Portrait of Jared Diamond

Jared Diamond

Jared Diamond is the award-winning author of international bestsellers Collapse, Guns, Germs and Steel, The Third Chimpanzee, Why is Sex Fun? and 2013’s The World until Yesterday. He is an avid birdwatcher and learner of languages, as well as a Professor of Geography and of Environmental Health Sciences at UCLA.

Diamond was born in Boston to a physician father and a teacher/musician/linguist mother. After training in laboratory biological science, he became Professor of Physiology at UCLA Medical School in 1966. However, already while in his twenties, he also developed a second parallel career in the ecology and evolution of New Guinea birds. That led him to explore some of the most remote parts of that great tropical island, and to rediscover New Guinea’s long-lost Golden-fronted Bowerbird. In his fifties, he gradually developed a third career in environmental history, becoming Professor of Geography and of Environmental Health Sciences at UCLA.

As well as being renowned in academic circles, Jared Diamond is famous for his prize-winning books The Third Chimpanzee and Why is Sex Fun?, and for revolutionizing the study of global human history with Guns, Germs and Steel as well as his international bestseller Collapse. His awards include a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship (a ‘genius award’), and the Pulitzer Prize for non-fiction. The broad range of disciplines that he weaves into his writing – linguistics, genetics, animal behaviour, molecular biology and others – caused a reviewer to write, ‘ “Jared Diamond” is suspected of actually being the pseudonym for a committee of experts.’

In his spare time he watches birds and learns languages (he is currently learning his twelfth). He is the father of seventeen-year-old twin sons who have informed much of his outlook on life. His latest book is The World until Yesterday: What we can learn from Traditional Societies (Penguin, 2013).