Author: Jared Diamond
Who should read it: CEOs, Founders, Managers and Entrepreneurs
This is a ‘must read’ for entrepreneurs - one of the best reads in the last few decades. It is all about innovation; not just in technology but in other major areas that impacted the development of societies: farming, writing, and politics. The book explains why it is that the Spaniards conquered the Incas instead of vice versa. Sure, the Spaniards had the ships and the guns but how is it that they got them first? The question is historic but still relevant; what is it that determines which society wins when they come into conflict? In answering that, the author helps us understand the current distribution of wealth, power and influence among states. It also sheds light on the connection between the pace of innovation and the scale and level of interactions between societies. Not bad for 400 pages!
Jared Diamond is worth listening to. His background is unique: he has training in evolutionary biology, and biogeography, and is a linguist. He has studied hundreds of societies in South America, Africa, Indonesia, Australia and New Guinea and has developed a model for how those societies evolved as well as the geographic forces that supported them. He makes his historical detective work interesting: not unlike a CSI episode, explaining why the conclusions are the only logical answer. The book won a Pulitizer Prize and is recommended widely: McKinsey Global Research, for example, bought copies for all their partners (smart guys!) because of its valuable insights.