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.


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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.

m
mwegmann
Sep 21, 2017

Very interesting concepts in this book. It is fairly rare that one book can connect so many disparate concepts into a single narrative. It made me think deeply and reflect, which is totally worth the 400+ pages of it.

c
Crystal_37
Sep 05, 2017

The author is extremely knowledgeable! Is a really different and famous book and I learned a lot from it.

l
larters
Aug 31, 2017

A fantastic read that takes a big-picture view of human history, and presents a fresh perspective on our shared experience as humans, Sapiens is well worth the read. It's a book in the same vein as Jared Diamond's "Guns, Germs, and Steel," and Francis Fukuyama's "The Origins of Political Order," and as such, appealed to me greatly.

Of particular interest were the chapters on our shared cultural agreements, which include money, religions, national borders, and more. It's an eye-opening look at the many things we hold in common agreement, but which have no objective reality outside of human civilization.

Well worth the read. Highly recommended!

r
richardshart
May 01, 2017

I could not get past the first chapter. Despite many glowing reviews, I found the book to be tedious and uninteresting. It Is written as one would expect from an anthropology textbook. Perhaps the excitement builds later in the book.

squib Apr 16, 2017

I can't recommend this book enough. It is a fair and balanced view of human development and history, looking at the phenomena of biological, society, cultural developmen and diversification in trying to explain the chaos of the present to navigate the vastly unknown future.

Studies in world history should use this model - at least until we build on this and create something even more appropriate.

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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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e
empbee
Oct 07, 2017

empbee thinks this title is suitable for All Ages

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