SAPIENS

by Yuval Noah Harari

How Homo sapiens became Earth’s dominant species.

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3 positive comments

1 neutral comments

1 negative comments

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What people are saying on Twitter (sample)

  • Sapiens: 'A Brief History Of Human Kind' by Yuval Noha Harari is very interesting book. Open The Thread👇
  • @ananavarro @ChrisEvans Ana and Chris, I just finished Harari 's riveting book but won't spoil it for you by tellin… https://t.co/0f0uLwqkVA
  • @ZacharyLevi If you're enjoying 'Sapiens', a book I read earlier this year and loved, I'd highly recommend 'A Brief… https://t.co/I6HCmul5er
  • Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari is also the best book I’ve ever read. Every page makes me smarter. I think it should b… https://t.co/BdRF0Kf1Cg
  • Sapiens is a pretty interesting book. I think absolutely everyone will have part of their beliefs attacked by it. https://t.co/DScdPYo8yB
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    What people are saying on Amazon (sample)

    • I was disappointed in this book. I expected it to catch me up on all new discoveries in Anthropology now that the new fossils are being defrosted and made accessible with global warming. The beginning chapters made me feel I had the right book. As I read more, the book seemed to be more about the author's opinions. He seems to feel that the quality of life of our ancestors chasing down large mammals, harvesting wild berries and grains was better than that of the poor soul who has to wake to an alarm clock, drive in traffic to a boring job and worry about being down-sized. Harari didn't seem to back up his opinions with his facts. Maybe it is more fun to live 40 years with death and abandonment possible at any moment - but Harari didn't convince me. I'm still looking for some books to tell me why Neanderthals never made it to Africa and why everyone who left Africa kept going to the farthest reaches of the world.
    • A reader unfamiliar with the author's specialty will find little disagreeable about this book at first blush, other than its suspicious aversion to citation. Even where that is concerned, expert authors have done worse when writing for a general audience.But the sheer range of of the text, so glibly and didactically presented, gnaws at the reader before long. This is not a sum of knowledge that can be honestly presented by a single man without reference to experts in the many fields on which he touches, and indeed, it is not honestly presented -- at least, not by the standard of serious scholars. It's pop junk masquerading as something more authoritative, and its acclaim comes from reviewers too lazy or credulous to know the difference.
    • I decided to read this book after seeing the stellar Amazon reviews from so many other readers, but was pretty disappointed after reading it.While the author makes some interesting and thought provoking points about culture and society, I found most of the book to be a tedious mish-mash of so-called revelations about obvious facts, cursory recitation of selective scientific research on various issues, and mostly the author's personal views on various issues which he tries to pass off as "the truth".One example: the author goes on and on about how humankind made a foolish but voluntary decision to transition from hunting/foraging to agriculture--the happy-go-lucky hunter became the toiling peasant, on a purely voluntary basis--ie, if the hunter/forager knew what was good for him (the author clearly believes that he did not), then mankind would have continued as hunter/foragers forever, living what the author considers to be an idyllic existence. Meanwhile, elsewhere in the book, the author notes that most large animals became extinct shortly after Sapiens moved into their habitat... Hello, maybe hunter/foragers had no choice but to move to agriculture because hunting/foraging had become unsustainable--hunter/foragers had already devoured all of the resources (large game, berries, fish, whatever) within their range, and so had the choice of transitioning to agriculture or starving.I'm no expert, but I lost confidence in the author when he did not even raise the scenario above as a possibility but rather prefers to deride the disastrous but avoidable move to agriculture...many of his arguments seemed to be based on his personal beliefs/ideology rather than science or even common sense.The author makes many similar arguments in the book, but I won't recount them all. Generally, I would rate most of this book as two stars, but have tacked on a star because he does make some interesting points.
    • A standard history of the human race begins with Paleolithic proto-humans, traces the development of modern man or homo sapiens sapiens, then chronicles the beginnings and expansions of human civilization from agriculture to the present. Yuval Noah Harari's Sapiens follows that path, but with several intriguing twists. The result is a fascinating book which will challenge pre-conceptions and occasionally annoy or even anger the reader, but will always intrigue.Harari focusses on the three great revolutions of human history: Cognitive, Agricultural, and Scientific. He asks how "An Animal of No Significance" managed to become the dominant life form, and whether that animal's learning to produce his own food and then to further harness the natural world to his will through science were boons or setbacks, both for that animal and for the rest of the biosphere. In 20 brilliant chapters Harari asks his readers to consider not only what did happen, but what might have occurred had things turned out slightly differently (the roles of chance and accident are given a lot of attention.) He reveals the mutually agreed upon "stories" that helped shape human societies and questions their validity, not to disillusion but to challenge his readers. At times the tone is unavoidably cynical, but at others there's a real optimistic air (leavened by some cautions here and there). I found Harari's ideas fascinating, especially those in his final chapter "The End of Homo Sapiens" and in his brief but important "Afterword: The Animal That Became a God."Readers who are looking for detailed chronicles listing, for example, the Emperors of China, Kings and Queens of England, or Presidents of the United States should look elsewhere. But readers who want to be challenged and enlightened will find Sapiens a most enjoyable work. I'm a retired AP World History teacher, and while I was reading there were many moments which made me wish I was back in the classroom so I could share Harari's ideas with my high school students. That's high praise indeed, but Sapiens deserves it and much more.
    • First off I am not familiar with anthropology. This is my first foray into the field so things that might appear to me to be novel and specific to the author Harari might be part of anthropology lore or dogma. However, my reading material can be considered very eclectic—I read books on a very wide range of topics.When I say this is an Amazing book I mean that on almost every other page I would find myself highlighting something that I found eye-opening.Here are some examples of what I consider remarkable ideas. The first has to do with the 3 great revolutions that have had a major effect on the lives of humans and their social revolution/evolution: The Cognitive Revolution, The Agricultural Revolution and The Industrial Revolution.What skill did we gain which resulted in a major change the direction of the development of humans? Read it and you will be surprised and impressed. It has to do with storytelling – kind of.Then there is Credit and Money. I now look at the world in a very different way with awe and also with fear. What can you imagine that could be so awesome and yet can also create a lot of fear?Oh yes, what about linking empire building with the Scientific Revolution and the appearance of capitalism! Harari sees links that I find really surprising.There is also a warning about wishing for the good old days and what it was really like in terms of very basic and simple things (like bathing and clothes) we take for granted today that were nonexistent 300 years ago.For me I would have preferred the second part of the title as the main title. Sapiens sounds like a biology book, and the second part could be made to be more intriguing reading material for anyone as “A Short History of Humans”.I hope you enjoy the book and find it as fascinating as I did!