Public Service Announcement

For those of you who are turning up in my referrer logs looking for a Cliff’s Notes on Guns, Germs, and Steel by Jared Diamond let me save you some trouble by telling you that THERE ARE NO CLIFF’S NOTES FOR GUNS, GERMS, AND STEEL!

If you’ve been assigned to read it for a class, you’ll just have to read it.

Back in the Futures Program, we had to learn how to do what is termed an “80/20” scan of a book. That’s based on the 80/20 Principle — 80% of the useful information can be gleaned in the first 20% of reading time (if you do it right.) Another trick is to read what’s said about a book before you read it so you can get an idea of the highlights. You’d be better off Googling for “reviews of Guns Germs and Steel” than for the Cliff’s Notes.

But Diamond’s book is so fact-dense that it defies a good skim. Any history professor worth her salt will be able to make up an exam that will trip you if you try to skim the book and say you read it.

Face it folks, you’ll just have to read the book. Quit Googling for shortcuts!

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