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
Nov 26, 2014
Getting together with your family and loved ones at Thanksgiving and the holidays doesn't have to lead to  arguments and fights. (Meg Hunt / Flickr)

The Thanksgiving get-together and all the family drama trimmings. Sage advice from advice columnists.

Nov 26, 2014
A 1597 map of Lesbos / Mytilene, Greece by Giacomo Franco. (Flickr / Creative Commons)

How Aristotle invented science. The great ancient Greek, and life on Earth.

RECENT
SHOWS
Nov 25, 2014
A 40-pound tom turkey looks out at Raymond's Turkey Farm in Methuen, Mass., Friday, Nov. 21, 2014. The farm raises approximately 20,000 Broad Breasted White Holland turkeys per year. (AP)

We’ll talk turkey and all the sides. Top chefs join us to answer your Thanksgiving questions.

 
Nov 25, 2014
A protester squirts lighter fluid on a police car as the car windows are shuttered near the Ferguson Police Department after the announcement of the grand jury decision not to indict police officer Darren Wilson in the fatal shooting of Michael Brown, an unarmed black 18-year-old, Monday, Nov. 24, 2014, in Ferguson, Mo. (AP)

Grand Jury decision out of Ferguson — no indictment. We’re on the ground with the latest details and reaction.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
Last-Minute Thanksgiving Luxury
Tuesday, Nov 25, 2014

Our three Thanksgiving chefs offer up their best bets for delicious, last-minute holiday helpers, including a crunchy celery salad and maple glazed carrots.

More »
Comment
 
Calling All Interns, Calling All Interns
Monday, Nov 24, 2014

Have you ever thought about interning with On Point Radio? Good news: your time is now!

More »
Comment
 
The Explicast, Episode Six: What Does A White House Press Correspondent Do?
Friday, Nov 21, 2014

We turn to White House Press Correspondents all the time for news, but we’ve never really wondered how they gather their information. Fortunately, our guest host Jessica Yellin had time to sit down with The Explicast to explain.

More »
Comment