90.9 WBUR - Boston's NPR news station
Top Stories:
PLEDGE NOW
Jared Diamond

Jared Diamond on what we can learn from traditional societies.

The Basarwa are the last of the original inhabitants of a vast area stretching from the tip of South Africa to the Zambezi valley in Zambia and Zimbabwe. Their rock paintings, wildlife knowledge and ability to survive in one of the harshest environments on earth have fascinated scholars. (AP)

The Basarwa are the last of the original inhabitants of a vast area stretching from the tip of South Africa to the Zambezi valley in Zambia and Zimbabwe. Their rock paintings, wildlife knowledge and ability to survive in one of the harshest environments on earth have fascinated scholars. (AP)

Pulitzer Prize-winning geographer Jared Diamond got the world’s attention and made us think big with “Guns, Germs, and Steel,” his blockbuster book on the fate of nations.  Now he’s out with another big take on how humans live and die.

For six million years, we were hunters and gathers and herders.  “Primitives,” we used to say.  A very few still are.  Traditional societies of loin cloth and spear, outside modernity.

What can we learn from them, on life and survival?

This hour, On Point:  Jared Diamond on life lessons for us – for you – now from the world’s oldest, close-to-the-earth cultures.

-Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Jared Diamond, professor of geography at the University of California- Los Angeles. A Pulitzer Prize-winning author of the Guns, Germs, and Steel, his new book is The World Until Yesterday: What Can We Learn from Traditional Societies?

From Tom’s Reading List

Newsweek “On one of my visits 
to New Guinea, I met a young man named Enu, whose life story struck me then as remarkable. Enu had grown up in an area where child-rearing was extremely repressive, and where children were heavily burdened by obligations and by feelings of guilt. By the time he was 5 years old, Enu decided that he had had enough of that lifestyle. He left his parents and most of his relatives and moved to another tribe and village, where he had relatives willing to take care of him. There, Enu found himself in an adoptive society with laissez-faire child-rearing practices at the opposite extreme from his natal society’s practices.”

Smithsonian “The author of the prize-winning Guns, Germs, and Steel is no stranger to sweeping assessments. Jared Diamond’s new book, The World Until Yesterday, is a macro examination of what Western, educated, industrialized, rich, democratic societies (WEIRD is Diamond’s handy, oft-repeated acronym) lack compared with traditional societies. His argument is presented as a series of studies grouped around themes—child care or diet, for example.”

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
ONPOINT
TODAY
Feb 27, 2015
Federal Communication Commission (FCC) ChairmanTom Wheeler, center, joins hands with FCC Commissioners Mignon Clyburn, left, and Jessica Rosenworcel, before the start of their open hearing in Washington, Thursday, Feb. 26, 2015.  (AP)

A US-Israel rift. A win for net neutrality. “American Sniper” verdict. Our weekly news roundtable goes behind the headlines.

Feb 27, 2015
This image released courtesy of the Lead Belly Estate shows folk and blues musician Huddie William Ledbetter, better known as Lead Belly. Huddie "Lead Belly" Ledbetter never had a hit record before he died of Lou Gehrig's disease in 1949. (AP)

Going back to Lead Belly. The blues legend is back. His influences, as big as ever.

RECENT
SHOWS
Feb 26, 2015
Humanist chaplain Bart Campolo, center, a former Evangelical Christian youth minister, and his wife, Marty, right, mingle with students as they wait for the start of a forum at the University of Southern California, Wednesday, Jan. 28, 2015, in Los Angeles. (AP)

More Americans are turning away from religion. We’ll look at how to live a moral life without it.

 
Feb 26, 2015
This Feb. 20, 2015 photo shows an arrangement of peanuts in New York. (AP)

New breakthroughs on peanut allergies – treatment and prevention. And a question: are we too clean for our own good? Plus: did giant gerbils from Asia really bring the bubonic plague to Europe?

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
Two Congressmen Weigh In On DHS Funding
Tuesday, Feb 24, 2015

Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio and Rep. Chris Van Hollen of Maryland present their views on the ongoing Congressional budget fight over Department of Homeland Security funding. (Spoiler: They do not agree on a resolution of the crisis).

More »
Comment
 
Our Week In The Web: February
Friday, Feb 20, 2015

We explain what happened with the old podcast feed this week and last, share some other Oscar categories and reminisce about the golden days of Double Rainbows and Honey Badgers who just don’t care.

More »
Comment
 
The 87th Academy Awards, As Heard On On Point
Thursday, Feb 19, 2015

Want the inside scoop on who will win big on Sunday’s 87th Academy Awards? (Look elsewhere, sorry). But we’ve got great shows on some of the year’s best movies, all right here.

More »
Comment