Sapiens

Sapiens

A Brief History of Humankind

Book - 2014
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Destined to become a modern classic in the vein of Guns, Germs, and Steel , Sapiens is a lively, groundbreaking history of humankind told from a unique perspective.
nbsp;nbsp;nbsp;nbsp;nbsp;100,000 years ago, at least six species of human inhabited the earth. Today there is just one.
nbsp;nbsp;nbsp;nbsp; Us.
Homo Sapiens .
nbsp;nbsp;nbsp;nbsp; How did our species succeed in the battle for dominance? Why did our foraging ancestors come together to create cities and kingdoms? How did we come to believe in gods, nations, and human rights; to trust money, books, and laws; and to be enslaved by bureaucracy, timetables, and consumerism? And what will our world be like in the millennia to come?
nbsp;nbsp;nbsp;nbsp; In Sapiens , Dr. Yuval Noah Harari spans the whole of human history, from the very first humans to walk the earth to the radical -- and sometimes devastating -- breakthroughs of the Cognitive, Agricultural, and Scientific Revolutions. Drawing on insights from biology, anthropology, palaeontology, and economics, he explores how the currents of history have shaped our human societies, the animals and plants around us, and even our personalities. Have we become happier as history has unfolded? Can we ever free our behaviour from the heritage of our ancestors? And what, if anything, can we do to influence the course of the centuries to come?
nbsp;nbsp;nbsp;nbsp; Bold, wide-ranging and provocative, Sapiens challenges everything we thought we knew about being human: our thoughts, our actions, our power...and our future.
Publisher: [Toronto] : Signal, [2014]
ISBN: 9780771038518
9780771038501
077103850X
Branch Call Number: 909 H25s
Characteristics: 443 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
Alternative Title: Brief history of humankind

Opinion

From Library Staff

"Bold, wide-ranging and provocative, Sapiens challenges everything we thought we knew about being human: our thoughts, our actions, our power...and our future."

An examination of how mankind came to be - revolving around Cognitive, Agricultural, and Scientific Revolutions. An insightful look as to whether the examination of past ancestors will help us predict and build a better future.


From the critics


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Pretzel_OPL
May 19, 2018

This book is essentially a bird's-eye view of the field of social sciences. Not quite in-depth enough to cover all the topics with comprehensive detail, but certainly an excellent jumping off point for anyone interested in any of the subjects Harari raises. This book, part sociology, part anthropology, part economics, part history, is an excellent book for those looking to expand their knowledge about all of the above!

Excellent book, a must-read.

r
ranvapa
Mar 17, 2018

This book comes across as overly simplistic when you first crack it open. And you think... well, what do you expect from a 400-ish page book that attempts to cover all of human history?

However, Prof. Harari skillfully starts to raise some questions that build into the most thought-provoking ideas.

I highly recommend this book - it really makes you think about our past and future as a species.

c
ChrisMcMil
Dec 06, 2017

An excellent and very accessible high level discussion of the grand sweep of human progress from an historical perspective, focusing ultimately on some important questions that we should be seeking answers to before we “fall of the cliff” as we accelerate into an uncertain future. Thankfully he pretty much stays within his lane as an objective historian and doesn’t try to make judgments or prescribe solutions. Of course it is not an academic treatise, but for most readers it should be a very stimulating read.

r
ricardohdz
Nov 28, 2017

A very romantic book about the history of humankind, this piece was well planned to be a best-seller. The core of the book is comprised about several notes of defining moments of planet earth and the evolution of our species. Do not expect a highly intellectual, full fact narration; this is history narrated in form of a novel. Digressions and personal thoughts make this book a little tedious to read, it could be more compact and concise with a little more edition. But we know this was totally written for a specific market and audience. However, a good book to know how mass media literates our society.

i
ItsAccrualWorld
Nov 24, 2017

This is pretty entertaining in all honesty.

From what I understand, Harari cherry picks his data to fit his narrative and thesis. This makes sense, as it seems like an insurmountable task to try and condense the "history of humanity" into one ~500 page book that is comprehensive and free of bias.

However, if you can accept and move past the fact that this book is not a reliable or thorough piece of anthropology, there's quite a bit of value here. Reading this book is like listening to the ramblings of a very smart and erudite guy while he outlines his personal philosophy at the bar; It shouldn't shape how you view the past or how to live your life, but it's entertaining and contains a couple of ideas that are fun to think about.

I would probably not recommend this book to any academics specializing in history and anthropology, because all of the inevitable inaccuracies and generalizations employed will probably bother you a lot more than they bothered me.

d
donkeyhote
Nov 15, 2017

I am inclined to take sides with "mikemarotta", the commentator down here. I think the positive outlook of this book is mistaken or false. We don't really know the past of Mankind, outside the constant wars since millennia. As for the future of Mankind, in 2009 several guests at the talk radio CFun 1410 said that a "New Creation" is coming, and that will be "post-human," "post-industrial" and "post-modern." There are plans for creating a controlled society with a genetically (or otherwise) perfected man. According to Arthur Koestler, who wrote on behalf of the UN in his book "The Ghost In The Machine" (1967) the planned society of the future will be a 2 -tier one (with no individual freedom). Dr. John Coleman in "The Conspirators' Hierarchy" (1992, 1997) writes that the planned society of the future will have no middle class, only rulers and servants. Both Koestler and Coleman tell thereby that the future society will eliminate individual freedoms entirely, therefore it'll be a form of Scientific Dictatorship or Slavery. This is due to flawed human genetic nature, which is of a lone predator and it's outdated already. There are plans, it was said on French Canadian Radio in 2003, with a brief account of a colloquium at Laval University (Quebec) to genetically create the new worker breed (the lower tier of future society), a genetically planned humanoid bio robot. It will be peaceful, highly performing, without a sense of self. So it seems, the future will be a scientifically controlled slavery, with peace and order, unlike we see today's world.

n
NaNtrack
Nov 12, 2017

A little bit slow at the beginning, a little bit obvious, so i skip to part 4: The Scientific Revolution. If you're already informed about human evolution, this may be too "brief" for you. Also 1 week is not too much time to enjoy a book like this one. Still a good reading for beginners!

m
mikemarotta
Oct 25, 2017

Despite (or perhaps indicative of) its runway popularity, it is shallow and facile, drawn from second-hand sources and not well integrated in its presentations.

Harari failed to correctly explain the origin of writing, the origin of counting, the origin of money, and the origin of coinage. They are all tightly bound. In every case, his supporting citations point to other popularizers, rather than validated peer-reviewed academic publications. So, he gets a lot of the details wrong. From those he builds his attractive and erroneous narrative. Finally, like me and other bloggers, he is a synthesizer, collecting and republishing ideas that he likes without actually challenging any of those claims for their want of proof.

One such assertion is that the agricultural revolution was not worth the price. Domestication of wheat brought longer working hours and slavery. It actually brought malnutrition, and set the stage for periodic starvation never known to hunter-gatherers. It is an interesting fact to consider. But Harari just stops there. He does not see strawberries in January. Cutting off our food supply is integral to his thesis, which includes disdain for liberal humanism. Harari advocates for the postmodern anti-industrial revolution.

c
casar
Oct 23, 2017

Fascinating ruminations on the human condition. This book was recommended to me by my husband's niece in Hyderabad. She is 20 years old and all of her friends are reading it. It would make a great Book Club selection. There is so much to discuss. His take on fiction (religion, democracy, the international economy) may be disturbing for some people.

e
empbee
Oct 07, 2017

A great comprehensive history written in clear and entertaining language and style with lots to think about (homo sapiens semper sciunt destruere naturam), i.e., how we have been destroying our world from the beginning. Well organized, good examples from the past and present.

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ranvapa
Mar 17, 2018

ranvapa thinks this title is suitable for 12 years and over

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empbee
Oct 07, 2017

empbee thinks this title is suitable for All Ages

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dano62
Nov 05, 2015

Both scientist and conqueror began by admitting ignorance - they both said 'I don't know what's out there.' They both felt compelled to go out and make new discoveries.

SFPL_ReadersAdvisory Aug 18, 2015

"We did not domesticate wheat. It domesticated us."

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