Sapiens

Book – Sapiens

Author – Yuval Noah Harari

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, paleontology 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? – Goodreads Synopsis

Revolutions

A big part of this book is experience the evolution of humans through the biggest turning points that we had in our shared history. Dr. Harari breaks these down into four major turning points, with three of them being dubbed “Revolutions”.

We have:

  1. The Cognitive Revolution
  2. The Agricultural Revolution
  3. The Unification of Humankind
  4. The Scientific Revolution

Now I could go into all of them like a boring school assigned book report, but let me just tell you now that all of these turning points are completely fascinating and worth reading up on.

I guess if you really want the Chaz version of each one here you go:

  1. Hey we can think!
  2. Hey we can plant!
  3. Hey we can work together!
  4. Hey we can science!

(Now you know why I never made it in academia…)

Perspective

One of the greatest accomplishments of Sapiens, is that it helps you put everything into perspective. It is hard to do this day in age, but Sapiens really helps to pull everyone back down and ground them. Dr. Harari goes in at length about how humans have this remarkable gift to create fiction.

That fiction comes in all forms, but focuses on some controversial topics that a lot of people would like to ignore. This include the social constructs of religion, marriage, capitalism and other ideologies, etc. (Or religion if you follow Dr. Harari’s thinking of capitalism.) Thanks to this book, I even made the mistake of telling my awesome girlfriend “Hey, it says here marriage is a social construct! How true is that!” (On a side note, if any of you know a good marriage counselor please send them my way now.)

The Human Story

One of the most fascinating takeaways from this novel was: Where do we go from here? Now I know that Dr Harari has written another novel after this one that goes more in depth into that (Which I am excited to read!), but I could not shake the thoughts long after I finished this book. There are so many fascinating things that he brings up that it is impossible to not think about them. Are we going to create a new species of sapiens by genetically engineering? Has it already started to happen? It really makes you think where this species has come and where it is going. What will the legacy be?

Should I Read It?

This novel has received amazing acclaim from some of the worlds most influential people, and for good reason. Sapiens should be read by everyone at some point. Even if you don’t agree with everything that is presented in this book, it is 100% worth the read. My post does not do the book justice, mostly because it would be who knows how long with trying to unpack everything that Sapiens has.

Mixing in nonfiction is good for you anyways.

“How many young college graduates have taken demanding jobs in high-powered firms, vowing that they will work hard to earn money that will enable them to retire and pursue their real interests when they are thirty-five? But by the time they reach that age, they have large mortgages, children to school, houses in the suburbs that necessitate at least two cars per family, and a sense that life is not worth living without really good wine and expensive holidays abroad. What are they supposed to do, go back to digging up roots? No, they double their efforts and keep slaving away.” 

 Depressing quote to finish the post.

 

LIFE OF CHAZ (1)

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34 thoughts on “Sapiens

  1. That quote at the end is absolutely correct. It’s a brilliant system. Totally corrupt but brilliant. Its sole purpose is to keep everyone trapped in it. Heads down working to support it until death. And yes the way to escape it is to turn our backs on it and go back to digging up roots.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I found this book interesting, so much so that I ended up writing a review of it along with two follow-on articles discussing two of the concepts Harari explored in great detail. If you are interested, see:
    https://agoodreedreview.com/2017/05/26/book-review-sapiens-humankind/
    https://agoodreedreview.com/2017/05/30/sapiens-thoughts-common-myths/
    https://agoodreedreview.com/2017/10/11/sapiens-follow-on-part-2-happiness/

    I also found his second book, ‘Homo Deus’ interesting, although I thought he spent a bit too much time recapping ‘Sapiens’ before getting to new material. I reviewed that one here:
    https://agoodreedreview.com/2018/07/03/book-homo-deus/

    Harari’s perspective is both realistic and depressing with his recognition that humankind has great potential coupled with equally great destructive power.

    I have his third book (’21 Lessons for the 21st Century’) on my reading stack, though I’ve not yet started reading it yet.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Depends on whether you like fiction or non fiction. In non-fiction and something scientific which has an impact on other aspects, this is a great book to start with. Even though it’s long, it’s easy to read and digest😊

        Like

  3. Great post and looking forward to the read – thank you!

    I did (a lot) of science and found how many teachings throughout medicine and astronomy agree right on with the BIble. Down to Genesis.

    Amazing!

    And thank you for the like on Well… on my blog! I only have 3 separate ones…

    Like

  4. Very interesting book, though sometimes I question what the author emphasizes as he can only superficially summarize each of the 4 human revolutions in a paperback book. For example, his insistence that humanity is moving on a trajectory towards greater and greater “unity”. (Kind of like this is a good thing?). I would argue against this idea. Nature does not move towards unity, it moves towards diversity and the formation of self-supporting relationships between diverse entities (e.g. species), which tend to become more complex over time.

    I think you could argue that humans are the same whether you are examining the level of genes, communities, cultures, societies, etc. We only appear to be moving towards unity, because there are greater and greater numbers of us on this planet, connecting the dots between us. Empire building / globalization are working to homogenize our diversity, but as soon as lines of communication, commerce, and travel, are broken you will find the underlying trend towards diversity at work, diversifying! This is the strength of nature and human society alike, and which has enabled life to persist through all manner of changing environments on this planet.

    Like

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