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Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by…

Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind

by Yuval Noah Harari

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
5,8422081,214 (4.17)182
"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. 90
    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. 10
    A Little History of the World by E. H. Gombrich (uitdepolder)
  4. 00
    Lone Survivors by Chris Stringer (Nickelini)
    Nickelini: Many readers comment that they found the first part of Sapiens the most interesting. Lone Survivors goes into more depth about that period of human history
  5. 00
    The Great Divide: Nature and Human Nature in the Old World and the New by Peter Watson (longway)
  6. 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 182 mentions

English (167)  Dutch (9)  Spanish (7)  Catalan (5)  German (4)  Italian (4)  French (4)  Chinese, traditional (1)  Finnish (1)  Norwegian (1)  Danish (1)  Portuguese (Brazil) (1)  Hungarian (1)  All languages (206)
Showing 1-5 of 167 (next | show all)
Is one supposed to have "fun" reading about the entire breakdown of HUMANITY from a collaborative Anthropological/Campbellian outlook?


I was pleasantly reminded of Bill Bryson's [b:A Short History of Nearly Everything|21|A Short History of Nearly Everything|Bill Bryson|https://i.gr-assets.com/images/S/compressed.photo.goodreads.com/books/1433086293l/21._SY75_.jpg|2305997], but instead of wandering all about and being a little less funny than Bryson, what we get is a rather better focus with a little more depth on a subject very close to almost everyone's hearts: Ourselves.

Now let's get this clear. It's not supposed to be a full-out treatise, nor is it giving citations, but I've read a ton of other books that talk about almost everything in here. It's not new stuff. It is, however, written in such an engaging way that I pretty much fell out of my seat in love with the way they are all presented.

I really got into the counterarguments against agriculture, but before that, I loved the idea that people were all always pretty much always people. Language, myths, and ideas changed us all into the creatures we are now. It's a very Campbellian view. Language increases complexity, but also a closer reliance on details. Abstract concepts arose to help people conceptualize groups of people much larger than a decent gossip circle. We tell ourselves lies and stories in order to accomplish much bigger things.

Easy, right?

Well, the author takes us all the way through the agricultural revolution, into cultural theories, monetary theories, political theories, and scientific theories. All of these have made us what we are, and all of them come from the basic storytelling concept. We believe banks work, and so they do. We believe that our social structure works, and so it does. If we don't trust it, it falls apart, but that's the whole point. We trust the story to be true, and we continue on. Money works this way. The author goes into the fantastic rabbit-hole called Credit. Fractional reserve. We all know it works so long as we trust it works. The same is true for Capitalism, or Buddhism, or the Medieval outlook, or Christmas.

Shall we dismiss, or enshrine, the rest of human history this way?

Sure! Why not? It FEELS right. The story this author tells FEELS trustworthy. I'm hooked.

But then, I'm a writer, myself. I believe in the written word and its power to transform the world. Myth as Life. Myth IS Life. Every instant of our own lives is the artifact of the stories we tell about ourselves. It's not so hard to believe that everything else we do as a species follows the same method.

Hello, money. What makes you think I should believe in you? Oh, wait, you tell a very compelling story. :)

I like this book. :) ( )
  bradleyhorner | Jun 1, 2020 |
This book is a great introduction to the history of Homo Sapiens from an anthropological, economical and scientific perspective.

However, the author does overlook/misinterpret important facts and focus only on specific ideas, so do more research on a specific idea before finalizing your opinion on a particular topic. Nonetheless, it is a great introduction to the evolution of humans. ( )
  abbas0786 | May 28, 2020 |
Adquirido em 2018. 29a. edição ( )
  Nagib | May 25, 2020 |
This was a stunning read. Unputdownable. So much knowledge and wisdom in one single book! While talking about the history of us, the homo sapiens, the author challenges many commonly held beliefs. The book will make you question the life we live, the culture we practice, and the purpose we have as the species homo sapiens. Apart from the important historical events, the book also expounds on concepts of agricultural society, religious theories, scientific temper, capitalism, and the concept of credit that have played significant role in the advancement of human race. After reading the book, you will question many things including the futility of the division of human race on racial, regional, and national divide. Truth is that our ancestors are one and we are all one, brothers and sisters of one single species ( )
  freddych | May 20, 2020 |
An incredible review of the last 70,000 years of Sapiens' history. It looks at ideas as technologies and technologies as ideas. It's a hard book to describe the scope of. Sapiens covers pretty much everything. And does it fairly well. I do wish there were more detail in some parts, but boy, does it ever explain, from a very high level, what's going on in the world, how ideologies come to be and when they apply and when they don't, and just what the hell is up with us people.

I'm really looking forward to reading Homo Deus. Yuval Noah Harari's writing is clear, concise, funny, poignant, and sharp. It even taught me that liberal and socialist are modifiers for humanism, and where those ideas came from and how they sit compared to the social and structural ideas of the past. ( )
  jtth | May 4, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 167 (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 (9 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Harari, Yuval Noahprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Gower, NeilMapssecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Perkins, DerekNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Purcell, JohnTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Watzman, HaimTranslatorsecondary 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.
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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