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Guns Germs And Steel Chapter Summary

Prologue Outline

Prologue Outline
Chapter 1 Outline

                                                           Prologue Outline
              The Prologue was all about the question that came up between the author, a white man, and a local politician named Yali on the tropical beach of New Guinea.  The question was “Why is it that you white people had so much cargo and brought it to New Guinea, but we black people had little cargo of our own?”  I believe that when Yali said “cargo” he meant it as a metaphor to mean all of their technology and advancements the people from where he lived didn’t have.


I agreed with the author when he said this question could be expanded to include the entire world.  The author brought Yalis thought back very far in the past to figure out the answer to the question of why all civilizations formed the way they did. I think that was the right thing to do and the further back you go the better the understanding you get from how the different civilizations formed and grew. Jared Diamond then goes into that maybe the different civilizations grew differently because of their IQ`s and genetics.  He thinks that Stone Age people were smarter than industrialized people because most Europeans and Americans spend most of their time watching TV or radio or movies when New Guinea people spend all their time socializing and walking, when socializing is known to promote mental development. So that means that the Stone Age people had no disadvantage of brainpower that was thought to have slowed down their inventing power.


                     Diamond says genetics isn’t the only possible reason to answer Yalis question.  The land each civilization lived on and the climate each lived in had a big part to do with it. For example the people who lived in warm tropical climates didn’t have to do a lot to live and stay safe unlike the people who had to live in cold climates. They had to invent better ways to live and eat in the cold.  That thinking could have led them to more inventions to help them develop faster. And the fact that they just had to stay inside for long periods of time gave them lots of time to think and invent. This result can be seen with the difference between the Europeans and the people of New Guinea.  There are many ways to answer Yalis question on why all civilizations grew at different paces. Diamond discussed what he thought was most important.  The rest of the prologue goes on to explain how the rest of the chapters will go.


                      After reading the prologue it made me ask myself how I think all civilizations grew differently and thought of the different types of inventions. It also made me think of how I would answer Yalis question, and this how I would answer it. I think that civilizations grew differently because of mostly luck. Luck that they thought of something or luck that they lived in a certain place. I am looking forward to learning more about how each civilization grew and what Jared Diamond has to say about it. I am hoping the chapters to come are very informative and as interesting as Jared made them sound.  I am also looking forward to see if Jared changes my mind on how to answer Yalis question.

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