Celebrated author Jared Diamond asks deceptively simple questions: “What do traditional societies do better than us?” “Why are some nations more resilient than others?” The author of a number of bestselling books, including the Pulitzer prize-winning Guns, Germs, and Steel, Diamond recently sat down with Nautilus to discuss the patterns he had found in the histories of civilizations. Trained as a physiologist, Diamond uses the tools of science to move deftly between cultures, from New Guinea to China and the United States. We invite you to meet one of today’s greatest thinkers.

An abbreviated version of our talk with Diamond appears as “The Last Word” in the Fall 2013 issue of the Nautilus Quarterly.

Is there something in humans that makes us want to innovate? 0:06

Are there certain things that you can more easily predict? 2:39

Could China become the new super-power? 6:28

What made you approach history scientifically? 10:24

Did you come across any obstacles when researching your projects? 14:42

What are you working on now? 16:29

How does cultural fame work? 17:46

How does globalization influence cultural uniqueness? 20:13

Will some languages disappear? 25:46

Do different cultures handle uncertainty differently? 30:43

What would happen if first world countries collapsed? 36:04