CROSSROADS: ‘Sapiens’, A Brief History of Humankind – By Yuval Noah Harari

Source – ynharari.com

“…Sapiens will soon disappear. With the help of novel technologies, within a few centuries or even decades, Sapiens will upgrade themselves into completely different beings, enjoying godlike qualities and abilities. History began when humans invented gods – and will end when humans become gods”

Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind  – By Yuval Noah Harari

Seventy thousand years ago, there were at least six different human species on earth. They were insignificant animals, whose ecological impact was less than that of fireflies or jellyfish. Today, there is only one human species left: Us. Homo sapiens. But we rule this planet.

Sapiens, the book, takes us on a breath-taking ride through our entire human history, from its evolutionary roots to the age of capitalism and genetic engineering, to uncover why we are the way we are.

Sapiens focuses on key processes that shaped humankind and the world around it, such as the advent of agriculture, the creation of money, the spread of religion and the rise of the nation state. Unlike other books of its kind, Sapiens takes a multi-disciplinary approach that bridges the gaps between history, biology, philosophy and economics in a way never done before. Furthermore, taking both the macro and the micro view, Sapiens conveys not only what happened and why, but also how it felt for individuals.

Sapiens invites us to not only connect past developments with present concerns, but moreover to question our basic narratives of the world. The book’s conclusions are enlightening and at times provocative. For example:

We rule the world because we are the only animal that can believe in things that exist purely in our own imagination, such as gods, states, money and human rights.

Sapiens are ecological serial killers – even with stone-age tools, our ancestors wiped out half the planet’s large terrestrial mammals well before the advent of agriculture.

The Agricultural Revolution was history’s biggest fraud – wheat domesticated Sapiens rather than the other way around.
Money is the most universal and pluralistic system of mutual trust ever devised. Money is the only thing everyone trusts.
Empire is the most successful political system humans have invented, and our present era of anti-imperial sentiment is probably a short-lived aberration.
Capitalism is a religion rather than just an economic theory – and it is the most successful religion to date.
The treatment of animals in modern agriculture may turn out to be the worst crime in history.
Individualism was fostered by states and markets as a way of breaking up families and communities.
We are far more powerful than our ancestors, but we aren’t much happier.
Sapiens will soon disappear. With the help of novel technologies, within a few centuries or even decades, Sapiens will upgrade themselves into completely different beings, enjoying godlike qualities and abilities. History began when humans invented gods – and will end when humans become gods.

“Here is a simple reason why Sapiens has risen explosively to the ranks of an international best-seller. It tackles the biggest questions of history and of the modern world, and it is written in unforgettably vivid language. You will love it!” – Jared Diamond, Pulitzer-Prize-winning author of Guns, Germs, and Steel

Editorial Reviews

“Sapiens tackles the biggest questions of history and of the modern world, and it is written in unforgettably vivid language.” (Jared Diamond, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Guns, Germs, and Steel, Collapse, and The World until Yesterday)

“Sapiens is learned, thought-provoking and crisply written…. Fascinating.” (Wall Street Journal)

“In Sapiens, Harari delves deep into our history as a species to help us understand who we are and what made us this way. An engrossing read.” (Dan Ariely, New York Times Bestselling author of Predictably Irrational, The Upside of Irrationality, and The Honest Truth About Dishonesty)

“Yuval Noah Harari’s celebrated Sapiens does for human evolution what Stephen Hawking’s A Brief History of Time did for physics.… He does a superb job of outlining our slow emergence and eventual domination of the planet.” (Forbes)

“[I]nteresting and provocative…It gives you a sense of perspective on how briefly we’ve been on this earth, how short things like agriculture and science have been around, and why it makes sense for us to not take them for granted.” (President Barack Obama)

“I would recommend this book to anyone interested in a fun, engaging look at early human history…you’ll have a hard time putting it down.” (Bill Gates)

“Thank God someone finally wrote [this] exact book.” (Sebastian Junger)

“Sapiens takes readers on a sweeping tour of the history of our species…. Harari’s formidable intellect sheds light on the biggest breakthroughs in the human story…important reading for serious-minded, self-reflective sapiens.” (Washington Post)

“It is one of the best accounts by a Homo sapiens of the unlikely story of our violent, accomplished species.…It is one hell of a story. And it has seldom been told better…. Compulsively readable and impossibly learned.” (Michael Gerson, Washington Post)

“This was the most surprising and thought-provoking book I read this year.” (Atlantic.com)

From the Back Cover

One hundred thousand years ago, at least six human species inhabited the earth. Today there is just one. Us. Homo sapiens. 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?

In Sapiens, Professor 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, paleontology, and economics, and incorporating full-color illustrations throughout the text, Harari 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 behavior from the legacy of our ancestors? And what, if anything, can we do to influence the course of the centuries to come?

Bold, wide-ranging, and provocative, Sapiens integrates history and science to challenge everything we thought we knew about being human: our thoughts, our actions, our heritage…and our future.

https://www.ynharari.com/book/sapiens/

 

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