Jared Diamond is a Pulitzer Prize-winning author of five bestselling books about human societies and human evolution: "Guns, Germs, and Steel," "Collapse," "Why Is Sex Fun?," "The Third Chimpanzee" and "The World until Yesterday." As a professor of geography at the University of California, Los Angeles, he is known for his breadth of interests, which involves conducting research and teaching in three other fields: the biology of New Guinea birds, digestive physiology and conservation biology. His prizes and honors include the U.S. National Medal of Science, the Pulitzer Prize for Nonfiction, the Tyler Prize for Environmental Science, and election to the U.S. National Academy of Sciences. He is a director of World Wildlife Fund/U.S. and Conservation International. As a biological explorer, his most widely publicized finding was his rediscovery, at the top of New Guinea’s remote Foja Mountains, of the long-lost Golden-fronted Bowerbird, previously known only from four specimens found in a Paris feather shop in 1895.
Nations experience crises whose solution requires adopting selective changes. Some nations are more successful at solving problems than are other nations. Individuals also experience personal crises, either associated with certain ages (e.g., teenage or midlife crises) or triggered by external shocks (e.g., relationship problems or break-ups, the death of a loved one or a health or job or financial blow). The solution of a personal crisis also requires adopting selective changes, which some of us are more successful at than others. Counselors and psychotherapists have identified many factors that make it more or less likely that an individual will overcome a personal crisis. Diamond's new book, "Upheaval: Turning Points for Nations in Crisis," examines the extent to which similar considerations might impact the outcomes of recent and impending national crises in seven countries, Finland, Japan, Chile, Indonesia, Germany, Australia and the U.S. and the impending world crisis.