Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.
21 Lessons for the 21st Century (original 2018; edition 2019)
by Yuval Noah Noah Harari (Author)
21 Lessons for the 21st Century by Yuval Noah Harari (2018)
Top Five Books of 2020 (469)
Litsy Awards 2018 (130)
No current Talk conversations about this book.
It's the kind of book that everyone should read once every two years to get their life priorities sorted. By my estimation the content of this book would stay relevant till 2063 atleast. ( )
A little uneven but I liked most of it.
Harari is a brilliant thinker and a brilliant writer. 21 Lessons distills large swaths of history and thought and presents them into understandable chapters of a story. Indeed Harari understands the power of story telling. Part I is especially strong with its story of human history and challenges around the digital transformation we are facing. The lesson I take away from this book is that we may be living in a world that we don't fully take the time to understand. While we create many technological innovations we don't fully understand their implications. Perhaps the thing we least understand is who we really are and how are minds really work. For Harari, that is the biggest challeng.
This is book three of the 'Mankind' trilogy, the other two were 'Sapiens' and 'Homo Deus'. While it took me a long time to read 'Sapiens', I did find it quite interesting to read Harari's take on where we come from, even if some parts of the book are food for discussion, of course, as is the case with any book that focuses on mankind's history and especially this far back in time. In other words, you don't have to agree with everything the man wrote.
'Homo Deus' was a logical follow-up, and I want to add that - from my own experience - it's (probably) best to read the books in this order, so see the evolution and changes. In the second one, and from what I recall (I don't have the book with me now), the theme of transhumanism and the faith in a digital world (replacing our current beliefs and common sense) was more prominent and important. Our current societies are more and more dominated and regulated via computers and artificial intelligence is on the rise, for good or for worse. It has its uses, that is certain, and it can help many people in various situations.
In this final book, Harari took 21 subjects, assembled them under five parts:
01) The Technological Challenge: Disillusionment, Work, Liberty, Equality
02) The Political Challenge: Community, Civilisation, Nationalism, Religion, Immigration
03) Despair and Hope: Terrorism, War, Humility, God, Secularism
04) Truth: Ignorance, Justice, Post-truth, Science fiction
05) Resilience: Education, Meaning, Meditation
Harari is a fan of science fiction and it shows in his books, especially 'Homo Deus' and this '21 Lessons for the 21st Century'. Like the others, this third one is also very accessible in style and themes. In bite-size chapters he offers his view on the aforementioned subjects and how they have changed our lives and will continue to influence our doings, directly and indirectly.
One can be romantic about the past, about which much is still unknown, but not everything was that perfect or super either. Harari's image of our sapiens ancestors is often a little too exaggerated, too romantic. As our some of the other themes, i.e. projected a little too positively in contrast to reality. We don't live in the same countries and societies, so one's view of the world is always biased and limited.
However, like his two other books, I can really recommend this third one. Even if the scope is perhaps a little too compact. On the other hand, as I saw in other reviews: The number of themes may be limited, but one must also distinguish cause and consequence. Many happenings in the world are related: climate change, politics, socio-economic events, ..., so no need to make the book longer than needed. Besides, he can always treat new subjects in an other book.
In short, these three books offer interesting food for thought and discussion, to look back at where we came from, where we are today (in this rapidly changing world) and where we are possible headed. All presented as accessibly as possible. Again, one doesn't have to, but is allowed to, agree with everything Harari thinks/is convinced of/..., as long as you keep an open mind. (Warning: Do keep the late Terry Pratchett in mind here: "The trouble with having an open mind, of course, is that people will insist on coming along and trying to put things in it.")
Following the phenomenally provocative (albeit controversial) Sapiens and the sombrely realistic yet apparent Homo Deus, Harari delivers 21 Lessons, utilising pithy and well-expressed writing. As a pragmatic pessimist, Harari's views are decidedly unobjective, with subjective yet largely accurate viewpoints on political and social issues in the contemporary era. Nevertheless, it has a downward spiral towards the eventual part, when Harari, questionably and uninsightfully, advocates meditation, profoundly ill-fitted to be a chapter and likely would be enhanced to be a mere endnote.
Similarly, most of the book reiterates information from his preceding books, especially Homo Deus. The 'Work' section is largely a superficial gloss over the corresponding, thorough information from Homo Deus, and various views presently (e.g., on terrorism). Therefore, the book is broadly fascinating, yet blemished by a lack of originality and subjectivity.
It’s no criticism to say that Harari hasn’t produced a satisfying answer yet. Neither has anyone else. So I hope he turns more fully to this question in the future. In the meantime, he has teed up a crucial global conversation about how to take on the problems of the 21st century.
Wittgenstein schreef dat filosofie alles zou moeten laten zoals het is: de wereld beschrijven en ordenen, zonder die uit te willen leggen of conclusies te willen trekken en daarmee de werkelijkheid geweld aandoen. Historicus Harari lijkt zich in precies zo’n spagaat te bevinden. Hij wil de geschiedenis beschrijven zoals die was, huidige wetenschappelijke en technologische ontwikkelingen weergeven zoals die zijn. Maar in zijn drang om conclusies te trekken en lessen aan te dragen, wordt zijn verhaal een theoretisch construct dat raakvlakken mist met de werkelijkheid.
[T]his book sees Harari enter that class of gurus who are assumed to be experts on everything. The 22nd lesson of this book is obvious: no single member of the tribe Homo Sapiens can know everything. If this new age needs new stories, then we have to let more people tell them.
Belongs to Publisher Series
Is contained in
Has as a commentary on the text
#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER * In Sapiens, he explored our past. In Homo Deus, he looked to our future. Now, one of the most innovative thinkers on the planet turns to the present to make sense of today's most pressing issues. "Fascinating . . . a crucial global conversation about how to take on the problems of the twenty-first century."--Bill Gates, The New York Times Book Review NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY FINANCIAL TIMES AND PAMELA PAUL, KQED How do computers and robots change the meaning of being human? How do we deal with the epidemic of fake news? Are nations and religions still relevant? What should we teach our children? Yuval Noah Harari's 21 Lessons for the 21st Century is a probing and visionary investigation into today's most urgent issues as we move into the uncharted territory of the future. As technology advances faster than our understanding of it, hacking becomes a tactic of war, and the world feels more polarized than ever, Harari addresses the challenge of navigating life in the face of constant and disorienting change and raises the important questions we need to ask ourselves in order to survive. In twenty-one accessible chapters that are both provocative and profound, Harari builds on the ideas explored in his previous books, untangling political, technological, social, and existential issues and offering advice on how to prepare for a very different future from the world we now live in: How can we retain freedom of choice when Big Data is watching us? What will the future workforce look like, and how should we ready ourselves for it? How should we deal with the threat of terrorism? Why is liberal democracy in crisis? Harari's unique ability to make sense of where we have come from and where we are going has captured the imaginations of millions of readers. Here he invites us to consider values, meaning, and personal engagement in a world full of noise and uncertainty. When we are deluged with irrelevant information, clarity is power. Presenting complex contemporary challenges clearly and accessibly, 21 Lessons for the 21st Century is essential reading. "If there were such a thing as a required instruction manual for politicians and thought leaders, Israeli historian Yuval Noah Harari's 21 Lessons for the 21st Century would deserve serious consideration. In this collection of provocative essays, Harari . . . tackles a daunting array of issues, endeavoring to answer a persistent question: 'What is happening in the world today, and what is the deep meaning of these events?'"--BookPage (top pick)
No library descriptions found.
LibraryThing Early Reviewers Alum
Yuval Noah Harari's book 21 Lessons for the 21st Century was available from LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Amazon Kindle (0 editions)
Audible (0 editions)
CD Audiobook (0 editions)
Project Gutenberg (0 editions)
Google Books — Loading...
Melvil Decimal System (DDC)909.83History and Geography History World history 1800- 2000-2099, 21st Century
Is this you?
Become a LibraryThing Author.