Digital pebbles

Clarke Mulder Purdie on PR, media and other random topics

Jared Diamond’s ‘Collapse…’ (and not doing your homework)

Posted by Graham Hayday on September 11, 2007

My colleague Amanda Purdie writes:

“Feeling very alert today as we hosted our first Innovation Reading Circle session last night, which discussed ‘Collapse: How societies choose to fail or survive’, by Jared Diamond.  Organised by Nico Macdonald (brain the size of a planet etc) this book group has been meeting for some time (I’m quoting now) “to help develop theory around innovation by facilitating rich, high level and well informed public discussion around key and related texts”. 

Sadly I didn’t have time to actually read the book because I’m still jet lagged from my trip to Australia and hungover from the weekend Martinis, but I had read a very good review from which I quoted copiously. 

Mark in my office (who has two degrees) had tried to explain Malthusian theory (a key concept in Diamond’s world view) to me too, which could have made me slightly over confident. I think everyone realised I hadn’t read the book but as we were the hosts and had laid on wine and sushi, I only spotted a bit of eye rolling. 

Everyone else in the group had done their homework (of course) and were extremely charming and interesting and made many witty and challenging observations. I won’t attempt to paraphrase these, but would refer you to the notes Nico is going to put up on his site. 

I had a really great time and am definitely going to get Mark to explain the next book to me which is ‘Paradox of Choice, Why More is Less’ by Barry Schwartz. This is being discussed on Monday 8 October and is being hosted by Channel 4.  Some of the other books the group has discussed have included ‘Fantasy Island’, ‘The Long Tail’ and ‘The Cult of the Amateur’.  Last night someone also recommended ‘The Passion of the Western Mind’ which sounds very interesting.” 


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