Guns, Germs, and Steel Questions and Answers
by Jared Diamond

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What is Yali’s question to Jared Diamond?

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In his book Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies, Jared Diamond argues that environmental considerations rather than inherent differences in intellect or genes caused some civilizations to survive longer and prosper more than others. In the book's prologue, Diamond explains that it was a question by a New Guinean politician named Yali that prompted him to research and write the book.

The prologue to Guns, Germs, and Steel is called "Yali's Question." In it, Diamond writes that he was visiting New Guinea as a biologist studying bird evolution. He and Yali were taking a walk along a beach together. Diamond could see that Yali possessed an abundance of charisma, energy, intelligence, and curiosity, albeit in ways that differed from western norms, given that New Guineans had only been exposed to western, industrialized civilization in the last few centuries. When whites arrived, they had centralized governmental authority and brought various tools that New Guineans had never seen...

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