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Oct 2009
Collapse - Jared Diamond - Penguin, 2005
* * * * *
I was walking down Cornmarket Street in central Oxford the other day when I passed a Christian proselytiser who was talking about the greatest threat to our society. His answer was crime. I had this book in my bag, so I pulled it out and waved it. "No, you fool, the greatest threat to our society is eco-collapse! And this book will tell you far more than yours does about what causes it and how to avoid it!"

Now the foregoing is of course a lie. I am much too polite to interrupt a nutter in mid-rant, much less call him a fool. But I wish I had, because this is, I think, an important book. It follows on from Guns, Germs and Steel, but reverses its premise by asking why some societies die out rather than develop. His answers have relevance to us all.
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