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Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by…
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Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind (edition 2015)

by Yuval Noah Harari (Author)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
9,872349639 (4.18)241
"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)
Member:BenStan
Title:Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind
Authors:Yuval Noah Harari (Author)
Info:Harper (2015), Edition: Illustrated, 464 pages
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Work Information

Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari

  1. 120
    Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies by Jared Diamond (Percevan)
  2. 31
    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.
  3. 10
    A Brief History of Everyone Who Ever Lived: The Human Story Retold Through Our Genes by Adam Rutherford (jigarpatel)
  4. 10
    A Little History of the World by E. H. Gombrich (uitdepolder)
  5. 11
    Origin Story: A Big History of Everything by David Christian (ajagbay)
  6. 00
    The Great Divide: Nature and Human Nature in the Old World and the New by Peter Watson (longway)
  7. 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.
  8. 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 241 mentions

English (281)  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 (337)
Showing 1-5 of 281 (next | show all)
This book is "Guns, Germs, and Steel" by Jared Diamond told in simpler language and in less scientifically rigourous way. Having read the other book, it was quite a let down, since author largely rehashes same ideas and is quite anecdotal almost everywhere. So while his thoughts are masquerading as novel way at looking at world, they are largely one person's opinion with cherry picked data. Not that I don't agree with what he says - I absolutely do - but academic rigour was missed definitely. That said, book is full of stories and easy language while still telling profound concepts and hence one can understand popularity of this.

A minor pleasant surprise was that author seems reasonably well familiar with India's history and used examples from India and Hinduism aplenty throughout. Given size of India and Hinduism today, and role they played in history, are both significant, they are not undue mentions, but most western author simply consider world history to be history of Europe and America, and in that way it was a good surprise.

(some spoilers below)

Why men is dominant gender in human society today is something I had assumed would have been figured out, and in some sense obvious (physical power), but author does good job of dispelling the notion, and keeps question unaswered. Bucketing capitalism and religion in terms of stories we tell is refreshing (and correct) way of looking at the world. In first half of book, author clearly mentions that why history played out the way they did is largely coincidence and outcome of series of minor decisions (e.g. Roman's chosing Christianity), however that notion seems to be forgotten in second half of book when scientific ideas, capitalism, montheism are identified as reasons for growth of Europe and western nations, and book credits coincidences for outcome. Last third of book touches relatively recent subjects such as scientific progress and capitalism, and degenerates into news report of sort with litany of incidents after incidents with only loose connection to broader theme.

All said and done, book is still refreshing look at modern world and good first book at getting exposed the concept. ( )
  ashishg | Nov 30, 2022 |
Interesting book that sets forward some interesting ideas and question. The kind of book that gets you thinking. ( )
  Anniik | Nov 26, 2022 |
Harari's analysis and exploration of sapien history challenges assumptions I have made about our species my whole life. I now look at the millions of years that lead us to this moment in time as a web of infinite choices, each outcome shaping the potential choices for the next generation- this helps us see how much power we have now to make choices that will affect what kind of creatures we sapiens might become in the future. ( )
  librarianlion | Nov 22, 2022 |
I think I made it 50 pages in, but stopped and forgot to pick it back up. It was very long on theories and conjecture which were presented as fact, and while interesting in themselves, may or may not be correct and therefore shouldn't be stated as fact. I got the distinct impression reading it that the book might be pulling me into some radical thought experiment I hadn't signed up for. ( )
  jsmick | Nov 3, 2022 |
Beginning back in the furthest reaches of humanity, Harari documents human history with the focus of such basic ideas as intelligence, agriculture, religious belief, commerce, and science. Though the last quarter of the book dragged a bit for me, it was otherwise overall endlessly engaging and eye-opening, with many concepts completely new to me: the idea of "imagined order"; insights into the philosophies of religion, science, etc.; historic events like the Opium Wars, the Battle of Navarino and the collapse of the Mississippi Company — and their far-reaching implications. So much food for thought, especially with respect to economics. Readers should note that the ebook (2018) differs from the print edition (2015). I only discovered this because I was alternating between the two. The book is also printed on extra heavy paper, both hardcover and paperback. Even able-bodied, I found its sheer weight vexing at times. Overall an amazing and educational read.

TW for harm to animals: chick culling practices are discussed with a disturbing photo. I'm ashamed to say that it had never once occurred to me that something must happen to all of the male chicks when only female chicks have value to the food industry. The idea of the macerator will haunt me and fill me with human shame to the end of my days. ( )
1 vote ryner | Oct 31, 2022 |
Showing 1-5 of 281 (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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