September 10, 2016

Infographics inspired by Jared Diamond’s book “Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fate of Human Societies”

I had fun making infographics for passages that inspired me to visually interpret in Richard Florida’s “The Rise of The Creative Class: And How It’s Transforming Work, Leisure, Community, and Everyday Life”, Derek Sivers’ “Anything You Want” and Al Pittampalli’s “Read This Before Our Next Meeting.” Motivated to do the same with “Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fate of Human Societies” by scientist Jared Diamond. Another good read. Took me awhile to finish it—I’m a slow reader, also considering that it’s packed with historical information and analysis—Diamond has a logical narrative running through all of it. Here are visualizations of some his points:

Infographic 1: World-changing trifecta
The book’s title is game to visually portray, like in the form of a rebus. It’s Diamond’s framework that scaffolds his findings and arguments about the three major contributors, for better and worse, to the life of people and our planet. Sketch:

Digital iteration:

Infographic 2: Developments over time, largo pace
What was established, way back when, activated the evolution toward the methods and tools used today. The latest means to make things, to make a civilization, share a long history and continue to make history—as both a complex benefit and a mixed bag of unintended consequences. Sketch:

Digital iteration:

Infographic 3: Geography’s blatant role
One can easily call Diamond a “geographic determinist.” The physical environment, coupled with human desires, can play a definite part in the day-to-day environment—manipulated era to era. It’s a generative outcome that can’t be ignored. Sketch:

Digital iteration:

• • •

Highlighted in the book’s Preface, a reviewer wrote that Diamond viewed world history as an onion, where modern society is on the topmost layer and past versions on subsequent layers. Diamond admitted, “Yes, world history is indeed such an onion! But that peeling back of the onion’s layers is fascinating, challenging—and of overwhelming importance to us today, as we seek to grasp our past’s lessons for our future.” This claim can seed another visualization.

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