SAPIENS

by Yuval Noah Harari

How Homo sapiens became Earth’s dominant species.

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1 negative comments

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What people are saying on Twitter (sample)

  • @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
  • Sapiens is a pretty interesting book. I think absolutely everyone will have part of their beliefs attacked by it. https://t.co/DScdPYo8yB
  • @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: 'A Brief History Of Human Kind' by Yuval Noha Harari is very interesting book. Open The Thread👇
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    What people are saying on Amazon (sample)

    • "Big History" type of book with the serious probing of a historian who examines what might have happened. Where we are now is full of paradoxes and stresses and strains, but also a lot more underlying stability than might have been expected. A number of counterintuitive insights offered about our current status as a species. Some serious dangers and opportunities on the horizon. How will Sapiens evolve culturally? Will tragic conflicts and ecologic damage be avoided? Will we invent our future successors? There is a little speculation of the future -- how could you resist after reviewing 60,000 years of history.
    • Why do we read history? Winston Churchill said “The farther back you can look, the farther forward you are likely to see.” How about looking back 13.5 billion years ago when we were primordial soup? Yuval Noah Harari’s Sapiens takes you on a journey from the beginning of time.Sapiens traces our species through the last 100,000 years and the Cognitive, Agricultural, Scientific, and Industrial Revolutions. Harari speaks of Communism, Capitalism, Democracy, Liberalism, Christianity and Islam etc. as if they are all religions. Brilliant! We all have to believe in some abstract concept such as equality or liberty to get us through the day. Harai demonstrates how even paper money and banking lending regulations are a bit of a sham. But belief in all these myths have fueled growth and progress. Harari argues that storytelling and dreaming is what sets us apart from all the other animals. They have enabled mankind to farm, build the pyramids, chart the globe, defy gravity, and split the atom.After the 100,000 year journey is the Homo sapiens species any happier? Harai says it depends on how you define happiness. All of man’s tremendous advances have come with some dire consequences but the biologist would have to compare the dopamine, serotonin, and oxytocin levels of modern man vs the hunter gather. The answer is we are probably not any happier.If you read Sapiens will you achieve total consciousness? Probably not but Sapiens will broaden your horizons and expand your perspective of man's journey to present day. Plus it will provide you with great stories to bother your coworkers with during coffee breaks and long car rides. You can also highlight key passages to read them to your wife while she is trying to watch HGTV. All of Harai’s theories seem reasonable and are backed up with several examples. More importantly Sapiens is presented in a manner that is upbeat and anything but boring.Have you ever considered buying a ticket to India so you could climb to the top of the mountain to ask the mountain top guru about the meaning of life? You may be able to save yourself a 3000$ plane ticket and spare yourself from eating curry if you go out and buy a copy Harari’s Sapiens. If you do go to India look over the great Carnac's shoulder I’ll bet you find a copy of Sapiens levitating on his book shelf.
    • This book presents a brief history of mankind (or Homo Sapiens) from its humble beginnings as mere biological organisms to masters of planet earth. Particularly intriguing is how evolution stopped explaining historical events after the cognitive revolution came about; and what are the challenges of mankind, from where we are today, devising technological advancements that would forever change us.A must read. But don't listen to me..., listen to what Barack Obama and Bill Gates have to say about this book:“Interesting and provocative…It gives you a sense of perspective on how briefly we’ve been on this earth, how short things like agriculture and science have been around, and why it makes sense for us to not take them for granted.” (President Barack Obama)“I would recommend this book to anyone interested in a fun, engaging look at early human history…you’ll have a hard time putting it down.” ( Bill Gates)
    • I don't know what Bill Gates and Barack Obama saw in this book, but what I encountered is neither history, nor evolutionary psychology, nor really anything worthwhile. What I encountered was a very long progressive political screed.The Kindle sample is misleading, and makes it appear as if the book might be interesting. It's not.I really should have known better when Harari asserted that humans were probably happier as hunter-gatherers. I thought, "would I want to be a hunter-gatherer?" Uh, no, not so much.Harari then goes on to attempt to tear down just about every human institution of the last few thousand years as being fictional or "imaginary". Well, sure, they were all invented by humans. But that doesn't make them prima facie "bad" ideas. In Harari's world, though, they're all suspect.If you're unlucky enough to have already bought this book, call Amazon for a refund. I did.
    • A few years ago it occurred to me that the only thing really holding society together is habit and that money is just a concept. It scared me to think that society was so fragile. The author of Sapiens describes this much better than I. And, he made me feel better since, although learned, social structures are relatively resilient. In fact, he describes why some forms are more resilient than others.This book is full of issues that we should all be thinking about. It is more of a history of social structures than a history book in the classical sense. It describes how the structures of human societies have changed, from when we were just another animal, through hunter gatherers, through agriculture, through science and industry, and finally our future (or replacement) based on tinkering with our own genetic code.Although Sapiens is well thought-out and well presented, I don't agree with everything the author says. But, I think that is ok. The main idea is to describe the changes in sociology of humans, and present various theories about why things happened as they did. Most of my disagreement seem like semantics, but when I was reading the book I thought the distinctions were important.Here are a couple examples of my disagreements:The author uses the word "fictions" to describe things that are not concrete: things that can be perceived in people's minds but not in the physical world. Examples in the book are corporations and money. These specific things would not exist if people did not think of them in their minds. And, it is true for most of the sociological concepts presented in the book. But, I think the author is too general. I would prefer the term "abstract" rather than "fiction." Fiction implies unreal. I believe that some abstract things are real. The classical example is Plato's view that perfect abstract concepts are actually more real than the concrete representation. Such as, a drawing of a circle on a piece of paper is merely an imperfect attempt to represent the concept of a perfect abstract circle. But, Plato would claim that the abstract concept of a perfect circle would still exist even if no one was around to think about it. And, I basically agree with him. And, I think there are many other abstract concepts like that. Humans have many abstract concepts, some were created by people, some were discovered by people. Only the former are "fictions."Another disagreement is the notion of what is the "true" part of a religion. His definition of the true part of a religion is its moral code and a social structure. I understand why he does this, so he can use humanism and liberalism (and others) in the same way as Christianity and Buddhism (and others). And, from the point of view of this specific book, this makes sense, since Sapiens is about describing how social structures have changed. But, to me that is not true religion. At best moral codes and social structures are the product of the true religion, at worst they are a distraction from the true religion. To me, the true part of a religion is the part that is about getting to know God.So, read this book. Keep an open mind. Stop once in while to think about what is written. Then the main questions at the end is "Where do we go from here? And, why?" That is something we should be asking even if we never read this book.