Updated: Jan 24

Dr. Yuval Noah Harari

A book that answers the biggest questions about our species. How did we come to be? Why are we the only species of our kind? Why do we behave the way we do? Why do we believe what we believe?

What’s it about?

In Sapiens, Dr Harari takes us through the whole of human history, from the very first humans to walk the earth to the radical, though sometimes devastating breakthroughs of the Cognitive, Agricultural and Scientific revolutions. He draws on insights from various fields of science like biology, anthropology, paleontology and even economics to show how the currents of history have shaped society, the animals around us, and even our personalities.

The book is divided into 4 different parts-

  1. The Cognitive Revolution (c. 70,000 BCE, when Sapiens evolved imagination).

  2. The Agricultural Revolution (c. 10,000 BCE, the development of agriculture).

  3. The Unification of Humankind (the gradual consolidation of human political organisations towards one global empire).

  4. The Scientific Revolution (c. 1500 CE, the emergence of objective science).

Harari makes several key arguments, the main one being that our species are able to dominate the world due to their ability to cooperate in large numbers. He also claims that all large scale institutional systems such as political structures, religion, etc owe their emergence to the distinct cognitive capacity of humans for fiction.

A bold and provocative read, Sapiens challenges everything we thought we knew about being human.

“ How do you cause people to believe in an imagined order such as Christianity, democracy or capitalism? First, you never admit that the order is imagined. ”

What I liked about the book?

The book answers a wide range of questions that we all wished would have been answered in school. How did religion come to be? How did we become a cooperative society?

Harari’s writing style achieves one very important thing-- it makes history sound fascinating!

Sapiens does a great job of providing a readable and concise historical summary of the progress of human evolution, all in under 500 pages.

Harari’s argument on religion and democracy being an imagined order makes it a very interesting read.

He makes a good argument on the true identity and role of money.

This is a great book for everyone to educate themselves on the history of our species and the orders around us.

What did I not like about the book?

Harari’s claims on the agricultural revolution being history’s biggest fraud are controversial and debatable.

His arguments on the origins of religion and democracy might come off as offensive to the believers out there.

I felt like Harari could have gone more into detail with his arguments on religion and democracy.

My verdict-

Sapiens does an amazing job of not only asking the existential questions of our history but also gives us a glimpse of the future of humankind. While some of his arguments are controversial, Harari still has written this book fantastically and it’s a must read for anyone who wants to know more about the history of humans and how society and religion came to be.

Rating - 8/10

You can check out this book for yourself by clicking on the link below!

Thank you for reading my review! Hope you enjoy the book!

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