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.
100,000 years ago, at least six species of human inhabited the earth. Today there is just one.
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 , 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?
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: 9780771038501
Characteristics: 443 pages :,illustrations ;,24 cm
Alternative Title: Brief history of humankind


From Library Staff

For Liam

"This look at the entire history of the human race sparked lots of great conversations at our family’s dinner table. Harari also writes about our species today and how artificial intelligence, genetic engineering and other technologies will change us in the future."

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Jul 25, 2020

This is one of the best books I have read on human history. I highly recommend to anyone interested in our own evolution as humans. It is remarkable that the author can fit the entire history in a single book and make it very readable and enjoyable.

Jul 23, 2020

Brilliant on so many levels. Should be a text in grades 11 and 12 if we aspire to a better informed citizenry.

mryanhess Jun 22, 2020

And now for something completely different. One of the freshest explorations of human history I've found. A witty and thought-provoking read!

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

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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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