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
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”.
- The Cognitive Revolution
- The Agricultural Revolution
- The Unification of Humankind
- 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:
- Hey we can think!
- Hey we can plant!
- Hey we can work together!
- Hey we can science!
(Now you know why I never made it in academia…)
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.