In this national bestselling and Pulitzer Prize winning work, Jared Diamond attempts to trace back the roots of our very civilizations themselves. As an evolutionary biologist and an anthropologist who has tackled many scientific topics and lived with various tribes, Diamond is perfect for narrating this story of history's 'Haves and Have-nots'. With a strong central argument revolving around starting materials (plant and animal species to domesticate) and geographic locational happenstance, he builds the world in the way we see it now. His argument is diligently researched with remarkable attention to detail and complexity of ideas. This is a book that will truly make you look at the world and the institutions in a much different shade. Diamond holds our hand through the progression of human societal structure from tribe to empire, as well as the technological advances such as writing and gunpowder that allowed not only military victories but more importantly managerial ones. Humanity's advances in domesticating animals are expertly linked to the rise of the infectious crowd diseases that, more than any weapon, shaped the world and the human populations within it. These are but small examples of the truly commendable level of scope in this book. As such, the book is somewhat lengthy, I believe around 800 pages or so, but it is categorized in a way as to be easily managable. The only other downside I could muster to this would be that Diamond does not focus on "Western" history as much as nearly all other historical texts - as such expect to hear the term Eurasia a lot. For anyone who has ever wondered how anything in the world came to be - this book should be read. I find myself returning to it again and again when I like to feel smart; highly recommended.