A Brief History of Humankind

Book - 2015 | First U.S. edition
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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."-- Provided by publisher.
Publisher: New York, NY : Harper, an imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers, [2015]
Edition: First U.S. edition
Copyright Date: © 2015
ISBN: 9780062316097
Branch Call Number: 599.9 H2125S 2015
Characteristics: [viii], 443 pages : illustrations (chiefly color), color maps ; 24 cm


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May 04, 2020

Aquilea777 if you haven't read a book, please don't comment.

This is an easy to read history of man from the beginning of time, with some variance in the usual interpretation of same. He has many interesting insights.

I'm surprised at the number of people who take the author to task for arguing for his own opinions. That's how books work. He doesn't have to give a presentation of other opinions or even to be fair to them.

I agree with the review by Marcus Paul...."the book is deeply flawed in places and Harari is a much better social scientist than he is philosopher, logician or historian. His critique of modern social ills is very refreshing and objective, his piecing together of the shards of pre-history imaginative and appear to the non-specialist convincing, but his understanding of some historical periods and documents is much less impressive..."
Having read a several popular books on economics ( e.g. Filthy Lucre) and on the devastation of the environment by humans ( e.g., Guns, Germs, and Steel ) amongst others, I feel this book is a good starter book for high school students or readers who have no background in the area but it is an over-simplification and a less constructive read for the better informed reader.

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.

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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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