A Brief History of Humankind

eBook - 2014
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100,000 years ago, at least six human species inhabited the earth. Today there is just one. Us. Homo sapiens. How did our species succeed in the battle for dominance? Why did our foraging ancestors come together to create cities and kingdoms? How did we come to believe in gods, nations and human rights; to trust money, books and laws; and to be enslaved by bureaucracy, timetables and consumerism? And what will our world be like in the millennia to come? In Sapiens, Dr Yuval Noah Harari spans the whole of human history, from the very first humans to walk the earth to the radical - and sometimes devastating -breakthroughs of the Cognitive, Agricultural and Scientific Revolutions. Drawing on insights from biology, anthropology, palaeontology and economics, he explores how the currents of history have shaped our human societies, the animals and plants around us, and even our personalities. Have we become happier as history has unfolded? Can we ever free our behaviour from the heritage of our ancestors? And what, if anything, can we do to influence the course of the centuries to come? Bold, wide-ranging and provocative, Sapiens challenges everything we thought we knew about being human: our thoughts, our actions, our power ... and our future.
Publisher: [London] : Vintage Digital, 2014.
ISBN: 9781448190690


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May 07, 2019

The author makes a lot of claims that are not properly backed up with academic resources, as well as makes general, sweeping statements about how humans thought and felt in the past. Harari has some very fundamental misunderstandings of how global oppression works (like saying the West rejected racism after WWII... no...), and does not seem to have an actual grasp on how capitalism functions other than it being the global economic system.

Although I found some of his ideas useful, such as his ideas about the importance of the myth of credit in building modern capitalism, I found myself skimming and skipping entire pages in the last quarter of the book because his claims became more and more distanced from evidence-based ideas. Harari also comes off as extremely arrogant, making his baseless claims more distasteful.

Skip this one.

Mar 01, 2019

Walking through human history, like this book does, has never forced me to think in quite the same way about who we are.

Feb 26, 2019

I thought the first half of the book was excellent. There, the author provides insights into the competition between Sapiens and other human tribes (e.g. Neanderthals) and provides his thesis for the survival of this relatively unremarkable branch of the human tree. The chapters that talk about the growth of language/writing as factors in the ability of a community to grow beyond a certain size (and ultimately form and empire) was particularly interesting, as was the idea that "myth" (be it religious, national or ideological) is a necessary glue for the establishment and continuity of large scale tribes (nations). The book becomes more tedious in the second half where it feels like one aspect or another of the modern world - religion, economics, capitalism, etc) are presented one after another so the author can say, "see? Just like I said." This was a 400 page book that should have stopped at page 200.

Feb 21, 2019

Incredible book: a lot of fodder for thought, brilliant language, zooming from very big ideas to vivid details.

Nov 30, 2018

From the Earth-centric point of view, we are about the worst thing that has ever happened to this planet (oh! aside from the asteroid.) Scary. Too scary to read the second book about the havoc we're likely to cause in the future

Nov 12, 2018

Jul 20, 2018

Very poorly written. It is mostly a random stream of consciousness and mindless rambling.

kristina_rad Jun 24, 2018

This book talks about the history of Humankind, who we are and how we have evolved. It's a unique history book. So many interesting and original idea's all brought together in one cohesive story. Clearly written and so complex in its breadth as there are many topics covered across many disciplines. It answers questions and inspires new questions especially the curiosity of what is next for Homo Sapiens considering how quickly technology is evolving in our time. I've chosen to tackle it in pieces as it is not a light read. Currently enjoying this one!

Jun 24, 2018

I thoroughly enjoyed Professor Harari's writing style, wit and perspective on commonly held beliefs in the fields, for example, of history, anthropology, religion and social systems. He puts a spin on things designed to make one think about just what it is that has shaped modern societies and what exactly it is that makes us human.

Unlike some of the opinions of those which follow here, I don't believe that this is a book for beginners, whatsoever. Harari's style is clear and precise but deals with very complex concepts about humankind, its' long history and the possibility of humankind existing without actual human bodies at some time in the future. Without some solid background in a fairly broad range of social sciences, you'll not likely recognize the brilliance of his convergence from typical experts in these fields.

If you enjoy unique minds with a broad understanding of what makes mankind and modern society tick, you'll find this 400+ page book a thoroughly enjoyable book.

May 19, 2018

This book is essentially a bird's-eye view of the field of social sciences. Not quite in-depth enough to cover all the topics with comprehensive detail, but certainly an excellent jumping off point for anyone interested in any of the subjects Harari raises. This book, part sociology, part anthropology, part economics, part history, is an excellent book for those looking to expand their knowledge about all of the above!

Excellent book, a must-read.

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Mar 17, 2018

ranvapa thinks this title is suitable for 12 years and over

Oct 07, 2017

empbee thinks this title is suitable for All Ages


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Nov 05, 2015

Both scientist and conqueror began by admitting ignorance - they both said 'I don't know what's out there.' They both felt compelled to go out and make new discoveries.

SFPL_ReadersAdvisory Aug 18, 2015

"We did not domesticate wheat. It domesticated us."


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