Have you ever been asked: What book has made you smarter?
For me, the answer to that question is Guns Germs and Steel.
I love when I get to talk about a good non-fiction book and Guns Germs and Steel by Jared Diamond is one of my absolute favorites.
Summary: Guns Germs and Steel by Jared Diamond is one of the greatest history of the world type works in print. It is comprehensive and makes the compelling argument that the “advantaged” societies grew as they did because of luck of geographical location. Diamond balances great technical writing with captivating story telling as he winds through the different topics of geography, food production, technology and more. I found myself equally split between nodding along and reaching for my pen to jot down a new idea GGS inspired. Overall 8/10.
Well Known: 8/10 – This book can be found on many top book lists from those specifying non-fiction and history to overall best books of the 21st century. As I mentioned, Charlie Munger has recommended this book, however it is non-fiction and there are less non-fiction fans out there, so it gets a 8 for famousness.
Density: 7/10 – GGS is a long book, with tons of facts thrown in. There were a number of places I had to reference Google for, but it moves pretty fast. It’s not super technical, but there are places where you have to be careful to follow along, I recommend reading this one with a pen in hand.
Captivation: 8/10 – Diamond is a fantastic writer. He starts out with a great story to prime you as the reader for the rest of the journey through the book. There are ties between parts as well as his own voice expertly woven throughout. I give it an 8 only because the plant domestication section put me to sleep (multiple times.
Information: 9/10 The amount of research that Diamond put into the book is impressive. The book is long, but it as long as it needed to be. Diamond didn’t leave any rock unturned, and explains every point. Very seldom were my factual questions in the margins left unanswered.