A Brief History of Humankind

Book - 2015
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"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"--
Publisher: New York, NY : Harper, an imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers, [2015]
Edition: First U.S. edition
ISBN: 9780062316097
Branch Call Number: History 909 Har


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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.

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!

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.

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.

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.

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.

Sep 05, 2017

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

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!

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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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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Oct 07, 2017

empbee thinks this title is suitable for All Ages


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