper and white people inherited them all just because of geography and luck

  • You wrote alot which should have been a lot

  • You wrote propogate which should have been propagate


    <3 Good day Courtesy | Of | User Virnios
u/Deradius · 2 pointsr/AnythingGoesNews

>Remember when MTV filmed ODB on a limo ride to "get paid" at the welfare office with his welfare and foodstamps?

You believe that a disproportionate number of parasites are black because of one guy behaving irresponsibly?

Do you also believe that all black people are astrophysicists?

Let's get to the root of why you believe what it is that you believe.

>Nobody knows why all 47 sub Saharan countries in Africa are hellholes of disease, famine and poverty.

You should check out Guns, Germs, and Steel, if you're interested in this topic and you haven't read into it already. It does an awesome job answering this question, though I'd not have phrased it quite the way you did.

To sum it up, Africa, unlike Europe and the US, is situated on more of a North-South axis. Interestingly, this can make it much tougher (as a society) to transport resources and ideas from one place to another, stifling production and innovation and making it very difficult for industrial societies to develop. I don't do the concept justice, really, but it's a pretty cool concept and I highly recommend you check it out before you dismiss it out of hand.

There's also the exploitation of and tampering with these countries by first world nations that can make it tough for them to develop. It can be tough to develop a free and enlightened society when some first world power is buying ordnance for the oppressive regime du jour to accomplish whatever political goals they might have in the region.

And as you well know from following U.S. politics, corruption is certainly not exclusive to these nations.

>African American children are more than three times as likely as white children to be born into poverty and to be poor, and are more than four times as likely to live in extreme poverty.

Yep, and let's take a minute to talk about why.

Let's say that the first slaves arrived in the US in 1619.

Let's figure slavery ended with the emancipation proclamation, even though it didn't, which took place in 1863.

Let's suppose that oppression of blacks ended with the civil rights movement, which we will say happened at the nice round figure of 1960.

So you've got 244 years of slavery, in which, on the basis of their skin color, blacks were maintained almost exclusively as a servant class. They were deprived of education. They were deprived of any economic opportuniteis whatsoever. They were kept poor and undereducated specifically for the purpose of having them perform menial labor jobs.

From 1863 to 1960, you've got 97 years in which they were specifically targeted for oppression by society and government on the basis of their skin color alone. They were deprived access to equal facilities, they were deprived access to education, they were deprived access to educational opportunity.

The deliberate intent here was to create and maintain an economic servant class through the imposition of economic constraints, since it could no longer be done directly through legislation.

The effect was to create and perpetuate a system of generational poverty.

Black Americans could not obtain a quality education. They could to obtain quality jobs. As such, they could not amass financial resources either for themselves or for their offspring.

Those who lack education value education less and encourage it less in their offspring.

Those who have fewer resources are not able to provide resilient support networks for their offspring.

While having a car transmission die might be a bad thing for you or I, for someone stuck in generational poverty, it can be a catastrophe. Three jobs won't help you when you can't get to any of them, and not only do you not have the funds to fix the car - but neither does anyone in your support network.

You don't snap your fingers and get rid of three hundred and fifty years of baggage overnight. The grandparents of today's high schoolers, many of whom are directly raising those high schoolers, experienced direct educational and economic deprivation at the hands of an oppressive system.

It is, therefore, not particularly surprising that we see widespread problems in the African American community. They are the result of a deliberate and artificial imposition of educational and economic poverty, assigned along racial lines.

Affirmative action is an attempt to reverse the impact of negative racial poicies of the past by instituting 'beneficial' race-based policies in the present.

I (likely) agree with you that affirmative action is a bad idea.

Racism in the present, whatever form it takes, cannot possibly hope to correct racial injustice in the past.

Young people today do not need to be taught the lesson, "You deserve a leg up because of the color of your skin,", or "Because of the color of your skin, we don't think you can hack it, so you're being given a leg up." Both lessons are false and damaging.

Instead, policies should be instituted that differentially benefit artificially impoverished minorities until the disparities are resolved.

For example, a college scholarship that targets individuals who are the first in their family to go to college and whose parents fall below a certain income threshold will benefit a disproportionate number of African-American youths until the disparities are fixed, but will neither exclude eligible whites nor convey the wrong message to anyone.

>12.5% black population.

I was afraid of that.

Going back to the original quotation:

>How can a minority that does not work hard and is not as smart as the majority win the battle for scarce resources?

Please provide support for your generalization that black people, as a whole, do not work hard and are not as smart as 'the majority' (who I take to indicate white people based upon your reasoning - correct me if I'm wrong).

>60% of black students don't graduate high school. In NYC, that figure is 75%.

Does this have more to do with their capacity to achieve or with unstable home lives that are a product of generational poverty combined with an ongoing tradition of imposed racial inequality at the hands of police and school officials?

>72% of black babies are born to single mothers.

Does this have anything to do with the disproportionately high incarceration rate of African American males, stemming at least in part from differential enforcement of the laws?

u/alarmmightsound · 2 pointsr/SubredditDrama

Holy fuck, man.

> Typically they're defined by factors like economic performance, social stability, resources, political structure, etc.

So what made their economic performance, social stability, and political structure that of a 4th grade level? Who did that?

Here's something you should read to help you, and here's another, and I guess even this one, although it's not nearly as good. But I'm sure you won't- you just stumbled into a very complex topic with the faintest of knowledge- so it really doesn't matter. What you'd learn from it is that geography is about the only thing that is really deterministic in human development- everything else is what you decide to do. And geography isn't what's determining the difference between North and South Korea, so...

It seems as if we should be comparing them all, instead of infantilizing whole nations of people so you can make some awkward and cringeworthy conspiracy that isn't even correct anyway.

Wow. Just wow.

u/WhiteDove · 2 pointsr/atheism

If you are very curious I'd recommend reading Guns Germs & Steel for a fairly accurate (and interesting) summery of why Europe pretty much won Civ V. If you are only moderately curious the documentary is pretty informational as well.

TLDR; Europe is wide, and had more resources due to natural selection having more contiguous territory to play with.

Edit: Also, the southern hemisphere mostly consists of narrow landmasses. The argument is essentially that because the basic biomes are much larger in the northern hemispheres they had more 'advanced' plants and animals, essentially wolves, cattle(cows, sheep, pigs etc...) and grain. This jumpstarted northern societies so they were able to have the excess resources to develop technology (the guns and steel part). The germs were because they domesticated (and lived closely with) animals as well as traveled extensively. Once the oceans were conquered it was pretty much settled.

u/Vladha · 2 pointsr/explainlikeimfive

It was a combination of multiple factors. In short, humans have reached North America and the American continent in general much later than humans reached Europe. By the time Native Americans managed to develop crops and livestock, Europeans were way ahead of them with much better food, weapons and with diseases that the Native Americans were not used to.

If you are interested in this topic, I would recommend this book,
Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies.

u/WhineyThePooh · 2 pointsr/suggestmeabook

I remember really liking Lies My Teacher Told Me, which debunks common misinformation found in U.S. History text books. Though it might be not be as intellectual as he likes. Check it out, though.

There is another one my father-in-law gave great reviews, but I can't remember the title. I'll ask and edit if I figure it out.

Edit: Guns, Germs, and Steel!!! I haven't read it myself but it sounded interesting.

I also thought of The Master and Margarita, if he hasn't read it already. I bought this version, and a lot of the footnotes go into how the Russian political climate at the time influenced the novel. I thought it was very interesting.

u/golden_canary · 2 pointsr/TrollXChromosomes

Not u/misyo but I'm also a historian. Best overarching history series is [Blood, Germs, and Steel by Jared Diamond] (http://www.amazon.com/Guns-Germs-Steel-Fates-Societies/dp/0393317552) imo. It touches on a bunch of different historical eras and locations so it's pretty diverse. It is western-centric however, so you won't learn too much about any eastern history. That being said, the book doesn't ignore it either, so if it's relevant you'll get it. :)

u/bwv549 · 2 pointsr/exmormon

Thank you. I acknowledge that the topic is deep (far deeper than my training and study, and I've been studying the topic for quite some time).

I think Guns, Germs and Steel is great for exposing a person to lots of the data that scientists use to make these models and with some of the way these models are arrived at and reasoned with.

Other than that, I mostly go at it one wikipedia article, or one Young Earth Creationist debate, at a time. :) For real, I think that engaging in thoughtful debate with someone who holds an opposing viewpoint is a very quick way to bring yourself up to speed on the issues (gives you the opportunity and motivation to study one issue at a time). It's definitely still a work in progress for me.

u/alpacIT · 2 pointsr/geography

You've already had some good suggestions, which I'd suggest following. I have a BA in geography and even after school found these interesting reads.

Cultural and Historical Geography

Eratosthenes' "Geography"

The World of Gerard Mercator: The Mapmaker Who Revolutionized Geography

Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies

Race And Culture: A World View

Technical, GIS, Cartography

How to Lie with Maps

Thinking About GIS: Geographic Information System Planning for Managers

An Introduction to Geographical Information Systems

I know most of these won't be of much use with a BS degree, but gives you a good foundation for thinking geographically. For the more science aspects; a good understanding of physics, chemistry, and to a lesser extent biology, will really give you a leg up when starting out.

u/Ilickexpectedthings · 2 pointsr/Documentaries

>But why didn't they develop industry?

a book with hypotheses on that:

https://www.amazon.com/Guns-Germs-Steel-Fates-Societies/dp/0393317552

u/UtimateAgentM · 2 pointsr/AskReddit

Guns, Germs, and Steel. Why the world is the way it is.

Personally, I'd also choose To Kill a Mockingbird. It's accessible, engaging, and has real depth.

u/gibberfish · 2 pointsr/Documentaries

Haven't yet watched the documentary, but the description reminds me of Guns, Germs and Steel, an excellent book on the same subject.

The fact that Western culture dominates the world (for now) seems a given, but it's not so easy to explain why it wasn't, say, Sub-Saharan Africans or Native Americans that conquered the world.

If you're at all interested in how geography defines societies, why inventions were or weren't made by them, why conquests happened or didn't, and so on, I can really recommend this book. Easily one of the most fascinating I've ever read.

u/poopascoopa69 · 2 pointsr/Random_Acts_Of_Amazon

Oh, jeez. Just one?

I might as well say the one I'm reading now. It's Guns, Germs, and Steel by Jared Diamond. Everybody knows that Western Europe took over the world because they had better technology. Diamond tries to find out what factors led to that state of affairs, though. He gives a biologists' view of the last 13,000 years while also drawing on his experience with history and language.

u/fallenpollen · 2 pointsr/arabs

This author is right on the money! So many of us blame the current Arab situation on some kind of moral failing on the part of the people, but the reasons are usually tied to the bigger picture and the world around us.

'Guns, Germs, and Steel' by Jared Diamond expands on this so much in terms of the basic idea. Although its not specifically about the arab world and about all societies in general, its a fantastic read and i recommend it wholeheartedly.

And the take from all of this is quite positive in my opinion. The Arab world is currently undergoing a fundamental shift in terms of demography, economics, and education. As the Arab world starts to reach its full potential in these areas in the coming decades, I foresee wonderful advancement in our societies and resurgence of our historical status in the world as a whole.

u/GornoP · 2 pointsr/CasualConversation

The 100

Guns, Germs and Steel -- there was also a 3 part series on the history channel that condenses this.

Basic Knowledge -- I was given this as a gift, it's Dry as shit to try to just sit around and read, but super handy to look up stuff.

u/WikiRelevance · 2 pointsr/explainlikeimfive

The relevant wikipedia article on domestication explains that there are several traits that a species typically possess that enables them to become domesticated. For animals they should preferably have: a flexible diet, reproduce in captivity, fast growth and reproductive rate, pleasant disposition and good temperament, and should have a social hierarchy that humans can become apart and "alpha" of.

Some species don't have these traits, for example the Indri lemur of Madagascar does not breed in captivity. Another good example is the Zebra: "Attempts to domesticate many kinds of wild animals have been unsuccessful. The zebra is one example. Despite the fact that four species of zebra can interbreed with and are part of the same genus as the horse and the donkey, attempts at domestication have failed. Factors such as temperament, social structure and ability to breed in captivity play a role in determining whether a species can be successfully domesticated".

Domestication differs from taming. "the process whereby a population of living organisms is changed at the genetic level, through generations of selective breeding, to accentuate traits that ultimately benefit the interests of humans. A usual by-product of domestication is the creation of a dependency in the domesticated organisms, so that they lose their ability to live in the wild. This differs from taming in that a change in the phenotypical expression and genotype of the animal occurs, whereas taming is simply an environmental socialization/behavioral trait; the process by which animals become accustomed to human presence."

In actuality only a handful of animals have been truly domesticated. "In human history to date, only a few species of large animal have been domesticated. In approximate order of their earliest domestication these are: dog, sheep, goat, pig, ox, yak, reindeer, water buffalo, horse, donkey, llama, alpaca, Bactrian camel and Arabian camel." Jared Diamond's book guns, germs and steel explores how the natural distribution of these species influenced how cultures arose and how some gained dominance over others...simply because they were located in the right area where a domesticable species lived. It is one of the explanations he gives for the development of great city states in Eurasia, as opposed to say...Africa. Guns, germs and steel has also been made into an excellent movie by PBS

Domestication and Evolution

Domestication is an event, not a trait. There are certain heritable traits that make a species better suited for domestication (e.g. flexible diet). In those specific species these traits were selected for other reasons (e.g. a flexible diet is a good thing in a highly variable habitat where food resources fluctuate), specific to that species within its niche - not for some unforeseen future domestication event by humans. Remember that evolution has no goals or directions. And evolution cannot select something from nothing. First a trait or behaviour must exist within the population, then selective forces within their social or natural environment will dictate whether that trait remains or disappears. Domestication can also be described under aritifical selection which differs from natural selection in that the actor is not nature, but humans.

u/Sad_Wallaby · 2 pointsr/AskReddit
u/vinterzun · 2 pointsr/shittyaskhistory

If you really want to know, read Guns, Germs and Steel
Your question is what this book is all about. It's super interesting and the author does an amazing job of explaining it.

u/Zelazny7 · 2 pointsr/asoiaf

The answer to your "why did it start here instead of there" questions can be answered by reading Guns, Germs and Steel.

u/Neodamus · 2 pointsr/worldnews

There so many other factors. If you want to feel superior, you'll find some reason to. But that doesn't mean it's objectively correct. You may need to do some reading on the subject of why those cultures are "better" than others. You'll probably find it has absolutely nothing to do with the color of people's skin. Try reading this. It's a book about why cultures are the way they are.

u/Rose1982 · 2 pointsr/booksuggestions

Your dad sounds like my dad, and he loved this book that I got him- Guns, Germs and Steel.

It has great reviews.

u/veringer · 2 pointsr/JordanPeterson

Thanks for clearing all that up. I think your perspectives are deeply flawed and it's likely fruitless to debate with you. However, you might want to read Thomas Sowell's "Black Rednecks and White Liberals". He's one of the primary sources for my above comments and incidentally a black libertarian-conservative economist and social commentator. I think his work, and that book in particular, would resonate with you. From there, I'd recommend "Guns, Germs, and Steel" as a counter-point to you opinions regarding Africans, but you'd have to be open to challenging your current (pathological) memeplex.

> you can cry me a river and i still will not change my mind

This is not the sign of a wise person. You should try harder.

u/jaghutgathos · 2 pointsr/opieandanthony

Yo, dopey. Do some research. Believe it or not, languages are often related. Think of a set of grandparents. In Europe you might have two sets of grandparents and in Sub-Saharan Africa you might have 6 sets of grandparents. Even if Europe has more languages, if they are related (as they are) its easier to communicate than with fewer languages that are totally unrelated.

As to the animals - why do people not ride zebras? Do you think its from lack of trying? The domesticated animals that we have now were domesticated because they COULD be domesticated. Dummy.

Here is a good book related to the subject - its a wonderful read (seriously):
https://www.amazon.com/Guns-Germs-Steel-Fates-Societies/dp/0393317552

u/Nrussg · 2 pointsr/AskThe_Donald

No problem - like I said, history is my jam so I never mind talking about it.

In terms of history subs - I think /r/AskHistorians is great, and usually really well sourced - they have an FAQ that is fun to browse and a cool collection of best answers.

In terms of books, I would recommend Guns, Germs, and Steel - it is far from a perfect book (I don't agree with a lot of it) but it presents a very interesting perspective, and based of the types of things you were asking, I think you would really enjoy it. It's also fairly accessible as far as these types of books go. Just make sure you think of it as a starting point rather than an end point.

I would also recommend both Mike Duncan's podcasts (the History of Rome - dealing with Roman History, and Revolutions - dealing with various historical revolutions) Dan Carlin's Hardcore History podcast is also pretty good and spans a lot of topics.

If you're in college or have the opportunity to attend classes, I'd also recommend just trying out a class on non-European history.

If you ever have any questions feel free to message me.

u/antonbe · 1 pointr/AskHistorians

I've immersed myself in science and history my whole life and quite possibly the best book I've ever come across that condenses everything in a sequential order is "A Short History of Nearly Everything" by Bill Bryson.

> In A Walk in the Woods, Bill Bryson trekked the Appalachian Trail—well, most of it. In A Sunburned Country, he confronted some of the most lethal wildlife Australia has to offer. Now, in his biggest book, he confronts his greatest challenge: to understand—and, if possible, answer—the oldest, biggest questions we have posed about the universe and ourselves. Taking as territory everything from the Big Bang to the rise of civilization, Bryson seeks to understand how we got from there being nothing at all to there being us. To that end, he has attached himself to a host of the world’s most advanced (and often obsessed) archaeologists, anthropologists, and mathematicians, traveling to their offices, laboratories, and field camps. He has read (or tried to read) their books, pestered them with questions, apprenticed himself to their powerful minds. A Short History of Nearly Everything is the record of this quest, and it is a sometimes profound, sometimes funny, and always supremely clear and entertaining adventure in the realms of human knowledge, as only Bill Bryson can render it. Science has never been more involving or entertaining.

The book is simply amazing. I learn something new from it everytime I read it and I highly recommend it to everyone from an uneducated teenager to a PhD carrying senior!

While you're at it, I would also recommend the rest of his books. Bryson is an amazing nonfiction writer (I daresay one of the best in the world) and his penmanship will captivate you. Just search for him on Amazon and pick another one of his books up in a category that interests you as he writer about a very broad range of topics.

Edit: Also, I highly recommend "Guns, Germs, and Steel" by Jared M. Diamond. and Freakonomics by Steven D. Levitt

u/Poland_Is_Kill · 1 pointr/worldnews

Any history text book ever and literally a quick google search would confirm what xboxmodscangostickit (sorry if I misspelled that) said but anyways if your really interested I recommend this book Guns, Germs, and Steel it goes into detail on why the native Americans did not develop technologically as much as Europe and how foreign diseases helped wipe them out. http://www.amazon.com/Guns-Germs-Steel-Fates-Societies/dp/0393317552/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1425368583&sr=8-1&keywords=Guns%2C+Germs%2C+and+Steel

u/Iamaleafinthewind · 1 pointr/todayilearned

You keep focusing on race.

It had nothing to do with magic race powers. White folks aren't magically superior, Islanders aren't magically inferior.

A low-tech culture encountered a high-tech culture. It had nothing to do with the specific cultures in play - the dynamics are universally bad for the low-tech / undeveloped culture in these situations, from the perspective of retaining independence.

The reality is that they now have self-rule, which monarchy ISN'T, and access to all the benefits of the higher-tech culture, which are desirable by people in general, regardless of WHO manages to develop them first. Yes, new problems arise as technology advances, but that's part of life.

In any case, my point stands - race isn't a determinant in the outcome of these situations. Read Guns, Germs, Steel sometime if you want a better idea what is.

u/ocktick · 1 pointr/AskReddit

Jared Diamond - Guns Germs and Steel would disagree, it's incredibly interesting, you should consider reading it.

u/Captain_Waffle · 1 pointr/AskReddit

Guns, Germs and Steel by Jared Diamond. One of the best-written books I've ever read, a historical look at how geographical and environmental factors shaped the modern world. Basically how we (societies) can all come from the same place and yet be so drastically varied from place to place over the course of thousands of years. Not only is it immensely interesting and thoughtful, but the writing is exquisite.

u/kalimashookdeday · 1 pointr/AskHistorians

There are lots of different theories out there, some stronger than others. One that you may find interesting and that I enjoyed reading and getting more insight on is that of Jared Diamond. He has a book called, Guns, Germs, and Steel I would recommend as a good read for a theory about this. There are some criticisms of Diamond, but most theories have a few.

Diamond's book discusses plenty of reasonings and ideas for why societies in Europe/Asia developed. He starts by explaining ideas of a hunter gathering society's limitations on technological advancement as well as the society/cultural connotations versus those of agrarian societies (who invented farming). A huge difference being farming societies had more time to develop other areas and skills (technology, art, etc.).

Another one of his compelling ideas is that horizontally oriented societies benefited more from similiar plants, animals, and trade versus societies who were oriented vertically. Due to climate and simliarities in culture (in horizontally oriented societies) the spread of technology, domestication, and availability of different animals and resources aided man's ability to develop faster than Native cultures on North America for instance.

u/rogue417 · 1 pointr/AskReddit

You should read this

u/apullin · 1 pointr/AdviceAnimals

That's where it starts to get pretty tricky. I assume that you've read Guns, Germs, and Steel, wherein the domestication of plants and animals is talked about, and reminds me of the very point that you're raising.

I'm not sure. Would the corn propagate without our intervention? There are seedless plants that wouldn't, for example. But I'm not sure, I don't have a great answer here.

Consider the native American Three Sisters method, where they specifically use systems of natural occurrence for the benefit of the crops.

u/Heyorant · 1 pointr/uwaterloo

>Again, name a non-asian stable country.

>not knowing when our stability started, not knowing Western history, forgetting what nuance is yet again

>White people built the cities and their wealth

Fuck off. Don't reply to me anymore. I'm done with this White Pride^TM historically revisionist bullshit. Non-white people aren't people to you, and any of their contributions, innovation, or leadership in the Western world since its inception are invalid, so frankly, you aren't a person to me either. Your brand of culture that you express is trash.

It's cultish vomit, you should kys, and you should export yourself elsewhere where you aren't enjoying the fruits of past immigrants' labour out of ethical commitment.

Not completely on this topic (I don't have the time to find literature on hand for our conversation), but because of your illiteracy (combined with brash, dehumanizing extremity) I've noticed in some areas, here are a few accessible books I'd recommend reading in general

https://books.google.ca/books?id=XzJdpd8DbYEC&printsec=frontcover&redir_esc=y#v=onepage&q&f=false

http://www.amazon.com/Why-West-Rules-Now-Patterns/dp/0312611692

http://www.amazon.com/Guns-Germs-Steel-Fates-Societies/dp/0393317552

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Europe_and_the_People_Without_History

and, just to really get on your nerves, here's some interesting triggering history of philosophy

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Muqaddimah

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ibn_Khaldun

http://www.historyofphilosophy.net/islamic-world

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ibn_al-Haytham

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Avicenna

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Averroes

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Al-Ghazali

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shahab_al-Din_Yahya_ibn_Habash_Suhrawardi

http://www.salaam.co.uk/knowledge/al-jahiz.php

Islamic scholars also scoured the earth to obtain copies of books and texts so that they may build on that knowledge and share it with future generations. But progression in society is not always a certainty.

u/russilwvong · 1 pointr/suggestmeabook

"The March of Folly" is a pretty easy read. A good place to start. The focus is primarily on the Vietnam War, though.

Jared Diamond's Guns, Germs, and Steel argues that the origins of civilizations are closely tied to the invention and spread of agriculture. Also an easy read. Won the Pulitzer Prize.

I'd also recommend William McNeill's A World History for a broad overview of human history, starting with the ancient civilizations.

u/RochnessMonster · 1 pointr/history

https://www.amazon.com/Guns-Germs-Steel-Fates-Societies/dp/0393317552

​

Book I read last year after a deep dive into Carlin's Hardcore History podcast. I got curious about how and why certain civilizations form the way they do and how quickly they advance, and I knew if you toss out the obvious, wrong answer (racism) there had to be a whole bucket of knowledge exploring it.

u/Fireclave · 1 pointr/worldbuilding

This might be overkill to suggest, but you might be interested in the book "Guns, Germs, and Steel", by Jared Diamond. It's an archaeological exploration of causes behind why power, wealth, and technology became so unevenly distributed around the world. It explores factors such as environment, resources, agriculture, and culture. It's certainly good food for thought for these kind of questions.

u/fridgidfallus · 1 pointr/alaska

I agree with you that equality is a fallacy that doesn't really exist. Some people are simply born with better tools in their toolbox. Some people are nicer, smarter, better looking, and some people are are dumb, ugly, assholes. That's just the way of the world. However, the notion that race determines any sort of objective intelligence characteristic has been roundly rejected by the anthropological, biological, and sociological communities (read: all of credible science). Yes, race can determine your height, color of your skin, your hair type, but it does not determine your intelligence. Any studies that claim that race does this have been show to be using a biased test. Giving a kid from the Sahara a #2 pencil and asking him to complete an IQ test in English, isn't really a fair measuring stick. One also has to remember that race and culture are two related but different things. You are born WITH your race INTO your culture. There can definitely be cultures that place different levels of value on certain types of intelligence, decorum, physical beauty, etc and therefore cause their cultural members to strive for/away from those certain characteristics. But the thought that onc group is inherently better or smarter based on their race is the textbook definition of racism and asking for a separation of people based along these lines is extremely racist. Most of the differences that are apparent today have a lot more to do with opportunity, access to resources, geography, and well.. simple luck. I recommend Jared Diamond's Guns, Germs, and Steel. In there he very eloquently explains a lot of the factors that lead to Europeans finding their way to the top of the heap.

That being said, if you want to have one country that is whites only that's totally fine for you to want it. But you gotta realize that's a pretty racist thing to want. I don't accept the notion that a homogeneous society is inherently better than a mixed race one. I have heard you claim that no one has provided tangible evidence of the benefits of a mixed race society. That is very difficult because the main benefits are acceptance and open mindedness and those are not very tangible benefits in the sense you are looking for. But I would ask you to explain to me the credible and tangible benefits to a homogeneous society. And we have to remember that correlation does not equal causation. Show me something credible that proves the link.

u/terpichor · 1 pointr/geography

Great Maps seems to come up sometimes when people are talking about good geography books, as well as Maps: Their Untold Stories. I have a list somewhere of good map books, I'll check when I get home.

For geology, Assembling California is pretty accessible, as are most of his books.

If they haven't read it, Guns, Germs, and Steel is pretty great for people who are interested in geography. It's more anthropology, but he talks a lot about how the physical spaces people built settlements in affected how they developed.

Do you know any more details of what kind of geology in particular they like?

u/haroldp · 1 pointr/gifs

>Sometimes, you can even pry open the peach pit and see something that looks just like a shelled almond inside. You probably don't want to eat that though. I believe they have cyanide in them.

So do almonds, or WILD almonds did, anyway. But the cyanide producing gene switches off frequently and it was relatively easy to domesticate them.

Oak tree acorns are ALSO poisonous to humans, but sometimes that gene switches off and they aren't. Story is, in hard times, people used to know the oak tree in town that was ok to eat. However, oak trees were never domesticated because they take so long to grow, and also squirrels ruin everything.

Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies

u/MisterE_MD · 1 pointr/history

After I graduated high school/college, one of the first books I picked up for myself was A Short History of the World by H G Wells. It's ~300 pages and, I'm sure, is not a perfect account of world history... but, Wells takes the universe back to its origins to his present day (post WWI).

If you just want an explanation as to how civilizations formed and why some seem more successful than others, I loved Guns, Germs, & Steel. My world history teacher used it as a template for our course, and I read it after. Excellent book.

u/MercuryChaos · 1 pointr/race

There's more to it. I don't really have the time or desire to explain it all to you, and it'd probably be just as easy for you to read the book yourself anyway. Your local library probably has it, or you can get used copies on Amazon for around $5.

u/cantidokun · 1 pointr/BlackPeopleTwitter

Troll or not. The best book on the issue you're so wrong about.

https://www.amazon.com/Guns-Germs-Steel-Fates-Societies/dp/0393317552

u/Mercury_NYC · 1 pointr/explainlikeimfive

If you have a chance, read "Guns, Germs and Steel", it goes into detail exactly how we got to the industrial revolution and what factors caused it.

u/kandoras · 1 pointr/books

The (mostly complete) collection of works by Mary Roach. They're pop science, but great reads.

Guns, Germs, and Steel and Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed by Jared Diamond. Both great books on how different cultures either became more or less powerful than others (how come large civilizations took longer to rise in sub-Saharan Africa than in Europe) and why some societies just failed completely (Easter Island).

Lies My Teacher Told Me. It shows a lot of details that a typical high school American History textbook just glosses over or ignores.

u/simmelianben · 1 pointr/writing

> do you know of any helpful formatting guides?

Here's a google search
that may help you get started. That said, just getting the words onto paper will be the hardest, longest portion of the work.

I would also suggest reading some non-fiction books for ideas of how you can layout your ideas.

"Group Theory in the Bedroom" for instance uses essays with postscripts/afterwords for each chapter. Each 'chapter' is it's own, self-contained work. You could yank out any chapter and have a cohesive work.

Meanwhile, "Guns, Germs, and Steel" breaks down more by topic/question and ties them together for a summary "the whole is greater than the parts" ending. You cannot take out a portion and still get the whole idea. They all intertwine.

Then you have biographies of all sorts that basically start with "So and so was born" and tell the story from there. You can yank out a portion and get a cohesive idea about "so and so's" high school years or education, but not the entire person.

I'd suggest leaning towards a Guns, Germs, and Steel style if you can. Tying together how fried chicken carries across cultures, connects huge portions of the planet, and carries an huge amount of "cultural capital" in popular culture and real life would be huge.

Some examples you can borrow/develop:

  • KFC is huge in China, bigger than McDonalds even.
  • The Japanese celebrate Christmas by eating KFC
  • The film "The Help" includes Fried Chicken as a crucial plot point as a black woman teaches her white employer how to make it properly. Fried Chicken is a form of "Cultural capital" in the film.



    Last words: You're looking at the phenomenon of Fried Chicken, so sociological concepts like Phenomenonology and other Sociological terms will help you in the research phase of your question. Cultural rifts about fried chicken and "the right" way to make it for example will likely be discussed using terms like "cultural lag" and "norms".
u/hulahulagirl · 1 pointr/suggestmeabook

I enjoyed the audio version of Don't Know Much About Mythology and have heard good things about other books in the series as well.

Guns, Germs and Steel is another one that covers a lot of ground but ties it all together.

u/MiffedMouse · 1 pointr/AskHistorians

Not books, but I recommend CGPGrey's videos on topics such as the formation of the commonwealth for some anecdotal discussion of how modern states are structured. Crash Course World History is another good series that gives extremely quick (~10-15 minutes) overviews of a variety of topics historians like to discuss.

As for books - many of the more interesting books are on specific topics. Guns, Germs, and Steel is an interesting discussion on why some societies do better than others. Stuff matters is a neat discussion of how modern materials came to be. Honestly, I think it is more fun to pick a topic that interests you and dig into that topic specifically. You will probably learn about other things as necessary along the way. One of Dan Carlin's Common Sense podcasts, Controlling the Past, discusses this very idea.

Some of my favorite "history" books aren't even sold as "history" books. The Emperor of all Maladies is a fascinating look at the history of cancer. As a kid I loved David Macaulay's Building Big, which discusses large structures in America. And an embarrassing amount of my knowledge on other countries comes from folktale anthologies.

If you are interested in international politics specifically, I would suggest looking for books on the UN and NATO (two of the biggest international organizations right now).

u/fiendlittlewing · 1 pointr/AskHistory

According to historian Jared Daimond, it's because of geography and resources. In his book, Guns Germs and Steele, Daimond argues that Eurasia had more species of domesticateable animals and plants, and could spread these resources and ideals better because the continent existed on an East/West orientation rather than the North/South orientation of the Americas and Africa. (this is an advantage because climate is more similar across the same latitude than it is across the same longitude.)

For some details, the youtuber CGP Grey has some good videos. For all the details, you could read Dimond's Book.

u/Nobusuma · 1 pointr/explainlikeimfive

As stated Guns, Germs, and Steel by Jared Diamond. The region played a factor. Focusing on Europe, Europe had easy access of travel due to the Mediterranean sea. In broader view they had the silk road. There is a book called Why Nations Fail. A very interesting read. Out of dozens of examples the book shares, I will point out two that help shape Europe; the first being the story of Hercules and second the Black Death. The story of Hercule enabled a change in thought over the centuries as greek men went to the Olympics trying two win fame and glory for themseleves. The individual. The Black death on the other hand destroyed the working class and enabled a change in the current western system.

u/_WishIThoughtOfThat · 1 pointr/history

Guns, Germs and Steel by Jared Diamond covers pretty much most of these details, while looking at how different societies progressed differently.

u/PMme_Your_Problem · 1 pointr/pics

Ahahaha. Ha.
Your bullshit theory that you use to justify the blatant racism of yours is not going to get you far, amigo. Stop trying.

Have you ever heard of the Guns, Germs, and Steel theory? I don't count on it, so I'm going to educate you on it if you would like to consider some truth for a change. Guns, Germs, and Steel (hereafter referred to as "GGS") states that no race is superior to another due to its genetics or culture, but rather due to being incredibly lucky in geography, wildlife, plant-life, and their culmination with farming and so forth. The GGS theory is constantly getting stronger with every circumstance it is applied to. It does state that Caucasian people have essentially 'won' the literal human race, as Caucasian people were the ones to settle an entirely new continent, have won every colonial battle, and have propagated their religions the furthest.

To start off with a very shortened version of world's history with relation to man, people first moved out of Africa and into the Middle East. There they let go of their nomadic lifestyles and settled next to rivers and took advantage of crops like barley and wheat, which could have multiple harvests, easy planting styles, and could last long times in grains reserves before becoming inedible. They also were the first to domesticate animals that were around them, like cows, sheep, goats, pigs, horses. This was due to them being herd animals, and once they controlled the leader of the herd they could control the entire herd. Thus they had plentiful food, plentiful meat and milk, and this created a loop of positive feedback, with animals feeding on harvest leftovers and then fertilising the fields. This eventually allowed room for creativity within the small communities, as there was no need for every person the a farmer now. They started specialising in different skills, and then invented plaster, by hearing rock rubble and mixing with water (my knowledge of plaster is limited, correct me if needed). These skills branched out widely. But eventually they had to move out of the Fertile Crescent. Evidence suggests that this was due to over-farming and unrestrained use of surrounding natural resources. They moved eastwards and westwards. In this they had their second major advantage; their continent itself, Eurasia. Eurasia is spread out majorly on the east-west axis. This provides an advantage in that those people could take their crops and animals with them and not worry about growth of them, as the climate does not change greatly along line of latitude, but not so for longitude. This allowed them to settle in the Europe proper and east Asia.

So to summarise so far, the early people have had advantages with agriculture, domestic animals, and geography. But it only goes further. Some of the broader ideals is that due to their close contact with animals, these people contracted diseases from their animals, but eventually gained immunity to these diseases. People they would eventually come in contact with would contract these germs, and because they have no natural immunity, would start dying off. Guns have been instrumental in their progress, as there has only been one battle in history where the side with guns lost against those without guns (The battle of blood river). Steel has led to the production of guns, of plate armour, and of trains which have been vital to the creation of larger empires and countries.

So read up on the topic! Educate yourself! I'll make it easier. Here: Buy a copy of it on Amazon, its worth it. , or just read the Wikipedia page, I'm not a cop. So maybe one day, instead of posting on a thread like this, you can post on a thread like this

No one needs to 'win' this debate. We can both leave with newer opinions, not necessarily for worse or for better.

u/brownribbon · 1 pointr/explainlikeimfive

There are too many reasons to post here. I recommend reading the book Guns, Germs, and Steel by Jared Diamond (or at least the miniseries--available on Netflix last I checked).

Some of the main reasons include:

  • No domesticable pack animals in the Americas to do work. Eurasia has things like cows, horses, etc. that could be tamed and trained to do hard labor like plowing fields and hauling carts. The closest such animal in the Americas is the llama/alpaca, native to northern South America. This made food production in the Americas more human labor intensive which took away time from other endeavors.

  • The Americas are "taller" than they are "wide." That is, they cover a greater range of latitudes than longitudes. The opposite is true of Eurasia. As it turns out, crops, technology, and people diffuse less efficiently north/south than they do east/west. This is primarily due to climates being more even along latitudes than longitudes. This retardation in trade would slow the exchange of ideas, and therefore technological development.

  • The Americas have fewer cereal crops (rice, wheat, barley, corn, sorghum, etc.) native to them compared to Eurasia. These are the crops that are responsible for the establishment of agriculture and, as a result, sedentary societies. A sedentary society (i.e., one that is not picking up and moving itself every few months to follow food supplies) is one that can allow for specialization. Some people will become really good farmers and can produce enough food such that others can pursue different fields. With fewer available crops there were fewer opportunities in the Americas to establish such societies.

    Again, there are reasons beyond these and everything I just listed is conjecture. Human development was an incredibly complex process and for every example supporting one argument there is another example that refutes it.
u/dshakir · 1 pointr/MurderedByWords

Are you referring to when human development was at a standstill? Sure, caveman.

We didn’t start progressing until trade routes and the exchange of values, ideas and cultures became prevalent though.

https://www.amazon.com/Guns-Germs-Steel-Fates-Societies/dp/0393317552

u/Klaatuprime · 1 pointr/pics

That's not quite the way it happened. I'd suggest reading Guns, Germs, and Steel by Jared Diamond, but I'm guessing you aren't letting any information in that you didn't get off Stormfront.

u/-MadGadget- · 1 pointr/ArtefactPorn

You should read Guns Germs and Steel! It's a super interesting analysis of why it happened that way.

u/walkswithwolfies · 1 pointr/pics
u/The-zKR0N0S · 1 pointr/new_right
u/Hollowgolem · 1 pointr/history

If you want a book that takes a look at this dynamic, regarding pack animals, check out Guns, Germs, and Steel by Jared Diamond or Why the West Rules—for Now by Ian Morris.

u/yo2sense · 1 pointr/AmericanPolitics

> "Why did Europeans rule the world, more or less, at one time? Because of Evolution and they were superior, or because God blessed them?"

So either whites are naturally superior or are superior because God has given some special blessing to whites? I reject both racist options. And so does science. Guns, Germs, and Steel is a good place to start informing yourself about these things before you put your foot in your mouth again.

u/Canadian_Infidel · 1 pointr/canada

The fact white people took over was basically chance. You should read the book Guns, Germs and Steel.

u/Keeping_itreal · 1 pointr/Anarcho_Capitalism

> absent the necessary punishments of parasitism?

Are you claiming that this can only be provided by a State? Come on man, you're better than that.

>Your guys' political economy has no other explanation for why Africa is so low trust other than "they were brainwashed, man!"

I don't know which "guys" you are referring to, but I personally find the issue far more complex than that. In my opinion, there are environmental, cultural and ultimately genetic reasons why we Africans are so damn poor. We were not just "brainwashed, man".

u/Comet7777 · 1 pointr/worldnews
u/machete_io · 1 pointr/history

If this topic really interests you, you'll really like the book "Guns, Germs and Steel" by Jared Diamond. It discusses the multitude of ways that make some civilizations spread and dominate others. IIRC, a contributing factor for the "migration" to Europe was that originally the Tigris/Euphrates had a ton of forrest and as the society advanced they essentially cut it all down and it turned into a desert.

Here is a link to the book: http://www.amazon.com/Guns-Germs-Steel-Fates-Societies/dp/0393317552

u/lifestream87 · 1 pointr/history
u/Nixon737 · 1 pointr/AskReddit

You're right, but only in the technical sense. Even today, in smaller chiefdoms and tribes in places like New Guinea, the murder rate per capita is much higher than in 'civilized' countries. This isn't so much an evolution of human civility, but a result of organized government. If someone wrongs you, there is a system in place to exact retribution, where as in the above mentioned areas the only recourse is often direct physical action, often reciprocated a few times before settling down.

Source

Personally, I think it's more important that you know where your food comes from, something too many people don't seem to care about. I eat meat, but luckily I can afford to buy from local farms where I know the animals were treated with care up until their slaughter. Sources of non-meat food can be just as bad if not worse than the killing of an animal for a meal. If the source of your daily cereal comes from an industrial farm dumping fertilizers and chemicals into a gulf, or employs horrendous working conditions, it's really not much better than buying a Tyson chicken breast.

u/glennerooo · 1 pointr/askscience

this won't address your question thoroughly but it talks a lot about these kinds of topics and even mentions a very similar question in the first few chapters: Guns, Germs and Steel.

u/CleverPunWithBadWord · 1 pointr/AskSocialScience

I think you might enjoy some books that often serve as a learning tool for many sociology students.

A Shopkeeper's Millennium by Paul E. Johnson.

Obedience to Authority by Stanley Milgram.

Guns, Germs and Steel by Jared Diamond.

War and Empire by Paul Atwood.

Each book is either a study to prove or present a hypothesis, so naturally tries to present evidence in a simple and clear way. No extended parts on boring sociological theory. The books are all easy to read and understand, and most importantly they are all a pretty good read.
One thing they all have in common is that their value or methodology is often controversial and highly debated in many crowds.

For instance, the Milgram book is the foundation for the famous Milgram Yale Shock Experiments in the 60's, so naturally there is the issue with ethics and methodology. If I remember correctly, this study is the reason any scientist today has to have his/her work approved by an Ethics Committee every time human subjects are involved.

War and Empire is a bit far-fetched at times, but is still very engaging, and at times hard to put away. Some might argue that it falls under 'History' more than 'Sociology', but because of how recent a lot of the topics are, I think there is real value there within sociology.

Guns, Germs and Steel is basically an overly simplified answer to a very complex and multidimensional question, but it's still a very fun idea to explore when you read it. Most people in the social sciences have heard of this book, and with it most people have also heard a lot of criticism.

The Shopkeeper's Millennium is probably the "best" of the four, as it often used as a "benchmark" for many sociology students on how historical research is conducted and used to present a study. The book is old, but it's still taught at many colleges to this day.

Based on your request, I think the Milgram book would be the most interesting for you to start with. Simply put the purpose of the study was to see if there is a correlation between obedience and the presence of authority.

I've also read a few books on poverty and unemployment in the Black and Latino communities. If that sounds interesting, let me know and I'll see if I can dig up some titles and names for you.

EDIT: Fixed some words.

u/KillYourHeroesAndFly · 1 pointr/books
u/kingkong672 · 1 pointr/history
u/Reputedly · 1 pointr/explainlikeimfive

Something like that! There's a lot more to be said on the topic, if you're interested. Jared Diamond's Guns, Germs, and Steel talks about a lot of what I mentioned above in greater detail (there's also a pretty good PBS Documentary based on the book).

u/dizzyelk · 1 pointr/Christianity

So far the best book I've read has been Guns, Germs, and Steel. Right now I'm reading Botany of Desire, which is pretty interesting. And after I finish that I think something old-fashioned and cheesy would be nice. So I'm probably going to read Edgar Rice Burroughs's Venus series.

u/frooben · 1 pointr/DebateFascism

If you can read German get Solzhenitsyn first, it has not yet officially been translated into English because the Jews control all publishing. I have also refrained from providing books on science and philosophy and kept it to history because it would become too expansive:

u/Gorm_the_Old · 1 pointr/history

There's a lot of discussion on this subject, and a lot of debate between academics, but no real consensus. Some people think they have the answer - William McNeill is an older example and Jared Diamond is a more recent example - but the debate is still ongoing.

I would say, though, that at a very basic level, the Old World was simply larger and more interconnected than the New World. With more people in the Old World and more people connected to each other, technology was developed more quickly and transmitted across a wider distance. That meant that even though the Old World had its ups, like the dramatic technological advancement of the Roman Empire, and its downs, like the Mongol conquest, it more or less moved forward.

The New World actually had significantly better technology several hundred years prior to the arrival of the conquistadors. The Mayan civilization was much more advanced than the Aztec civilization, including a much more sophisticated system of writing that let them preserve knowledge. But the Mayans went into a long-term decline for reasons that are still not entirely clear. They didn't have as much contact with neighboring groups as civilizations in the Old World did, so when they went into decline, they took much of their technology with them. Contrast that with the fall of Rome - even as Rome fell, much of its knowledge and technology was preserved in the Islamic world or in the monasteries of Europe. That didn't happen for the Mayans, and so the native peoples that were met by the conquistadors were significantly behind where they had been a thousand years previous.

u/Morazan1823 · 1 pointr/history

Diamond, Jared. Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies. New York:Norton, 1999. Print.

Paperbacks on Amazon selling from $5.50

E:

If you're into Mythical Legends, The Nobel Literature Prize winning author, Miguel Angel Asturias wrote Legends of Guatemala, a collection of Mayan Mythical Legends. I highly recommend it, it's a bit trippy, and surreal. $13 on Amazon.

... And there's Popol Vuh, The 'Book of Genesis' for the Mayan people. It's FREE via PDF, starts at page 51. If I recall my favorite story, two brothers (Xb‘alanke & Junajpu) avenge the demons who killed their father. They are summoned to the seven level of Hell and are forced to play an ancient form of what is soccer (World's first sport, Mayans invented the rubberized ball), for their lives... they failed purposely and escape with their lives to accept harder challenges, in order to find the head demon and obtain sweet revenge, It's an epic.

u/DrImpeccable76 · 1 pointr/HistoryWhatIf

http://www.viewsoftheworld.net/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/CroplandsMap_GriddedCartogram.jpg

Why exactly do you think that North America, Europe and Asia have so much more cropland than Africa and South America?
What do you think people do when they are more fertile land which requires fewer farmers to keep them alive? They become more educated, develop more advanced infrastructure, create technology at a much faster pace, etc. Just as an example, about 2% of the US population works in agriculture, 15% of Brazilians do the same.

And since you seem to like books so much (despite not even linking one that backs up your statments): https://www.amazon.com/Guns-Germs-Steel-Fates-Societies/dp/0393317552/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1466407800&sr=8-1&keywords=guns+germs+and+steel

Anyway, I don't want to act like cultural factors don't make any difference in the economic development over long periods of time becaue they certainly do, but you should not ignore the fact that certain parts of the world (such as Europe and North America) have climates and natural resources that are much more conducive to economic development.

u/Just1MoreYear · 1 pointr/Anarcho_Capitalism

Which time periods and which parts?

This has already been explained throughouly by so many people. A great resource is this book:
https://www.amazon.com/Guns-Germs-Steel-Fates-Societies/dp/0393317552

There are several factors including geography, environment, and so on.

I'm certain you've never been to the Middle East or Africa.

u/jchiu003 · 1 pointr/OkCupid

Depends on how old you are.

  • Middle school: I really enjoyed this, this, and this, but I don't think I can read those books now (29) without cringing a little bit. Especially, Getting Things Done because I already know how to make to do list, but I still flip through all 3 books occastionally.

  • High school: I really enjoyed this, this, and this, but if you're a well adjusted human and responsible adult, then I don't think you'll find a lot of helpful advice from these 6 books so far because it'll be pretty basic information.

  • College: I really enjoyed this, this, and started doing Malcolm Gladwell books. The checklist book helped me get more organized and So Good They Can't Ignore You was helpful starting my career path.
  • Graduate School: I really enjoyed this, this, and this. I already stopped with most "self help" books and reading more about how to manage my money or books that looked interesting like Stiff.

  • Currently: I'm working on this, this, and this. Now I'm reading mostly for fun, but all three of these books are way out of my league and I have no idea what their talking about, but they're areas of my interest. History and AI.
u/s3ddd · 1 pointr/books

Guns Germs & Steel by Jered Diamond

u/internetcamel · 0 pointsr/todayilearned

Hey you should really [read this] (http://www.amazon.com/Guns-Germs-Steel-Fates-Societies/dp/0393317552) I mean yea maybe this one instance is wrong but for sure Native Americans were purposefully infected. It doesnt take a statistician or modern doctor to realize how much more deadly the disease was for them.

u/Electric2097 · 0 pointsr/CringeAnarchy

Now, I know you probably make it a point not to read anything written by some filthy no-good Jew, but you should take a look at this book.

u/this_is_who_I_am · 0 pointsr/todayilearned

I'm not citing anything, I'm saying that this technology hasn't even been around long enough for us to study the long-term effects! Long-term doesn't mean 3 years. It doesn't mean 20 years. By long-term, I mean:

What genetic mutations might take place our offspring, and in turn, THEIR offspring, due to the strange games we're playing with food today?

You have to look at this from an evolutionary perspective. Man has been cultivating and eating wheat, and unintentionally modifying the wheat we eat, for 40,000 years. Same with fruits and vegetables - by planting the seeds of the best looking fruits from the best looking fruit trees, and not the worst-looking fruits from the worst-looking fruit trees, man genetically modified that fruit, albeit completely unintentionally.

That is a completely different kind of modification than taking the DNA from an animal species and splicing it into the DNA of a plant species. Just because there haven't been any negative side effects yet does not mean that years or decades down the road we're not going to see a bunch of issues from it.

Cancer has been around for a long, long time, and we have linked some things to be possible causes. But cancer has become so widespread in recent years because of the terrible things we put in our bodies and the things to which we expose our bodies over and over again. Every cell we have in our bodies gets its nutrients from what we consume, and if we consume things that our bodies aren't supposed to consume, it causes problems!

Here's your citation - Guns, Germs, and Steel - the Fates of Human Societies

u/lamamafia · -1 pointsr/MapPorn

For anyone interested in what /u/cos_dasis saying... read Guns, Germs and Steel.

There's also a movie which you can find easily...

u/xbayuldrd · -1 pointsr/AskHistorians

This book talks a lot about that stuff. I recommend it.

u/maoiguy · -1 pointsr/aznidentity

I am also a white devil and tbh I think only morons idealize the culture and advancement of whites without looking at the blood that was spilt to propogate it, white people colonized and enslaved millions throughout history to get to where we are today. However the only people that think 18th century china were backwards are also morons and I doubt that they opened a single historical textbook.

That being said, human nature is violent and opportunistic, you can't judge our ancestors with the world view of today, their simply wasn't the infrastructure in place for people to be co exist peacefully in the same manner as today. There was no antibiotics, no internet, no welfare, no democracy, limited legal and policing systems, no easy transport, no supermarkets the list goes on and on. Without these systems in place, people become greedy and mistrustful of each other.
If one cut on your knee can get infected and kill you, leaving your family destitute and the average life expectancy was 30 then people are going to act alot more sociopathic, it becomes about survival, like actual life or death survival.

The reality is human history is dirty and messy and violent, and pretending that any race or ethnicity is innocent from that is completely ignorant, its in our genes to be opportunistic and violent, its evolution and natural selection at work. We only became largely peaceful in the last 50 years because a) we developed to such a degree that working together economically was in our better interests than military and b) the deterrant of nuclear war and mutually assured destruction

I recommend you read the following books: http://www.amazon.com/War-Before-Civilization-Peaceful-Savage/dp/0195119126

Basically how all human societies are violent and

http://www.amazon.com/Guns-Germs-Steel-Fates-Societies/dp/0393317552/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1449043242&sr=1-1&keywords=guns+germs+and+steel

This book gives the reasons why civilizations rise and fall and why European culture became the dominant one post 19th century
Essentially there are deterministic factors that are needed for any culture to prosper and white people inherited them all just because of geography and luck

u/oilman81 · -1 pointsr/HistoryMemes

https://www.amazon.com/Guns-Germs-Steel-Fates-Societies/dp/0393317552

Probably the most famous one, but there are dozens of others.

I would also argue that the burden of proof is on you to show that native diseases mostly stemmed from intentional action (pretty much impossible given the chronological timeline of the near-extinction event but whatever)

u/Kirkaine · -1 pointsr/explainlikeimfive

That's a monster of a question. Hell, development economics is an entire academic field, you might as well ask 'ELI5: Physics'. Anyone who seriously thinks they can give you an answer here is lying to you, and probably to themselves as well.

That being said, for my money there are three books that are really required reading on the topic of how countries end up poor, plus two books that are required reading on why it's so hard to fix. I'd call them the bare minimum to call yourself literate on the subject.

  1. Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies, Jared Diamond. Essential reading on the big (i.e. several millennia) question of how the world ended up broadly split between rich and poor. I think they made it into a documentary, that's probably worth checking out.

  2. Why Nations Fail: The Origins of Power, Prosperity, and Poverty, Daron Acemoglu and James A. Robinson. If you only read one of these, make it this one. Perfect blend of big picture history and modern policy analysis.

  3. Poor Economics: A Radical Rethinking of the Way to Fight Global Poverty, Abhijit V. Banerjee and Esther Duflo. Much more micro-focused, this one is about poor people more than it's about poor countries. I mainly include it because Esther is a beast, and this is one of my favourite books of all time. Definitely worth the read.

    Two that you should read on why it's so hard to fix global poverty (Poor Economics sits at the intersection).

  4. The End of Poverty: Economic Possibilities for our Time, Jeffrey Sachs. Jeff Sachs is one of those names that everyone in the world should know. Read this book, end of story.

  5. The White Man's Burden: Why the West's Efforts to Aid the Rest Have Done So Much Ill and So Little Good, William Easterly. Easterly is another name everyone should know. To be honest, I don't agree with him on a whole lot of things. But pretending the other side of the debate doesn't exist is utterly moronic, and you can always learn a lot from people you disagree with.
u/DEM_DRY_BONES · -1 pointsr/todayilearned

Hey! I just read about this last night in Guns, Germs, and Steel. Hit that up for more on domesticating wild plants!

u/iStandWithBrad · -1 pointsr/politics

Okay, first of all, there was a long period of time where Asia, the Middle East and the Mediterranean was booming and Europe was in the dark ages. So I find it's generally best to specify what time period you're talking about when making blanket statements.

Secondly, you're wrong when you say always a "festering shit-hole" compared to the rest of the world. There were major cities with sea ports on both the West coast and the East coast of Africa, where people came from other parts of the world to trade. This was before Europeans ever managed to settle Africa. I recommend a couple of books for you:

http://catdir.loc.gov/catdir/samples/cam031/00033704.pdf

http://www.amazon.com/Guns-Germs-Steel-Fates-Societies/dp/0393317552

Where do I get my connection to this issue? Anthropology major in college, with a concentration on Africa. Also lived in an African city for 5 months. Happy to answer questions about that.

u/SnarkLobster · -1 pointsr/explainlikeimfive

May I suggest: Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies by Jared M. Diamond

"Fascinating.... Lays a foundation for understanding human history."―Bill Gates

In this "artful, informative, and delightful" (William H. McNeill, New York Review of Books) book, Jared Diamond convincingly argues that geographical and environmental factors shaped the modern world. Societies that had had a head start in food production advanced beyond the hunter-gatherer stage, and then developed religion --as well as nasty germs and potent weapons of war --and adventured on sea and land to conquer and decimate preliterate cultures. A major advance in our understanding of human societies, Guns, Germs, and Steel chronicles the way that the modern world came to be and stunningly dismantles racially based theories of human history.

u/buddhafig · -5 pointsr/AskHistorians

Sorry I don't have the short answer, but Guns, Germs, and Steel by Jared M. Diamond is a good source for crop development over history and how it affected various cultures.

u/RevolutionReadyGo · -39 pointsr/Health

There was no disease before we domesticated draft animals. Educate yourself from all sides before entering the debate, please.

Edit for sources:

First I just want to say that their is no "source" for the history of the First Nations. We've spent hundreds of years erasing every trace of their culture and history from our collective memories. So either you make a commitment to go educate yourself about how these people lived, and see firsthand that they lacked most major diseases, which tied into their susceptibility to smallpox and co and therefore the genocide, or you believe the hype. Sorry but I am under no burden whatsoever to educate you about these people's lifestyles.

With that said, if you insist on some sources, here's some good reading material:

Guns, Germs and Steel

Omnivore's Delima

A People's History of the United States of America