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Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind

by Yuval Noah Harari

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
8,923315719 (4.18)231
"From a renowned historian comes a groundbreaking narrative of humanity's creation and evolution--a #1 international bestseller--that explores the ways in which biology and history have defined us and enhanced our understanding of what it means to be "human." One hundred thousand years ago, at least six different species of humans inhabited Earth. Yet today there is only one--homo sapiens. What happened to the others? And what may happen to us? Most books about the history of humanity pursue either a historical or a biological approach, but Dr. Yuval Noah Harari breaks the mold with this highly original book that begins about 70,000 years ago with the appearance of modern cognition. From examining the role evolving humans have played in the global ecosystem to charting the rise of empires, Sapiens integrates history and science to reconsider accepted narratives, connect past developments with contemporary concerns, and examine specific events within the context of larger ideas .Dr. Harari also compels us to look ahead, because over the last few decades humans have begun to bend laws of natural selection that have governed life for the past four billion years. We are acquiring the ability to design not only the world around us, but also ourselves. Where is this leading us, and what do we want to become? Featuring 27 photographs, 6 maps, and 25 illustrations/diagrams, this provocative and insightful work is sure to spark debate and is essential reading for aficionados of Jared Diamond, James Gleick, Matt Ridley, Robert Wright, and Sharon Moalem"--… (more)
  1. 120
    Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies by Jared Diamond (Percevan)
  2. 10
    A Brief History of Everyone Who Ever Lived: The Human Story Retold Through Our Genes by Adam Rutherford (jigarpatel)
  3. 21
    Debt: The First 5,000 Years by David Graeber (M_Clark)
    M_Clark: This expands upon Harari's description of the history of money and commerce. It was obviously an influence on Harari.
  4. 10
    A Little History of the World by E. H. Gombrich (uitdepolder)
  5. 00
    The Great Divide: Nature and Human Nature in the Old World and the New by Peter Watson (longway)
  6. 00
    Small is Beautiful: A Study of Economics as if People Mattered by E. F. Schumacher (pammab)
    pammab: Sapiens' framing of capitalism-as-religion and its implications were done first in Small is Beautiful. Small is Beautiful focuses on one modern aspect of a much larger cultural change rooted in ideas & capabilities explored in Sapiens.
  7. 13
    The Management Myth: Why the Experts Keep Getting it Wrong by Matthew Stewart (amberwitch)
    amberwitch: An interesting and critical look at things that we take for granted, giving the reader new perspectives on everything from strategi to time
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» See also 231 mentions

English (257)  Spanish (17)  Dutch (8)  Catalan (7)  German (5)  French (5)  Italian (5)  Hungarian (2)  Portuguese (Brazil) (2)  Chinese, traditional (1)  Norwegian (1)  Portuguese (Portugal) (1)  Danish (1)  Finnish (1)  All languages (313)
Showing 1-5 of 257 (next | show all)
Wonderful book. Audible version. ( )
  sotirop | May 20, 2022 |
One of the most important reads of my life - and I feel sure it would remain this way. I think this should be a read by every person, perhaps even a mandated or highly recommended read for every high school student. Very well-written, and enormously illuminating. ( )
  liberation999 | May 6, 2022 |
Again, I might be biased because I found this book around the same time that my transformation from robot to human was completed - I am now full of feelings and appreciation of humanity and this book is about humanity.

I love this book, even though it kind of embarrasses me that it reads so "popularly." I thought I was over that hipster mindset for 10 years, but apparently not.

The advantage to that is that it's easy and entertaining to read. There's humor in it! My favorite thing! Read this book!

Unless you already know about history and prehistory, then it's probably a waste of your time. I don't know. I think Sapiens is a like gateway drug, if "drug" means... historical nonfiction? Philosophy? Anthropology?

It also makes me feel like a terrible person because everything I love is built off the suffering of others and oh fuck I don't want to go back in time and reverse their misery if it's going to result in me not enjoying all the perks of modern life. O_O O_O O_O O_O O_O ( )
  brutalstirfry | May 6, 2022 |
He has some interesting and novel views so I would recommend the book without blinking.

But some of the things he said are probably wrong, even I could spot a handful of obvious errors. Not a big deal but it makes it look like he did not invest a lot of research in at least some of the claims he makes. And some others are bound to raise some disagreeing eyebrows. Which is fine, really, can you always agree with everybody all the time?

His narrative is unexpected for a work of pop science. It feels almost like the stream-of-consciousness of style you'd find in fiction works. That combines with or leads to many of his expositions ending without a clear conclusion. They turn out to be just an enumeration of facts, not followed by the author's opinion, at least not to a degree I was able to understand.

...

Revisiting this 2 years later, I realized I liked this book quite a lot. So many other things I read in the meantime were erased from my memory. I will change my rating to 5 stars. ( )
  Faltiska | Apr 30, 2022 |
The preceding obscure professor historian's ultimate rise to fame proves to be attributed to the non-fiction book Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind.

Readability and brevity are crucial in any abbreviated "brief" history book, which is manifested through Harari's startlingly profound book, being especially provocative accompanied by solidly executed writing and witty metaphorical touch. Nevertheless, there are numerous flaws, which I perceive as niggling, but were decidedly controversial among scholars- that is Harari's one-sided views on the negativity of the Neolithic Revolution's pronounced effects, and striving to portray the positivity of the hunter-gatherer era. Despite that, I could overlook this, given the scarcity of references for this chapter, it indubitably mars somewhat from an exceptional, insightful and thought-provoking book. This chapter, however, was enhanced by the next three, which were intriguing, balanced, and varied, with less subjective opinions expressed, the third and fourth sections, especially the ones on the Scientific Revolution and happiness chapter, are exceptional, notwithstanding, the latter extremely philosophical, as it does mention that happiness could be improved to the upper boundaries of biochemical ranges (which matches that developed countries, despite higher risks of mental diseases, has a higher level of subjective wellbeing). Hence, flaws detract slightly from this book, but it is a must read. ( )
  BGADESYN | Apr 5, 2022 |
Showing 1-5 of 257 (next | show all)
Much of Sapiens is extremely interesting, and it is often well expressed. As one reads on, however, the attractive features of the book are overwhelmed by carelessness, exaggeration and sensationalism.
added by Jozefus | editThe Guardian, Galen Strawson (Sep 11, 2014)
 
Jared Diamond hoort met Simon Schama, Bill Bryson en Charles Mann tot die zeldzame auteurs die inderdaad het grote verhaal vertellen. [...] Zijn recente werk, De wereld tot gisteren, is een brede vergelijking tussen de laatste primitieve samenlevingen, en de eenheidsworst die we nu 'beschaving' noemen. Diamond laat zien hoe 'primitief' we eigenlijk nog zijn, en hoe veel we van die volken kunnen leren. Hij zet aan tot denken. Harari laat de lezer in verwarring achter. [...] Harari beheerst de techniek, maar een 'groot verhaal' komt niet van de grond.
added by Jozefus | editde Volkskrant, Marcel Hulspas (Apr 12, 2014)
 

» Add other authors (111 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Harari, Yuval Noahprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Dean, SuzanneCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Deen, MathijsNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gower, NeilMapssecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Perkins, DerekNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Purcell, JohnTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Watzman, HaimTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wood, CarolineContributorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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In loving memory of my father, Shlomo Harari
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About 13.5 billion years ago, matter, energy, time, and space came into being in what is known as the Big Bang.
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We study history not to know the future but to widen our horizons, to understand that our present situation is neither natural nor inevitable, and that we consequently have many more possibilities before us than we imagine.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Wikipedia in English (3)

"From a renowned historian comes a groundbreaking narrative of humanity's creation and evolution--a #1 international bestseller--that explores the ways in which biology and history have defined us and enhanced our understanding of what it means to be "human." One hundred thousand years ago, at least six different species of humans inhabited Earth. Yet today there is only one--homo sapiens. What happened to the others? And what may happen to us? Most books about the history of humanity pursue either a historical or a biological approach, but Dr. Yuval Noah Harari breaks the mold with this highly original book that begins about 70,000 years ago with the appearance of modern cognition. From examining the role evolving humans have played in the global ecosystem to charting the rise of empires, Sapiens integrates history and science to reconsider accepted narratives, connect past developments with contemporary concerns, and examine specific events within the context of larger ideas .Dr. Harari also compels us to look ahead, because over the last few decades humans have begun to bend laws of natural selection that have governed life for the past four billion years. We are acquiring the ability to design not only the world around us, but also ourselves. Where is this leading us, and what do we want to become? Featuring 27 photographs, 6 maps, and 25 illustrations/diagrams, this provocative and insightful work is sure to spark debate and is essential reading for aficionados of Jared Diamond, James Gleick, Matt Ridley, Robert Wright, and Sharon Moalem"--

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