A Brief History of Humankind

Book - 2016 | Signal paperback edition. --
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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, Ontario] : Signal, McClelland & Stewart, 2016.
Edition: Signal paperback edition. --
Copyright Date: ©2014
ISBN: 9780771038518
Branch Call Number: 909 HAR
Characteristics: 443 pages : illustrations ; 23 cm.


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Feb 14, 2020

Harari divides world history into four sections: the Cognitive Revolution, the Agricultural Revolution, the Unification of Humankind, and the Scientific Revolution. These are roughly arranged in chronological order, but their effects overlap and still heavily influence us today. ⁣⁣
This is a horrendous oversimplification of his ideas but: ⁣⁣
🍍The Cognitive Revolution allowed humans to believe in things that do not physically exist (myths, religions, government, money, etc) which encouraged us to work in bigger groups. Although humans are physically weak, we can hunt bigger animals and increase our population because we collaborate more. ⁣⁣
🍍The Agricultural Revolution changed our diet for the worse but tied us to our lands, which further allowed social systems to evolve. We also began to heavily alter the surrounding environment to our benefit. ⁣⁣
🍍 The Unification of Humankind through global trade systems, colonization and capitalism assimilated the lifestyles of distinct communities. ⁣⁣
🍍 The Scientific Revolution started with a curious mindset that admitted ignorance and believed in progress. It was such a one that pushed European sailors to go “explore” and one that still powers our experiments today. Since capitalism pushes science to spur technological advances, our lives are also guided by such changes. ⁣⁣
Harari not only delineates these revolutions but also consistently returns to two questions: ⁣⁣
🐋 Where does the future of humankind lie?⁣⁣
🐋 Did we actually increase human happiness through these revolutions? ⁣⁣
Unfortunately, these questions are very difficult to answer, and after evaluating both sides of the argument I just want to say that prospering as a species does not mean increased happiness for individuals, and vice versa. ⁣⁣
Since the book’s publication, many of the ideas in this book have seeped into our daily thoughts and conversations, but it is still enlightening to read and understand the context behind them. An eloquent writer, Harari makes reading this book both an inspiration and a pleasure. ⁣
Highly recommended.

For more book and movie reviews, visit me on Instagram @ RandomStuffIRead !

Feb 07, 2020

I thoroughly enjoyed this version of history. It was fascinating and intelligently-written.

Feb 05, 2020

Sapiens is a thought-provoking account of humanity’s journey from localized bands of hunter gathers to a present day, globally connected civilization on the cusp of modifying what it means to be human. What is most striking is how many societal constructs that we take for granted today were only recently conceived of. The combination of money, the limited liability corporation, science, and empire dramatically shaped our world. The ending briefly explores the possibilities for humanity in the future, which the author expands on in his next book, Homo Deus.

Dec 01, 2019

Recommended by Sam, Sept 2019

Nov 23, 2019

This is a wonderful book, but the hardcover weighs a lot. Wish I could figure out which library has a paperback edition available so I could exchange for one that is lighter.

Nov 15, 2019

This book is Harari's exploration into how Homo Sapiens evolved, what Homo Sapiens are dealing with now, and thereby gain insight into what Humankind may develop.

These questions are huge. While it may be informative about what projects are ongoing that may help to develop humans further, the biggest question of what we will become remains largely a mystery.

If there is a shortcoming of this book it is the scarcity of exploration of plausible futures. This is the real heart of the matter. Without this, the book ends in some disappointment.

Nov 09, 2019

Absolutely fascinating! I'll be buying this book so I can re-read again. If you are even remotely interested, check it out. Definitely worth the time to read.

Oct 22, 2019

It's a great book but wouldn't recommend it to people who wants to take their time reading because you can't renew this book since there's like 60 people constantly placing holds on this and you get 14 days to read it.

Sep 24, 2019

1 1/2 stars. Intriguing, fresh take on critical transitions in the evolution of human sapiens but seriously marred by regular and blatant editorializing. The latter builds suspicion that his scholarship,source selection, footnotes etc are carefully selected to support his soap box views on contemporary human society and culture. Perhaps his fresh insights are, indeed, marginal and not widely supported by more careful scholars.

IndyPL_SteveB Sep 21, 2019

This book is not what you expect to find from a general human history – no matter WHAT you expected to find. This is a stunningly thought-provoking and original look at how we developed as a human race – perhaps not original in all of the author’s individual points; but certainly very new in the way they are combined into a whole. You will find new ways of thinking about history and most people will find a dozen viewpoints to argue with. That’s okay, because the book is so well-written that the process of evaluating your own beliefs and putting them up against Harari’s will make you smarter. It would be great to read it in a group for discussion.

Instead of a timeline sequence of events in human history, Harari gives us a *macro-history* – an examination of the big issues and forces that created who we are as humans today. He notes that 100,000 years ago or so, *Homo Sapiens* was one of at least 4 humanoid species on Earth. What development occurred that gave Sapiens the advantage over Neanderthals and other cousins? Harari’s first big idea is that the mental development that most influenced our development was what he calls “The Cognitive Revolution”, in which we developed the power of imagination, the power of *fiction.* He goes on to discuss big concepts like the Agricultural Revolution, the Scientific Revolution, nationalism, “happiness,” and the future of humanity.

You are certain to have your buttons pushed, but your mind will be expanded.

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Oct 22, 2019

Mariko2003 thinks this title is suitable for 15 years and over

Mar 17, 2018

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Oct 07, 2017

empbee thinks this title is suitable for All Ages


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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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