By David Steinberg
Pulitzer Prize-winning author Jared Diamond will give a talk at 7 p.m. Monday, Nov. 4 in Albuquerque about his newest book “The World Until Yesterday, What We Can Learn from Traditional Societies.”
The book, recently published in paperback, is a comprehensive, analytical comparison of traditional and modern societies. As Diamond states at the conclusion of his prologue, readers may share his fascination with the ways traditional peoples have organized their lives. “Beyond that fascination,” he writes, “you may decide that some of what works so well for them could also work well for you as an individual, and for us as a society.”
Some of the diverse subjects the book covers are traditional forms and items of trade; how and why one traditional New Guinea society deals with compensation for the accidental death of a child; forms of traditional warfare and how warriors feel about its danger and the pain of the death of loved ones; the individual’s relation to the passing of time (“In New Guinea jungle there is no time pressure, no schedule…”); and such non-communicable diseases in Western societies as hypertension and Type 2 diabetes, which are virtually nonexistent in traditional societies.

The book’s epilogue cautions against romanticizing traditional societies. The book winds up with advantages of traditional and modern societies and what both worlds can teach us.
Diamond’s talk is in the Simms Performing Arts Center, Albuquerque Academy, 6400 Wyoming NE.
He received the Pulitzer for his book “Guns, Germs and Steel.” He also write “Collapse, How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed.” Diamond is professor of geography at UCLA.
His Albuquerque talk is being presented by Albuquerque Academy and Alamosa Books. Admission is $18 for two plus a copy of Diamond’s book. For information on tickets visit, go to Alamosa Books, 8810 Holly NE or call 797-7101.
Individual tickets without a book purchase are $10 and are only available online at